The great room, derived from the precedent of the old Medici theater, keeps the original cover. It is one of the most famous in the gallery, as it houses some of the Renaissance masterpieces made in the last decades of the Quattrocento.
Room 10-14 Botticelli
The Botticelli room, vast for the unification of rooms 10-14, collects the best collection in the world of works by the master Sandro Botticelli, including his masterpiece, the Primavera and the famous Birth of Venus, two emblematic works of the sophisticated Neoplatonic culture developed in Florence in the second half of the fifteenth century. These works were made in the eighties of the fifteenth century and are the first large works to the profane subject of the Italian Renaissance. They were painted for Lorenzo de ‘Medici (not Lorenzo the Magnificent, but a cousin of his who lived in the Villa di Careggi, with whom, among other things, he did not run good blood).
In this room you can retrace the entire pictorial evolution of the master, with the graceful Madonna in the glory of seraphim and the Madonna del Roseto, more youthful works still linked to the style of Filippo Lippi and Verrocchio, to the Portrait of a man with a medal of Cosimo il Vecchio (1475), where there is already a maturation of the style probably linked to the study of the realism of Flemish works, to mythological works, such as the moving Pallade and the Centaur, allegory of human instincts divided between reason and impulsiveness, but guided from divine wisdom.
Among the fifteen works of Sandro Botticelli the best known are The Spring and The Birth of Venus, the first paintings of profane theme of large dimensions of the Italian Renaissance, which testify to the cultural climate of Florence at the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Of extraordinary intensity are also his paintings of sacred themes such as the Altarpiece of San Bernabé, or the wonderful Virgin of the Magnificat.
As the 16th century approached, the ultra-religious reactionary wave of Girolamo Savonarola began to become increasingly pressing in the Florentine society and this manifests itself more or less gradually in all the artists of the time. Even Botticelli, after a lavish work like the Madonna del Magnificat began to adopt a freer style, freed from the geometric clarity of the early fifteenth century (Madonna della Melograna, San Barnaba Altarpiece), with some archaic experiment like the Coronation of the Virgin where the master returns to the gold background in a scene seems inspired by Dante’s reading. The darkest period of Savonarol’s preaching brings a definitive wind of pessimistic mysticism in his painting: the Calunnia (1495) symbolizes the failure of the optimistic humanist spirit, with the observation of human baseness and the relegation of truth.
But this room also contains many other masterpieces: the location of the Portinari Triptych, a Flemish work by Hugo van der Goes dating from about 1475 brought by a banker of the Medici company in Bruges in 1483, which with its formal extraneousness towards the surrounding works, is particularly apt. well it makes the effect of shining meteor that this work had in the Florentine artistic circles of the second half of the fifteenth century. On closer inspection, however, we begin to grasp the affinities with the works made later, the greater attention to detail, the better luministic output due to the oil painting that Florentine painters tried to imitate, even copying some elements of the work Flemish, like the clear tributes of Domenico Ghirlandaio in his analogous Adoration of the shepherds in the Basilica of Santa Trinita.
Another Flemish work is the Deposition in the sepulcher of Rogier van der Weyden (about 1450), with the composition taken from a panel by Beato Angelico, which testifies to the mutual exchanges between Flemish and Florentine masters.
The influence of Nordic cultures is also noted in Domenico Ghirlandaio, who is represented by three paintings in this room.
The Gallery entirely occupies the first and second floors of the large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). The collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance period include some absolute masterpieces: Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, in addition to many precious works by European painters (mainly German, Dutch and Flemish).
Moreover, the Gallery boasts an invaluable collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, which adorns the corridors and consists of ancient Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.