The Palatine Gallery is housed inside Palazzo Pitti in Florence and was created by the Lorraine family in the early 1800s as a painting gallery for hosting the Medici’s masterpieces. Today it can be admired not in chronological order but rather according to the personal taste of the great collectors who lived in the palace.
During the Medici period, the rooms that host the Gallery, which can be accessed via a large staircase built by Ammannati, were the apartments of the Grand Duke and his audience chambers and were partly frescoed by Pietro da Corona (1596-1669), with an impressive decorative cycle depicting the life and education of the Prince.
The Gallery is connected to the Royal Apartments, containing furnishings from the period when the Italian royal family lived in the palace during Florence’s time as capital of the newly unified country.
One of the most important collections within the museum’s holdings is made up of works by Titian and Raphael, which reached the Medici though the inheritance of Vittoria della Rovere, the last descendent of the Dukes of Urbino, wife of Ferdinando II de’ Medici: the works by Titian include A Portrait of a Gentleman and Magdalene, while works by Raphael include Madonna del Granduca, Madonna della seggiola and the Portrait of Maddalena Doni. There are also works by Artemisia Gentileschi, such as Mary Magdalene, and Bronzino’s portrait of Guidobaldo II della Rovere.
Visitors to the Gallery can also enjoy masterpieces of 17th-century European painting, like paintings by Rubens (The Four Philosophers, Consequences of War), the portrait of cardinal Bentivoglio by Van Dyck, Sleeping Cupid by Caravaggio and portraits executed by Frans Pourbus and Velazquez. Lovers of the Renaissance won’t be disappointed though, with extraordinarily important works by Fra’ Bartolomeo, Piero del Pollaiolo and Filippo Lippi.