Address: Via Ricasoli, 60
The Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, most enlightened of the
Lorraine House which governed Tuscany, united all the Florentine
drawing schools into one Academy in 1784. He also founded a
gallery of earlier paintings which would facilitate the study of
the Academy's pupils this is still to be found in its original
setting in the Hospital of St. Matthew to which other buildings
have however subsequently been added.
The Accademia Museum was for a long time considered the deposit
of the other Florentine galleries, notably the Uffizi, and the collection has
changed through the years also owing to the accession of works
from the suppressed monastic houses. For many years Botticelli's
Primavera was shown here.
gallery can take its place among the finest (of Florence) museums
thanks to the high quality of some of its exhibits, among them
Giovanni da Milano's Pieta (fourteenth century), the Annunciation
by Lorenzo Monaco (fifteenth century), the beautiful front called
Adimari Cassone showing a sumptuous marriage procession (c. 1450)
and the Madonna of the Sea attributed to Botticelli (1445-1510).
A recent rearrangement and restoration of some of the rooms have
given more space for the display of paintings from the fourteenth
to the seventeenth centuries and public admittance to a
spectacular room where are arranged plaster models of Lorenzo
Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni, Famous Italian sculptors of the
The gallery became the focus of more attention in 1873 when
Michelangelo's David was exhibited there for the first time in a
specially constructed tribune. Brought there for reasons of
conservation from Piazza Signoria where for almost four centuries
it had represented the power and dignity of the Florentine
Republic, it was joined at the beginning of this century by other
Michelangelo sculptures. These include, in an imposing if
slightly cold arrangement the St. Matthew, the four Prisoners
made for the tomb of Pope Julius II but placed in the Grotto of
the Boboli Gardens at the end of the sixteenth century, and
finally the Pieta of Palestrina whose attribution to the master
is somewhat controversial. Through this group of Michelangelo's
sculptures it is possible to understand the complex moral and
religious tensions undellying his unique creative powers.
A fine series of Brussels tapestries with the Story of the
Creation, among the best in the Florentine collections, forms the
background to the sculptures.