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Wall of the Hall of ancient inscriptions (Ricetto) in the Uffizi

Francesco Marchissi (active in Florence between c. 1748 and 1792)

1749 c.-1759
pencil and pen on paper
76 cm x 26 cm
GDSU 4575 F

The drawing by Francesco Marchissi is part of the meticulously detailed illustrated design for the walls and ceilings of the Uffizi Gallery commissioned by Francesco Stefano di Lorena, Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1737 to 1769, to Dominican monk Benedetto Vincenzo De Greyss known as the Inventario disegnato, the design would first be drafted by a team of draftsmen working at the Gallery, including Marchissi, who created the preparatory version and the definitive version by De Greyss.

The sheet in the exhibition depicts, in the preparatory drafting stage, one of the walls of the Hall of Ancient Inscriptions (Ricetto) in the Uffizi, the first room that visitors would encounter upon entering the Gallery at the time, set up here according to the order decided at the beginning of the 18th century by Giovan Battista Foggini, in which the various elements - busts, inscriptions and reliefs - were to be arranged according to a scheme inspired by regularity and symmetry. A scheme that would be completely revised a few years later and replaced by an arrangement by classes of materials, according to the new scientific approach chosen by Luigi Lanzi. In both cases, the archaeological material was chosen to welcome visitors to the Galleries, with the most significant examples of epigraphs, statuettes and busts, such as the beautiful portrait of Domizia Longina, visible in this sheet at the top right. 

When De Greyss passed away in 1759, the Inventario disegnato was entrusted to Giuseppe Magni. In 1773 the ambitious project was abandoned following the principal’s death and the subsequent intention to revise the layout of the Gallery. The surviving sheets of the preparatory version are kept in the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Uffizi and those of the definitive, version in pen are kept in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna (Cod Min. 32/1 Han).

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