Uffizi, Florence

(1560-c. 1580)
   The Uffizi (offices) is a structure commissioned by Cosimo I de' Medici to bring together under one roof the governmental offices that were scattered throughout Florence. This move caused major protests from government administrators as well as owners whose homes and shops were demolished to make way for the project. Cosimo gave the commission to Giorgio Vasari who died in 1574, and the building was completed by Vasari's pupil Bernardo Buontalenti to whom the design of the Porta delle Suppliche, one of the Uffizi's side entrances, is usually given. The structure is composed of two blocks connected by a loggia based on the triumphal arch motif and facing the Arno River. In the lower stories of the two blocks are also loggias, here barrel vaulted, that provide shelter from the elements and served at one time as a waiting area for those who came to conduct business with the Uffizi administrators. Here, columns alternate with pilasters and sculptures in rhythmic triadic successions, patterns repeated in the upper stories where the window pediments and supporting brackets are also arranged in triadic repetitions. This play of forms and rhythms are what qualify the building as Mannerist. Once the building was completed, some of its rooms were set aside for the housing of the Medici's art treasures. In 1737, Anna Maria Ludovica de' Medici bequeathed the family collection to the city of Florence, thereby establishing the building as one of the finest museums in the world. Here, 45 rooms display works from the 13th to the 18th centuries, most representative of the Italian Renaissance of Tuscany, though ancient Roman, medieval, and Northern art are also well represented.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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