The Galleria dell'Accademia
The Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence is also known as the museum which houses the original statue of Michelangelo's David. The museum is located in Via Ricasoli, close to Piazza San Marco. It is the second largest museum in Italy in terms of annual visitors, and it is the museum that houses Michelangelo's most famous work.
The gallery was founded in 1784 by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine, as an exhibition of works of art for the students of the new Academy of Fine Arts. But it was in 1873 that it became a "Michelangelo museum", the year in which it was decided to transfer the statue of the David by Michelangelo there, moving it from Piazza della Signoria.
Certainly the magnificent David by Michelangelo is the main attraction of the Gallery and it also has its place of honor in the Tribuna, which was built to elevate this great sculpture, also in a symbolic sense, allowing observation and admiration from every angle. The David was made by Michelangelo between 16 August 1501, the year in which the commission was assigned to him, and 8 September 1504, the day when the work was unveiled to the city of Florence. The sculpture in total is about 17 feet high and weighs 12,258 pounds.
In front of the David there is the so-called Prisoners’ (or Captives’) Gallery, where Michelangelo's heart-rending prisoners are arranged: four naked, unfinished, male figures, which the artist initially conceived for the tomb of Pope Julius II. The Prisoners were then placed into the Buontalenti Grotto, in the Boboli Gardens, at the behest of Cosimo I of the Medici house, who considered them a perfect addition to the idea of primordial chaos that he wanted to create in this place.
At the center of the Sala del Colosso room there is a plaster model of the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna, whose final marble statue can be found in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria. Here you can also admire Florentine Renaissance works of art by artists such as Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Perugino and Filippino Lippi.
Very interesting is the Gipsoteca Bartolini which displays plaster casts by Lorenzo Bartolini, as they were arranged in his workshop, as well as paintings and sculptures by artists of the 19th century connected to the Academy of Fine Arts. Do not miss the vast collection of paintings on gold backgrounds and the Musical Instruments section which counts, among its exceptional pieces, the first piano ever made in the world and the Stradivari Viola, the only 100% original existing piece by the great luthier which were both part of the Medici and then the Lorraine collections.
Where is it?
Accademia via Ricasoli 58/60, Firenze 50122 FI
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