Raffaello Sanzio at the Uffizi Gallery, discover the masterpieces!
In this short article we want to talk to you about a great Renaissance painter, Raphael, just in the year in which the “divine painter” is celebrated, the 500th anniversary of his death.
Raffaello Sanzio left some of his most significant works in Florence, in particular at the Uffizi Gallery and Palatine Gallery.
Raffaello Sanzio at the Uffizi Gallery, room 41
The prestigious Uffizi Museum dedicated a very important space to Raphael, room 41 where Raphael’s works are placed side by side with Michelangelo‘s only Florentine painting, the Tondo Doni. In the large room, located on the second floor of the museum, the visitor’s eye is at first captured by Michelangelo’s painting which dominates the front of the entrance centered on the long wall of the room. But right here we must stop to admire also the masterpieces of Raffaello Sanzio.
Raphael and the spouses Doni
Right on the left of the Michelangelo’s masterpiece, there are in fact the two portraits of Maddalena Strozzi, a young Florentine noble woman and Angelo Doni, a rich merchant belonging to the Florentine upper middle class, who had just married. These are two oils on canvas of identical dimensions. It is easy to think that these two paintings were part of a diptych. Actually the paintings are kept inside two transparent plexiglass cases and the visitor can observe the works by turning around them precisely because these two works have a rare peculiarity. On the reverse of the portraits there are monochrome drawings, perhaps works by a pupil of Raphael. In fact, the two paintings were thought of as a diptych held together by a double book frame.
Raphael, Michelangelo and the commission of the Doni Family
It is no coincidence that the two paintings by Raphael are placed side by side with the Tondo Doni, commissioned to the artists by the same rich client. The Doni family was in fact very wealthy and could obviously afford to commission the main artists of the moment to decorate their palaces.
Looking at the portrait of Maddalena Strozzi, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo immediately comes to mind. In fact, there are many aspects that link the two works. It is believed that Raphael had the opportunity to study Leonardo’s masterpiece right in Florence. The colors of Maddalena are however clear and bright and shapes well-defined On the contrary, in the Mona Lisa portrait colors are much more undefined and shapes nuanced.
Much attention is paid by Raphael to the realization of every detail, from the face of the noblewoman, to the typically aristocratic and precious robes, to the costly pendant that adorns the neck of Maddalena. The background has a lowered horizon in both Raphael’s portraits where instead in the case of the Mona Lisa it plays a much more leading role by engaging much of the painting.
Raffaello Sanzio at the Uffizi Gallery – the Madonna del Cardellino
Another painting of extraordinary beauty is the Madonna and Child with San Giovannino better known as Madonna del Cardellino. Also this splendid painting is the work of Raphael and is exhibited in room 41 dedicated to him in the Uffizi. Raphael made it during his stay in Florence between 1504 and 1508.
This is a composition with a classic pyramidal shape. In the background there is a landscape of Leonardo’s ancestry. The seated Virgin, dressed in clothes of the author’s period. Se holds a book in her hand. Between his knees Jesus and to her right the little John to whom the Madonna tenderly caresses the back. Exceptional is the play of glances that Raphael manages to catch with his skillful brush. Mary lovingly looks at John who in turn intensely turns his gaze to Jesus, perhaps they are both engaged in a playful exchange of attention between children.
Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga
Raphael’s masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery do not end here. Also in room 41, we can admire another famous portrait, the portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga. This noble woman was the wife of the Duke of Urbino, the city from which Raphael originated.
The woman is portrayed from the front, in the shaded but bright background, a typical Umbrian landscape with hills and a high mountain. The Duchess wears a dress with a fabric richly decorated with geometric designs in which dark rectangles alternate with rectangles woven in gold and silver. The dark dress contrasts with the woman’s white complexion.
Raffaello Sanzio at the Uffizi Gallery and beyond
So come and discover Raffaello at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, hundreds of other splendid masterpieces await you. Book your Uffizi ticket!
But for fans of Raffaello Sanzio, soon we will also talk about the masterpieces exhibited at the Palatine Gallery in Florence . We have also to point out that until 30 August 2020 you can taste the divine Raphael at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, an extraordinary exhibition with about 240 masterpieces of the artist from the most prestigious museums in the world!