The Concert and The Card Players by Bartolomeo Manfredi on display in the Sala del Camino
A car bomb rigged up with 277 kg of explosives blew up in Via dei Georgoﬁli, the street behind the western wing of the Uffizi, at 1.04 am on the night of 27 May 1993. Five lives were lost. Destruction was massive. In the Uffizi alone, 173 paintings and 56 sculptures were damaged. The art heritage of the Accademia dei Georgoﬁli and the Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte suffered serious loss. Over the many years that have elapsed since then, the Uffizi has managed to restore as large a part as possible of a number of paintings, which were feared totally lost. Bartolomeo Manfredi’s Concert and Card Players exemplify the recovery of these ﬁgurative memories which have become symbols of that tragic moment in Italian and Florentine history. The two paintings have been subject at different times to operations designed to salvage their miraculously preserved paint fragments: The Concert was restored from May 1994 to July 1995 with funding from the Italian Culture Ministry, while in 2017 the remaining fragments of The Card Players, long considered lost for ever, were meticulously recovered with funding from a committee specially set up for the purpose by the Uffizi Galleries, Corriere Fiorentino Newspaper and UBI Bank. The two companion pieces were commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo II in around 1616 from Bartolomeo Manfredi, a Lombard painter who worked in Rome for a long time. One of the most popular painters of the early decades of the 17th century, Manfredi embraced the themes and subjects favoured by Caravaggio while devoting special attention to the rendering of dramatic, cutting light. Two precious 17th century copies of Manfredi’s paintings, also on display in the room, convey an idea of the pictures, as they would have looked in their original, ﬁnished state.