The latest stage in the internal ‘revolution’ that is taking place at the Uffizi Galleries is the opening of a room entirely devoted to the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci.
The three Leonardo masterpieces from the Uffizi collection, the Adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation, and the Baptism of Christ, have now been placed in the same room, whose walls display a soft, almost pearly, gray tone, to enhance the “fullness of forms so typical of Leonardo's style,” said Uffizi director Eike Schmidt, inaugurating the space on the gallery’s second floor. “The new arrangement,” he explained, “allows a slower and more thoughtful visit in which it is possible to compare and understand the stylistic development of young Leonardo. And it is also part of those necessary changes the museum is undergoing in order to be more informative, clear and comprehensible at large.”
As described on the Uffizi’s website, “On the left is the Baptism of Christ, executed for the Church of San Salvi in Florence in 1475/78, where young Leonardo collaborated with his master Andrea del Verrocchio realizing the angel in profile. On the opposite wall is the Annunciation […]; in the center is the recently restored Adoration of the Magi, commissioned by the Augustinians for their Church of San Donato a Scopeto and left unfinished when Leonardo had to move to Milan in 1482.”
The Leonardo room is adjacent to another recently re-arranged room, which features the works of two more Renaissance ‘superstars’: Michelangelo (with his Doni Tondo) and Raphael, with a number of paintings, including the Madonna of the Goldfinch. The idea is to have the three masters of the Renaissance ‘meet’ again, as they had in the city of Florence in the 15th century.
Leonardo’s paintings are preserved in special climate-controlled cases to protect them from the humidity and heat produced by tourists’ flow (as is the case with Michelangelo and Raphael’s works), explains the Uffizi website. Their glasses are anti-glare so that visitors can get very close to the paintings.
The Leonardo room represents the third new arrangement this year, after the new Caravaggio rooms inaugurated at the beginning of 2018, and the Michelangelo and Raphael’s room mentioned above. And it is not the end, as Schmidt announced that he plans to open about ten rooms dedicated to 16th century Venetian painters, including Giorgione, Tintoretto, Tiziano, Bernardo Licinio, of whom the boast one of the most important collections in the world.