The Uffizi Gallery


The Uffizi Gallery is a beautiful gallery and is the oldest gallery in modern Europe.  In 1560, the Medici family built the Uffizi building in Florence. At that time, the building was an office for the thirteen magistrates for the administrative leadership of the government.  In 1561 Francesco I, de Medici created an art gallery in the Uffizi building with paintings and sculptures.   The successors of Francesco I continued to add paintings, sculptures, and rare and precious objects. In 1757 when Gian Gastone the last de Medici died, Anna Maria Ludovica, the sister of Gian Gastone, donated the Uffizi Gallery to the city of Florence. Now, it is a grand and beautiful museum.  (Fossi 8-10)


The Uffizi Gallery contains thousands of works of art made by many artists.  The Botticelli room is one of my favorites.  Here are some special paintings that I saw when I visited The Uffizi Gallery in December 2002.


Perhaps the most famous painting in the Uffizi is Allegory of Spring by Sandro Botticelli.  The painting is an allegory of spring and nature.  The painting shows a garden with the mythological figures Zephyrus, the nymph Chloris, and Flora, the goddess of fertility.  In the center of the painting are the figures of Venus and Cupid. On the left is Mercury holding his caduceus up to the sky. Between Mercury and Venus are the three dancing Graces. In the painting, there are two hundred species of flowers, according to modern botanists.  (Fossi 128-129)



Allegory of Spring  (

The Birth of Venus is one of my favorites.  It is a very beautiful painting that once belonged to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici.  The painting depicts Venus standing on a seashell on the sea. On the left, the mythological winds Zephyrus and Aura, together, are blowing Venus to the land.  On the right, a woman who is wearing a dress decorated with flowers, welcomes Venus.  The woman is one of the mythological Hours, with a cloak to cover Venus.  This mythological subject was very important in the literature and philosophy of the Renaissance, therefore this painting suggests many allegorical interpretations.  (Fossi 132-133)



The Birth of Venus  (






The round, Madonna of the Magnificat is truly magnificent!  This circular painting depicts the figure of the Virgin with the Baby and five angels.  Mary is writing the canticle of the Magnificat in the book on her lap.  In the background is a peaceful fluvial landscape.  On the right the left, two angels hold a crown of stars above the Virgin’s head. The painting is very interesting because the figures appear as if they are being reflected in a convex mirror. (Fossi 134)



Madonna of the Magnificat  (







The round, Madonna of the Pomegranate is similar to the Madonna of the Magnificat because this circular painting also depicts the figures of the Virgin, the Baby, and angels.  The face of the Virgin is more melancholy than the face of the Virgin of the Madonna of the Magnificat.  The Baby and the Virgin are holding, together, a pomegranate, a symbol of the Resurrection.  The lilies, roses, and words of the Annunciation (AVE GRAZIE PLENA), are symbols of the purity of the Virgin.  Madonna of the Pomegranate was painted in 1487 for the Tribunale dei Massai di Camera in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.  (Fossi 135)



Madonna of the Pomegranate  (


Botticelli painted Annunciation for the church of the Florentine monastery of Cestello (known today as Santa Maria Maddalena de Pazzi) in 1489. This painting is particularly famous because the pose of the Virgin is very unusual and dramatic.  Mary appears to be afraid of the angel who suddenly appeared. The painting has a frame in a rare classical style.  The frame has an altar with the inscription, SANTVS SVPERVENIET IN TE ET VIRTVS ALTISSIMI OBVMBRAVIT TIBI ECCE ANCILLA DOMINI FIAT MICHI SECVNDVM VERBVM TVVM.  Also, on the altar is a small picture of Christ in Pietá.  The setting of the Annunciation is austere and simple with a peaceful landscape in the background.  (Fossi 136)


Annunciation  (Fossi 136)



Adorazione of the Magi, an altarpiece, was painted for the chapel of the church, Santa Maria Novella.  This sacred scene is very important today because the faces of many of the figures are portraits of the de Medici family.  Cosmo is the elderly king kneeling before Christ.  On the right, Lorenzo the Magnificent is the man standing in profile, with a black cloak.  His father, Piero il Gottoso, is the king kneeling in the center with a red cloak. The man on the far right is the artist, Botticelli.  (Fossi 127)


Adoration of the Magi  (





Works Cited


Fossi, Gloria. The Uffizi Gallery. Prato, Italy: Giunti, 2001.

Ciseri, Ilaria. Uffizi Gallery  <<>