In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Visiting the Uffizi Gallery? Make sure to see these works.

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Gentile da Fabriano, <em>Adoration of the Magi</em> (reframed)
Gentile da Fabriano, Adoration of the Magi (reframed)

Brilliant golden brocades. Psuedo-Arabic. Turbans. Leopards and lions. The Adoration of the Magi speaks to the global flow of goods at this time.

Cimabue, Maestà
Cimabue, Maestà

Set against gleaming gold, Mary and Christ sit on an intricately carved throne studded with gems.

Dissecting Botticelli’s <em>Adoration of the Magi</em>
Dissecting Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi

Three men arrive to bless Christ. Are they wise—or just rich? Better defer to that young painter in the crowd...

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, <em>Self-Portrait</em>
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait

She fled France in disguise, but Vigée Le Brun does little to conceal her face—or her sympathy to Marie Antoinette.

Rachel Ruysch, <em>Fruit and Insects</em>
Rachel Ruysch, Fruit and Insects

No wonder Ruysch treats each element of this still life like a scientific specimen—her father preserved insects.

Cimabue, <em>Santa Trinita Madonna and Child Enthroned</em>
Cimabue, Santa Trinita Madonna and Child Enthroned

This huge panel hints at the coming Renaissance, but the figures remain weightless and their features, elongated.

Cimabue and Giotto compared
Cimabue and Giotto compared

Only decades apart—but what a difference. Next to Giotto’s substantial Virgin, Cimabue’s appears flat yet elegant.

Sandro Botticelli, <em>The Birth of Venus</em>
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus

That shell! That pose! That wind! So much in this painting seems impossible, not least its divine beauty.

Bronzino, <em>Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo with her son Giovanni</em>
Bronzino, Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo with her son Giovanni

Mother and son gaze out with an aristocratic aloofness, yet they lack an inner life. Is all that brocade a shell?

Titian, <em>Venus of Urbino</em>
Titian, Venus of Urbino

The female nude emerged as a genre in the Renaissance. With her soft, sensual flesh, this Venus is a prime example.

Piero della Francesca, <em>Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino</em>
Piero della Francesca, Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino

Inside and outside, these panels are suffused with symbolism and the two stark profiles exude formality and power.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, <em>Presentation of Jesus in the Temple</em>
Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

The receding columns and painted ceiling of this fictive temple mirror the Gothic environment of Siena Cathedral.