Pitti Palace, Palazzo Pitti
Florence Art Museum: History, Permanent Collections, Palatine Gallery.


Pitti Palace, Florence


Introduction and History
Palatine Gallery
Gallery Of Modern Art
Porcelain Museum
Costume Gallery
The Medici Treasury (Museo degli Argenti)
Contact Details

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Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.

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Introduction and History

The Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti), one of the best art museums in Europe, is a former residence of the King of Italy. Today it houses many different types of art, including several important collections of paintings, sculpture, porcelain and historical costumes, and is renowned for its beautiful Renaissance art and chitecture. It is situated in an historical part of Florence and the grounds extend to the Boboli Gardens, which in itself is famous for its grottoes, statues and fountains. The Palace is located south of the River Arno, a short walk from Ponte Vecchio. The main part of the building dates from 1458 when it was originally occupied by a local Florentine banker. It was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of Tuscany's ruling families for centuries. As the building was added to, so were its collections of fine art, and decorative art. In the 18th century it was used a powerbase by Napoleon and briefly served as a residence for the Royal family of a newly united Italy. In 1919 the palace and its contents were donated to the people of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III. It is one of Florence's largest art galleries.

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The Palazzo Pitti houses the following art galleries:

Palatine Gallery (Galleria Palatina)

The Palatine Gallery occupies the West Wing of the first floor of the Palace. It was the former residence of the Medici Grand Duke's family. Their collection of art was first opened to the public in 1828 by Grand Duke Leopold, who was keen to retain popularity after the demise of the Medici family. The gallery houses over 500 paintings, principally originating from the High Renaissance era. There are works by Titian (1488/90–1576), Correggio (1489-1534), Parmigianino (1503-40), Caravaggio (1573-1610), and Raphael (1483-1520). Later, other European Masters and paintings from the Baroque period were added to the collection. The paintings are hung as they were intended, as decorative pieces in sumptuously richly decorated rooms, rather than in typical museum fashion according to art school or chronological date. The finest rooms in the wing were decorated with fresco paintings and ornate stucco work by the great Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), in a high Baroque style. His pupil Ciro Ferri (1634-89) completed the work in the 1660s. The so-called 'Planet Rooms' which were decorated with images based on Ptolomeic cosmology, inspired Le Brun's (1619-90) Planet Rooms at the magnificent Palace of Versailles, home of the royal court of King Louis XIV.

Highlights of the Palatine Collection

- Lamentation over the Dead Christ (1495) by Perugino (1446/50–1523).
- Portrait of Pope Leo X with Cardinals (1518) by Raphael.
- Madonna with the Long Neck (1535) by Parmigianino.
- Mary Magdalene (c.1531) by Titian.
- The Sleeping Cupid (1608) by Caravaggio.
- Philip IV of Spain on Horseback (1635) by Velazquez.

Gallery Of Modern Art

Situated on the second floor of the Pitti Palace is the Gallery of Modern Art which contains paintings and sculpture dating from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. The rooms themselves are decorated in a neo-classical and romantic style. Of particular note are paintings by members of the Macchiaioli movement (including works by Giovanni Fattori), a group of Italian painters active in Tuscany in the second part of the 19th century. The artists broke with conventions to paint outdoors and their ideas were to influence the French Impressionists who came a few years later.

The Porcelain Museum

The museum contains a grand collection of European table porcelain which was collected by the Grand Dukes and Royal Houses of the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy families. Many pieces in the collection were gifts from other European heads of states.

The Costume Gallery

The Costume Gallery is situated in the Palazzina della Meridiana, a wing added to the Pitti Palace in the 18th century, and which overlooks the Bobli Gardens. The gallery houses over 6,000 items dating from the 1500s to the 1900s, including theatrical costumes and jewellery. It is the most important historical fashion museum in the world providing an inspirational insight for any would-be fashion designer today. A selection of the collection is exhibited and rotated every two years, although there are additional exhibitions.

The Medici Treasury (Museo degli Argenti)

Located on the ground floor of the Pitti Palace, also known as the Summer Apartments, this museum houses valuable decorative arts and jewellery. Granduke Ferdinando I decorated this wing of the Palace in 1635 to celebrate his wedding to Vittoria della Rovere. Here, visitors can view the precious stone vases of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the ambers of Maria Maddalena of Austria, the ivory vases of Mattia de Medici, the cameos (small miniature portraits) of Cosimo I, and the famous jewellery collection of Anna Maria Luisa (the last member of the Medici family). The museum also houses jewels created between the 17th and 20th century by important European and Italian workshops. Recently a new section was opened which is devoted entirely to contemporary works.



Contact Details

Piazza Pitti 1
50123 Florence

+39 055 23885


Opening Times

Tuesday to Sunday: 08.15am - 6.50pm daily
Closed Mondays; Also Closed January 1; May 1; December 25

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