The Gallery of the Academy of Florence is one of the most important sculpture museums in the world.
It houses the world's largest number of Michelangelo's sculptures, as many as seven, including the famous David.
The colossal work was brought here in 1873, moved from its original location in the Piazza della Signoria: the figure of the young David defeating the giant, which had become one of the symbols of Florence, embodied the freedom of the Florentine Republic, and for this reason the statue was placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Today it is housed in a specially built tribune, scenically placed at the end of a gallery, shrouded in natural lighting provided by a vast skylight.
Also on view at the Accademia are the Prisoners (or Slaves), Michelangelo's famous four unfinished sculptures, figures that seem to want to free themselves from the marble that imprisons them and that are among the best examples of Michelangelo's unfinished working method. Made for the tomb of Julius II, they were instead used by Grand Duke Cosimo de' Medici to decorate the Grotta del Buontalenti in the Boboli Gardens. The Awakening Slave, the Young Slave, the Bearded Slave and the Atlas arrived at the Gallery only in 1908.
The collection of works by Michelangelo also includes the Pietà di Palestrina and the St. Matthew.
But the Gallery of the Academy is not just Michelangelo.
In fact, the Florentine museum houses other important works, such as the plaster model used by Giambologna to make the Rape of the Sabine Women, Sandro Botticelli's Madonna of the Sea and Madonna and Child, Domenico Ghirlandaio's Saint Stephen, as well as works by Pontormo, Perugino, Andrea del Sarto, Filippino Lippi and Bronzino.
The large and prestigious collection of paintings preserved here includes a collection of gold background paintings from the 13th to early 15th centuries and the world's most important nucleus of works by Lorenzo Monaco.
The Department of Musical Instruments preserves the Collection of the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Florence, and some fifty musical instruments from the private collections of the grand dukes of Tuscany, the Medici and the Lorraine, including Antonio Stradivari's tenor viola and cello, are displayed here.
Finally, in October 2022 reopened with a new layout the Gipsoteca, in which the atmosphere of the studio of Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the greatest Italian sculptors of the 19th century, is recreated. The room holds the artist's extensive collection of plaster casts, which, restored and cleaned, stand out even more against the "gipsoteca" color, a powder blue created especially for the walls.
Reservations to visit the Gallery of the Academy are not mandatory, but definitely recommended. Here is the information for doing so, through official sales channels.
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