The Uffizi Gallery reveals its secret collection of Roman sculptures

The Volti Svelati  (Unveiled Faces): an excellent exhibition  at  the Uffizi , Florence from 15 December 2011 to 29 January 2012.

On show  Roman sculptures dating from the late republican era (first century B.C.) up to the Tetrarchia ( late third century A.D.)

Forty-four marble busts,  portraits of  Roman emperors, intellectuals,  athletes or  just  ordinary people have unbelievably  challenged  time, being able to communicate,  through the centuries,  their inner world up to now. They are the protagonists of the usual Christmas exhibition,  free entrance,  promoted by the Friends of the Uffizi at  the Hall of the Royal Post Office.

The works highlight, according to the words of Antonio Natali,  director of the Uffizi Gallery,  a suggestive  dialogue between ancient and modern art. The  Roman statuary , which spans from the Republican era to the Imperial one,  establishes interesting connections  with the other works on show  that are the 16th 17th and 18th century  portraits and self-portraits, focusing on their details of archeological remains. The aim of the exhibition is to evaluate the Florentine marble classical collection,  the greatest after the Roman Musei Capitolini. The Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, other noble palaces and  gardens own  a large number of Roman artworks, hardly known in spite of their great value. They come from the collections of the Medicis and the Lorena who heaped here in Florence  and in Villa Medici, Rome, a real treasure. The Uffizi, at the end of the16th century,  got their basic qualification as the” Galleria delle Statue”, thanks to the gorgeous Medicean marbles, famous among  the 16th century visitors  more for the Medici  Venus   rather  than for the Botticelli one.

The passion of the Medicis for Roman culture  urged  Lorenzo il Magnifico to buy the marble busts  of  Augustus and Agrippa, here on show, on his return from Rome in 1472. Similarly his son Giovanni, the future Pope Leone X, collected , following his father’s trend,  in his Rome residence, Villa Medici, many  valuable sculptures.

Art has always been for the Medicis and his successors the Lorenas an effective way of strengthening their political power. The exhibition focuses  on the work of  Abbot Luigi Lanzi, charged in 1780 by Pietro Leopoldo Lorena to increase the collection through the works   both from the villas of the Grand Duchy  and  from privates as well. The  treasure resulted then into  110 pieces from the original 70 pieces decorating the corridors of the second floor of Vasari’s building,  thus  proudly challenging  the  Roman and European  collections.  But times change. Hardly  thankful to  Luigi Lanzi’s  loving work, at the end of 1990  the Uffizi corridors were newly arranged according to the  new tastes, neglecting  the Roman collection.  Considered  prejudicially  copies  of Greek originals,  many  marble works were condemned  to storage rooms.

Now  thanks to this exhibition, the Uffizi  succeed in  highlighting  the unjustly forgotten works, a proud  way of rediscovering their roots.

An opportunity to catch these last days. A non-touristy experience which allows to go beyond the surface. Go deep inside into the “secret” collections of the  great families who shaped the history of Florence.  Spend a short holiday in Tuscany profiting from  one of the many accommodations in Florence  offered by Tuscany Holiday Rent .

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