The latest rooms to be reopened at the Uffizi Gallery this past week are the Botticelli rooms and rooms dedicated to the Early Renaissance – and we are super excited to see the changes! First, as you might all already know, the Uffizi Gallery is the most visited museum in all of Italy and it is a must-visit we recommend for everyone that comes to Florence. It is a museum in a 500 year old building that was not built to be a museum nor welcome the millions of visitors that visit every year. It has thus been the site of undergoing renovations and upgrades a section at a time, all while staying open to the public!
This latest batch of rooms to reopen – Hall 8-15 – were closed for about 15 months! The major works in these rooms were moved to other temporary halls so that visitors would not miss out on them, the two major ones being the Botticelli paintings Spring and Birth of Venus, masterpieces that draw many to the Uffizi in the first place.
After significant upgrades, retrofitting and new ceilings, all made possible with a final major grant by Friends of Florence, the Botticelli rooms reopened last Tuesday, October 18 to the public and we are super excited to see the changes that have taken place!
Features of the newly restored rooms include new lighting, alarm system, replacement of glass framing with state-of-the-art glass that is even more protective and technologically advanced. Some of the paintings not on view during this period were examined and underwent conservation.
One of my first impressions was how the rooms just look more spacious. It seems that the new lighting and more space around the paintings makes the entire halls seem larger, considering their volume was not changed. In Hall 8, the removal of Piero della Francesca’s Portraits of the Dukes of Urbino from the middle of the room also makes the hall seem more larger. The portraits have been moved into Hall 9, which is a smaller room, but their spot near the window makes the portraits the focal point in the room. Don’t forget to admire Veneziano’s altarpiece to your right as you enter Hall 8, nor Lippi’s Madonna with Child and Two Angels to your left (if you enter from the Corridor).
As you step in to the Botticelli rooms, your attention will be grabbed by La Primavera at the far end of the room. The painting is more or less in the same spot where it used to be before the room closed, but the new false ceiling in the rooms and new lighting system, as well as new frame around the painting add to a special ambiance in which to enjoy this masterpiece of Renaissance art. The Botticelli works have increased with the arrival of the Annunciation on the left wall in this first section, a fresco almost 6 meters wider painted in 1481. As you walk toward the center and peek into the room to the right, at the far end you’ll be able to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. The new frames, protected with glass, that surround these two masterpieces highlights and invites you to stand and admire them. The greater distance between the works, particularly none by the Spring, also makes it easier to admire the other paintings around the room as crowds gather in front of these two masterpieces.
This really is just a preview into these new rooms, highlighting some of the new aspects. If you’ve never been to the Uffizi before, of course you won’t have anything to compare to but know that the beauty of these rooms as well as the masterpieces can now be enjoyed in a very special new way :).
Take a sneak peak into what moving the Birth of Venus and Primavera back into its new home entailed, done on last Sunday night once the museum was closed (credit ArtMediaStudio for the Uffizi Galleries).