Marmora aurata. The use of gilding in the classical statues of the Uffizi Gallery: the results of ten years of research
Article in italian | Since 2010, careful colorimetric analyses have been performed on tens of the ancient sculptures owned by the Uffizi Gallery. By strictly complying with the method used and fine-tuning the tools used in the investigations, the researchers have detected the sometimes minimal, yet always irrefutable, evidence of colours which have survived the multiple levigations, acid treatments and regular cleaning interventions undergone by these marble works over their centuries of history in collections. This paper aims to summarise the findings of this nine-year research project, focusing in particular on the traces of gilding found on a surprising number of statues, including some of the most famous specimens in the Florentine collections, such as the Medici Vase or the Medici Venus.
Raphael and the jewels in the Uffizi Gallery: Elisabetta Gonzaga, Maddalena Doni and the Woman with the Veil
Article in italian | Like the terms of a very personal vocabulary, free from elaborate details but faithful to reality, the jewellery of Elisabetta Gonzaga, Maddalena Doni and the Woman with the Veil transports us fluidly back into the elegance of the Renaissance without pedantic insistence. The Renaissance humanist lapidary culture shared by Raphael, the jewellers and the sophisticated customers they had in common, enabled the artist to transform those jewels, which would otherwise have remained lifeless costume embellishments, into talking accessories, the words of an erudite language that is capable of subtly yet clearly describing the fears, desires and plans of their wearers in his paintings.
An Evanescent Corpus of Self-Portraits by Annibale Carracci in the Uffizi
This essay looks at several problematic Annibale Carracci self-portraits in the Uffizi which have contributed to an image of the artist that is undeniably out of focus. The most famous image of the artist is preserved in a pair of nearly identical canvases—the Self-Portrait on an Easel in the Uffizi and that in the Hermitage—that receive a careful attention here. Identifying the Hermitage painting as an autograph, the author analyzes its distinction from the ultimate meta-painting, the celebrated lost self-portrait made on the artist’s palette. The essay interprets the Hermitage painting as a reflection on immortality: the artist addressing his viewer in the long durée with a rare modesty of self-presentation. Tying together all the examples, the corpus is a testament to the allure of Annibale’s reputation, and to the enduring pursuit of an elusive quarry, an authentic self-portrait for the Uffizi collection.
The colour experiments by Carlo Lasinio in the Uffizis Galleria degli autoritratti
Article in italian | Since the establishment of the Galleria degli autoritratti in the Uffizi, numerous publications have been produced, which made these self-portraits available in print to art connoisseurs from further afield. One of the less noticed ones is this series of mezzotints by Carlo Lasinio. The article examines the invention of four-colour printing and why it was not successful for a long time. Annalena Döring investigates what the requirements for printed portraits were. In the article these are brought into proximity with the natural sciences and it is considered whether artistry played a secondary role in printed portraits.
“[…] Reducing to greater perfection and resemblance?”. The ways the Uffizi’s self-portraits of artists are perceived in the Museo Fiorentino and the definition of the term “resemblance” in the eighteenth century
Article in italian | The reproductions of the self-portraits contained in the four books of the Series of portraits (1752–1762) by Francesco Moücke, included in volumes 7–10 of the Museo Fiorentino and published from 1731 by Florentine monk and antiquarian Francesco Antonio Gori, show considerable differences compared to the originals. This raises the question of the parameters of interest for 18th century readers in terms of medium and materials. We discover that in the 18th century, the term “resemblance” did not refer to a reproduction that was as faithful to the original as possible, but to a depiction that better resembled the subject’s features, which were sometimes accentuated by exaggerating expressions and adding or changing attributes – especially if these were not clearly visible in the original.
Leopoldo de’ Medici's systematic search for the “ritratto fatto di sua propria mano"
Anna Maria Procajlo
Article in italian | This article analyses Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici’s (1617–1675) systematic methods of collecting artists self-portraits, which are recorded in the extensive correspondence with his ‘agents’. These written sources provide information on strategies for buying as well as examining the self-portraits and reveal a methodical system of control to ensure they were authentic. Instead of documenting the artist's appearance, Leopoldo’s intentions were markedly different from the uomini illustri series created by Cosimo I. (1519–1574); rather, the Cardinal understood paintings as products of the hand of the specific artist and used the theories of physiognomy to test their authenticity.
“To Donatello, sculptor in the world of early Renaissance art”. The tribute by the Academy of the Arts of Drawing, five hundred years after his birth
Article in italian | In 1886, Florence celebrated the fifth centenary of the birth of Donatello. The Circolo degli Artisti funded a commemorative bust and inscription, set on the facade of Palazzo Naldini Del Riccio in Piazza del Duomo, where Donatello’s workshop had been located, and, with public donations, the funeral monument in San Lorenzo. The Academy of the Arts of Drawing honoured the artist with the memorial still visible today in the basilica of Santa Croce. The abundant documentation on file facilitated an accurate reconstruction of the difficult history of that commission, never published before. Initially it had been conceived as a marble work portraying Donatello sitting down, entrusted to sculptor Urbano Lucchesi. However, the statue itself was never created, only the plaster model, which is thought to be the one located in the Scuderie Lorenesi in Palazzo Pitti.
The Famous Men and Women of Andrea del Castagno in the Uffizi Gallery. Conservation, collections and museography
Article in italian | This paper aims to shed light on a few little-known aspects of the history of the Famous Men and Women fresco cycle painted by Andrea del Castagno, from its rediscovery in the middle of the 19th century to the present day. When Emilian restorer Giovanni Rizzoli tore the nine main characters off the wall in 1850, this launched the cycle on a route that would see its different fragments weather a variety of materials, collections and museums. Later they would be reunited, some having survived better than others, in the various locations in which they were exhibited. Their forthcoming exhibition in the museum layout of the Uffizi will prove a decisive step in promoting the re-evaluation of the works.