Piazza Navona Masterpieces of Caravaggio at:San Luigi dei Francesi, Sant'Agostino, Santa Maria del Popolo Cappella Chigi, Barcaccia Fountain at the Spanish Steps. Ecstasy of Santa Teresa by Bernini
CARAVAGGIO & THE BAROQUE: EIGHT NEW ROOMS AT THE UFFIZI
Cinnabar red is the color used by the curators to evoke a 17th century ambiance and to emphasize the dark tones often used by Caravaggio and by his fellow painters.
This scarlet red pigment was used in textile dying and is often represented in contemporary paintings.
The new rooms, eight in total, are located on the first floor of the western wing of the Uffizi. They contain 50 masterpieces by 17th century artists, each room has a name and a theme: ‘Between Reality and Magic; Caravaggio and Artemisia; Caravaggio: Medusa; Caravaggio: Bacchus; By Candlelight; Rembrandt and Rubens; Galileo and the Medici; Florentine Epic.
The intention, director Eike Schmidt explains, is to stimulate visitors to create connections between the paintings exhibited in the same room.
The focus is on Caravaggio’s influence on the Italian and European scene, with special reference to the internationalism of his artistic success.
The superstar of the new arrangement is Caravaggio’s ‘Medusa’, a painted shield most probably representing the artist as a young man.
Set against a red panel, this powerfully dramatic image will persist on your retina for a long time. ‘Medusa’ is set to interplay with a painting of the Gorgon’s head crowned by snakes painted by Otto Marseus van Schrieck.
Once attributed to Leonardo, it was once one of the most celebrated paintings at the Uffizi, described by countless visitors.
One room is devoted to still life. The pivotal image here is another iconic work, Caravaggio’s ‘Bacchus’, set to dialogue with a still life by Velasquez and a vase of flowers by Carlo Dolci.
As the room is not overcrowded with paintings, you’ll be able to concentrate, linger on details, absorb the beauty…
The ‘candlelight’ room has at its center a Nativity by Gherardo delle Notti (Gerard van Honthorst), a Dutch painter, who spent the early years of his career in Rome and was persistently under the spell of Caravaggio and his treatment of light. It is crowned by works by Bartolommeo Manfredi, Mathias Stamer’s Annunciation and Bartolomeo Manfredi’s Roman Charity.
This very successful genre, that had started in the Early Renaissance, reached its apogee in the Baroque era and is well represented here at the Uffizi, mostly with religious scenes.
A particularly large section of the new arrangement deals with portraits.
The impact with the impressive and famous ‘heads’ conceived by the genius of Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck, staring at us, one next to the other, will certainly stimulate reflection on this particular moment in the development of European painting, when national borders began to lose importance and ideas started to circulate widely and on a more international scale.
These new 8 rooms have been opened to the public since February 18th, 2018.
To make the visit more comfortable and accessible, the new rooms will be very soon equipped with oak benches. Also, it will be soon possible to ‘skip’ the previous rooms – containing hundreds of masterpieces from the previous centuries, by reaching the Baroque section via shortcuts.
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