the accademia gallery in florence, italy. michelangelo's david

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  The Accademia Gallery  

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 Michelangelo's David in the Accademia Gallery of Florence
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.

Nowadays the 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 nineteenth century.

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.

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