The Uffizi Gallery in Florence hosts unique artworks and masterpieces, the majority of which date back to the Renaissance period. The museum conserves works of art by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue and Michelangelo.
Just to the latter, Michelangelo, is dedicated an entire room, that has been recently reopened after an important renovation. After several months of being closed, now the public can in fact once again enjoy all of the riches of hall 35, at the second floor of the Uffizi.
The room has now a new red background that put better on display some of the most beautiful works of art within the Gallery, including the Tondo Doni by Michelangelo. This is an absolute masterpiece, also called the Holy Family with the Infant and St. John Baptist. The painting dates back to 1506-1508 and it is the only painting by Michelangelo in Florence. It is really an important work because it influenced generations of artists for the number of novelties it presented. These novelties are represented, for example, by the spiral pose of the bodies, the bright and unnatural colors of the clothes and the nudity of the figures in the background.
The Tondo Doni is an oil on wood painting that was likely commissioned by Antonio Doni, a wealthy weaver, to commemorate his marriage with Maddalena Strozzi of the Strozzi family, a powerful Tuscan family. The meaning of this masterpiece is almost certainly linked to biblical passages about baptism as a symbol of Christianity in opposition to Paganism (represented by the naked figures behind). In this painting the construction of space and volume, the tension and movement of the scene are clear anti-classical elements.
Michelangelo, in fact, together with Leonardo and Raphael, was the promoter of the artistic movement later called Mannerism. Inspired by these great artists, painters began in fact to prefer bright colors and unnatural positions, thus moving away from the rational simplicity of Renaissance painting.
Hanging at the sides of the Tondo there are the two panels painted for the chamber of the Borgherini by Michelangeloís friend Francesco Granacci. Then, there are panels by the masters who were the prime movers in the two leading schools of painting in Florence at the time: the School of San Marco, including Fraí Bartolomeo and Mariotto Albertinelli at the left; and the School of the Annunziata, with Andrea del Sarto and Franciabigio on the right.
Alongside the entrance door the public can see two paintings attributed to the Spanish eccentric artist Alonso Berruguete, who came to Florence at the beginning of the century and was intimate with Michelangelo and Granacci.
At the center of the room the public can admire once again the majestic Sleeping Ariadne, a statue that has returned to the museum after two centuries of being in other galleries of the world. This statue was made about 100 AD, during the Hadrian Empire in Rome, and it is famous to be the only marble statue depicting eyelashes.