Virtually explore the Uffizi with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
This particular artwork perfectly embodies all the things that northern European painters were thought to do best.
A comparison of two Italian medieval crosses shows the transformation of Christ from transcendent to human.
This is a Mary like we’ve never seen before—she’s more monumental and sits in a space that makes sense.
Set against gleaming gold, Mary and Christ sit on an intricately carved throne studded with gems.
Girl, interrupted—Mary’s initial reaction to Gabriel adds human experience to the dignity and grace of this scene.
Sure, decorative patterns and prismatic color impress us now, but gold and ultramarine once broadcast value.
The female nude emerged as a genre in the Renaissance.
Touch an artwork? Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Man with a Medal helped viewers to think about touch and physical experience.
Brilliant golden brocades. Psuedo-Arabic. Turbans. Leopards and lions. The Adoration of the Magi speaks to the global flow of goods at this time.
Three men arrive to bless Christ. Are they wise—or just rich? Better defer to that young painter in the crowd...
She fled France in disguise, but Vigée Le Brun does little to conceal her face—or her sympathy to Marie Antoinette.
No wonder Ruysch treats each element of this still life like a scientific specimen—her father preserved insects.