Florence Guide tourist information on Florence and Tuscany:art, history,events, hotel and accommodation
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Accademia Gallery
In 1784, the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo established that all schools of art in Florence were to be combined in sole academy endowed with a gallery of antique paintings to permit the pupils of the Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) to deepen their knowledge. The antique building, which once belonged to the hospital of Saint Matthew, was chosen and enlarged with adjacent space.
Today the Accademia Gallery represents a museum of important relevance, thanks to the pieces that it hosts, for example the "Pietà "by Giovanni of Milano, the "Annunciazione" by Lorenzo Monaco, the splendid frontal called "Cassone Adimari" showing a sumptuous marriage procession, and the "Madonna del Mare" ( Madonna of the Sea) by Botticelli.
The afflux of visitors increased when the statue of Michelangelo was transferred to the Gallery in 1873 from Piazza Signoria, for conservation reasons, and placed in a tribune designed and built especially for the statue by Emilio de'Fabris. This statue, portraying the biblical character who awaits combat with the giant Goliath, represented the strength of the Florentine Republic over the course of centuries.
Other operas of art by Michelangelo Buonarroti were transferred to the Gallery afterwards; the San Mateo and the Prigioni, done for the tomb of Pope Giulia II in Rome but later set in the grotto of the Boboli Gardens at the end of 1500.
Around 1980, a gallery of plaster casts was put into the Salone di Ottocento. In the Sala dell'Anticolosso you can admire the statue in gesso of the "Rape of the Sabines"done by Giambologna (1582). From this hall you arrive to the Galleria delle Prigioni (Gallery of Prisons) which holds uncompleted sculptures of Michelangelo including that of Pietà da Palestrina.
The upper level floor of the Gallery has recently undergone restorations which allowed it to open a new hall to the public where a collection of gessoes by the 18th century sculptures Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni. Here, once can admire the 300 busts of portraying members of high society. On the ground floor the Byzantine Halls are found with a collection of Florentine painting from the first half of the 14th century. In the first hall, the "Albero della Vita" (tree of life) by Pacino di Bonaguida stands out and in the second hall "le Formelle" painted by Taddeo Gaddi around 1330. The last hall is dedicated to the three Orcagna brothers, which include sacred paintings dating to 1300.
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