Ferdinando’s great interest in fine arts and his role as patron of the arts

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the death of the Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici (1663-1713), the Uffizi Gallery devotes an exhibition to this key figure who was both an important collector and patron of the arts.

The eldest son of Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise d’Orléans, he is remembered as a patron of theatre, music and figurative arts. His interests and innovative approach attracted leading artists of the period (musicians, instrumentalists, painters and sculptors) to Florence.

The exhibition is divided into sections illustrating the Prince’s cultural inclinations, while also presenting how his arts patronage supported and promoted the artists of the time.

An introductory iconographic section is dedicated to the Prince’s image and his juvenile interests. The following section illustrates the early years of Ferdinando's art collecting and patronage which focused in particular on his beloved villa at Pratolino where, alongside musicians, singers, costumiers and composers, he also hosted the Bibbiena family, masters in the art of stage design.

The third section is devoted to the renovation of Palazzo Pitti, the Pergola Theatre and of the cathedral of Florence on the occasion of Ferdinando's wedding to Princess Violante Beatrix of Bavaria in 1689. At the same time, the section also explores the ceremonies and festivities held in Florence to celebrate the Prince's wedding.

Another aspect the exhibition illustrates is the Prince's growing interest in the figurative arts, both in contemporary sculpture and in painting. This section also displays sumptuous objects, pieces of furniture and everyday items as evidence of Ferdinando’s sophisticated taste.

The exhibition explores also Ferdinando’s taste as a collector, his interest in ancient works and in the 16th and 17th century painting. He was able to bring to Florence a large quantity of paintings, many of which are now part of the Uffizi and the Palatine Gallery’s collections.

The final section is devoted to the last years of Ferdinando's life, exploring the results and repercussions of his art patronage and collecting, and displaying the drawings for a celebratory monument that it was planned to be erected in his memory.

Livio Mehus (Oudenaarde, Belgio 1630 – Firenze 1691), Agar nel deserto,  olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiTito di Santi (Sansepolcro 1536 – Firenze 1603), Ritratto di Maria de' Medici, sec. XVI  secolo (1575 ca.-1576 ca.), olio su tavola. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiLivio Mehus (Oudenaarde, Belgio 1630 – Firenze 1691), Tarquinio il Superbo, XVII  secolo, olio su tela. Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Galleria Palatina ed Appartamenti  Reali, DepositiMarco Ricci (Belluno 1676 – Venezia 1730), Tempesta di mare, XVIII secolo, olio su  tela. Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Galleria Palatina ed Appartamenti RealiBaldassarre Franceschini detto Volterrano (Volterra 1611 – Firenze 1689), Allegoria  dell'America, sec. XVII secolo (1660-1670), olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiBartolomeo Bimbi (Firenze 1648 – 1729), Armi turche del Granduca Cosimo III de'  Medici, fine sec. XVII secolo, olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, Depositi


The Grand Prince Ferdinando De' Medici (1663 - 1713) Collector and Patron of the Arts

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

26 June – 3 November 2013

Exhibition curated by Riccardo Spinelli

Exhibition catalogue published by Giunti Editore (available only in Italian)

Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana, Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze; Galleria degli Uffizi e Firenze Musei, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze