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Photo ©Nascita di Venere di Botticelli
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
5 unmissable masterworks at the Uffizi Gallery
Visit some of the world's most famous Renaissance artworks
Any trip to Florence must include a visit to the Uffizi Gallery. Lovers of fine art will find an enchanting museum, where they can admire the extraordinary talent of the artists that made Italy famous throughout the world. The museum contains paintings from the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries. The largest part of the collection are works from the Italian Renaissance period, mainly paintings. A thorough visit of the Gallery would require a full day, but if you have less time, here are the 5 artworks you don't want to miss. 
The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli
Birth of Venus- Credit:  Pietro Zanarini

Let the alluring beauty of The Birth of Venus overwhelm you. This Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece, so rich in meaning and allegorical references to antiquity, was commissioned by the Medici’s family and painted between 1482 and 1485. It is possible to classify it in Neoplatonism: a current of thought that tried to connect the Greek and Roman cultural heritage with Christianity so, in accord to this fact, the work would mean the birth of love and the spiritual beauty as a driving force of life.

The Annunciation, Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo's Annunciation- Credit:  sAErNLFH1KFYmw at Google Cultural Institute

Don't miss Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation (1472–1475, ca), a masterpiece that has been astonishing visitors of the Uffizi since 1867, when it arrives from the Olivetan monastery of San Bartolomeo. Leonardo painted this work when he was very young, alongside his master Andrea del Verrocchio. One can clearly see Vinci’s style on the Angel Gabriel on the left, whose face bears a distinct similarity to the artist’s other works, the La Belle Ferronnière and the Mona Lisa

Tondo Doni, Michelangelo Buonarroti
Doni Tondo- Credit:  Victor R. Ruiz

The Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni (1503 or 1504) is the only painting by Michelangelo in Florence. It is in the form of a 'round', a shape which is frequently associated during the Renaissance with domestic ideas, for private clients. It was probably commissioned by the rich florentine banker Agnolo Doniwho wanted a round painting depicting the Holy Family for his house, to commemorate his marriage to Maddalena Strozzi, the daughter of a powerful Tuscan family. 

Medusa, Caravaggio
Caravaggio's Medusa- Credit:  Carole Raddato

Another tondo (round) sure to capture your attention during your Uffizi adventure. It’s the Caravaggio’s painting of Medusa (1597). Medusa was a gorgon, a terrifying female creature, so repulsive that whoever looked at her, supposedly, turned to stone. Medusa, here depicted in a moment of self-recognition, the moment when she realizes that her head and body are no longer one, is a wonderful example of Caravaggio’s focus on physiognomic. The painting shows in fact an intense level of realism, with Caravaggio using dark and light contrasts so effectively that Medusa looks almost three-dimensional.

La Primavera, Botticelli
Primavera- Credit:  Victor R. Ruiz

Among the greatest works that can be admired at the Uffizi Galleries, last but not least, is La Primavera, another wonderful and famous work of art by Botticelli. It was commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, a cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and painted between 1477 and 1482. Its interpretation is difficult and still uncertain, but what it is sure is the humanistic meaning of the work: Venus is the goodwill, as she distinguishes the material (on the right) from the spiritual values (on the left). La Primavera, as The birth of Venus, is another example of the Neoplatonism current, linked to the ideal of beauty and absolute love.

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