Galleria dell'Accademia

The exterior of the Galleria dell'Accademia

Michelangelo's David

The Galleria dell'Accademia is a combination artist workshop and museum, in some ways representative of the manner in which the Renaissance artist exhibited their work in the place where it was created. The museum itself (photo to the left) is unassuming in comparison to galleries such as the Uffizi. In fact it has expanded from the workshop into the building which once belonged to the San Matteo hospital, and, also n adjoining part of the ex-convent San Niccolò in Cafaggio. However modest its exterior, it contains some of the gems of the Renaissance. The entrance to the museum takes one past a row of sculptures Michelangelo created for the tomb of Pope Julius II (many were never completed), and this promenade of sculptures leads to the monumental apse which contains Michelangelo's David, shown in the photo to the right. Although it is one of the more famous images of the Renaissance, pictures do not do justice to either the detail nor the scale of his creation. In a word, David is epic in proportion, perhaps three to four times larger than life-size. And the detail is such Room of the Colossothat, save for the size, a viewer could mistake the sculpture for a living figure covered in alabaster. David has resided in the Galleria dell'Accademie since being moved from the front of the Palazzo Vecchio in 1873. On the sides of the David's apse, there are paintings by Florentine artists of the first and second part of the 16th Century. They document the pictorial period during the years of Michelangelo's activity at the beginning, and then also during the period of the Counter-Reformation. To the left of the entrance to the museum  is a gallery which hosts the paintings of Florentine artists of the first part of the 16th Century. Among these paintings you can find Fra' Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto and Perugino; dominating the room (photo to the left) is the original plaster model from Giambologna's last work, The Rape of the Sabine Women, which currently resides among the outdoor sculptures at the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Galleria dell'Accademie also has three Florentine rooms which contain a series of paintings of the 15th Century which document, in a short but articulated way, the pictorial production of the main shops ("botteghe") which were active in Florence during the time of Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Botticelli.

Highlights of the Galleria dell'Accademia
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Unfinished sculptures
Rape of the Sabine Women
Casssone Adimari
Coronation of the Virgin
The Bearded Slave and Atlas
(unfinished sculpture for
Pope Julius II's tome)
Plaster Model of
Giambologna's Rape
of the Sabine Women
The Cassone Adimari (ca 1450), according to the tradition, was the front panel of a wedding chest, painted by the younger brother of Masaccio, nicknamed “Lo Scheggia”.
Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Cione