We could go on and on about the beauty, the prestige, the notoriety of the David, sculpted by Michelangelo. As we all know, it’s one of the most visited works of art in the world. A masterpiece loved and recognized by all. An icon and a symbol of the city of Florence. It's also certainly the main reason for the long line that forms every morning at the doors of the Accademia Gallery, the museum that has housed it since 1872, when the David was transferred here from its original location in Piazza della Signoria (back then, it had to wait many years before actually being exposed to the public). But the Accademia houses other amazing masterpieces and they are worth the visit too. Here are the masterpieces that you MUST see at the Accademia Gallery (besides THAT one!). 1 – First of all, let's not forget that the Accademia may not be all about Michelangelo, but yes, there's a lot of him around here! In fact, the museum is home to the world’s largest number of sculptures by Michelangelo: the Prisoners (or Slaves), St. Matthew, the Pietà di Palestrina and the David – a total of seven! The four Prisoners, housed in the namesake hall (Galleria dei Prigioni), are four unfinished male nudes– the Awakening Slave, the Young Slave, the Bearded Slave and the Atlas– made by Michelangelo for the tomb of Julius II, but then used by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici as ornamentation for the cave by Buontalenti in the Boboli Gardens. They are some of the finest examples of Michelangelo’s customary working practice, referred to as “non-finito” (or incomplete). The artist deliberately left them incomplete, depicting the struggle of man to free the spirit from matter. They are among the most powerful and exciting works made by Michelangelo and have been stored in the Gallery since 1909. 2 – In the Hall of Colossus, the first room that opens after entering the museum, you’ll find the imposing original plaster cast model for the Ratto delle Sabine, made by Giambologna (the Florentine “nickname” of Jean de Boulogne). From this model, Giambologna created the marble sculpture that you see today in Piazza della Signoria, under the Loggia dei Lanzi. It is considered his masterpiece. 3- The Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Cione (1372) is an amazing golden panel masterpiece, recently restored, depicting the coronation of the Virgin surrounded by the Saints. The work is also known as the "Incoronazione della Zecca” (Coronation of the Mint) because it was commissioned by the Florentine Judiciary officers who oversaw the coinage of the Fiorino. The Coronation of the Virgin takes place at an elegant angle, elevated above the patron saints of the city of Florence. The deep meaning of devotional religious subject merges with the civic and political aspects seen in the symbols in the precious carved, gilded and painted frame. The panel is located in the Hall dell'Orcagna. 4- The Cassone Adimari was painted by Masaccio’s younger brother, nicknamed “Lo Scheggia”. According to tradition, it was to be the front panel of a wedding chest, but it ended up being inserted in one of the “spalliere”, the wooden wainscoting often used during the 1400s to line the walls of the nuptial chamber. The painting depicts a wedding scene (perhaps the Adimari-Ricasoli marriage in 1420) against the backdrop of Piazza del Duomo, with the first stretch of Via dei Calzaiuoli (previously named Corso degli Adimari). The work’s perspective allows us to observe a rare view of a famous part of Florence as it was in that time period: the Baptistery of San Giovanni, covered for the occasion by drapes, the Porta di Balla (or Porta San Gallo) and a well in the center, and the lodge of Santa Maria del Fiore, which no longer exists. In the distance, beyond the walls, there is a thin line of landscape. 5 – The most recent addition to the museum is the Medici and Lorraine Grand Ducal collection of precious musical instruments from the Cherubini Conservatory, which constitutes the Museum of Musical Instruments. There are, among others, some unique pieces from Stradivari and Bartolomeo Cristoferi, who invented the piano for the Medici. Read all the INFO ON HOW TO BOOK YOUR VISIT (which you should!).
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