The Most Famous Paintings in Florence
Florence is renowned worldwide for its impressive contribution to the world of art and there are so many fantastically famous paintings to see during your time there. From detailed depictions of a time gone by to magnificent statues positioned in churches and cathedrals, there’s likely to be a lot to cross off your list. Those lucky enough to be staying in our holiday villas in Tuscany with a pool can spend the day browsing these fantastic works of art before cooling down in the comfort of their own private villa. We’ve put together a list of the most famous paintings for you to see so you can tick them off as you go, starting with those located in the Uffizi Gallery, before exploring those further afield.
The Uffizi Gallery
Michelangelo Buonarroti – Tondo Doni
The incredibly talented Michelangelo is the artist behind Tondo Doni, a rarity in itself given that he preferred to express himself through sculpture. Following the better-known works of The Pietà and the Statue of David, Michelangelo had already established himself as an artistic legend and here he depicts the Holy family with sharply drawn figures and shapes. The picture itself features bright colours and naked people in the background and experts have debated the meaning of this for years.
Raphael – Madonna of the Goldfinch
Having learnt all the tricks of the trade from Leonardo da Vinci himself, this painting is regarded highly as one of the finest achievements of High Renaissance art. The picture shows Mary, Jesus and Saint John the Baptist gathered around a little bird, with a pretty landscape in the background. It’s thought that the goldfinch is a representation of Christ’s crucifixion and the painting utilises simple colours and composition to achieve powerful harmony.
Filippo Lippi – Madonna and Child
Chances are you will have seen a reproduction of this image in one way or another, but none will hold a candle to seeing the real thing in its home at the Uffizi Gallery. A true triumph of the Renaissance, this is one of Lippi’s final contributions to the field of art. He fell in love in the city, and the woman in the painting is thought to be a depiction of his lover, Lucrezia. It seems only fitting that the painting remains in the city for all to enjoy.
The Vasarian Corridor
The Medici had a palace either side of the River Arno, but also required a passage between the two, which was built in 1565. The corridor itself is home to not one, but many works of art. A string of self-portraits from the Medici collection lines the walls and it boasts some fantastically detailed paintings for all that journey from one side, to the other, to enjoy. The best way to find out more about these paintings in particular is by booking a guided tour with the museum or a trusted travel guide.
Leonardo da Vinci – Adoration of the Magi
Being face to face with a real da Vinci masterpiece is as about as awe-inspiring as it gets in the world of art and culture, making the Adoration of the Magi a must see during your time in Florence. Mary and the Magi form a triangle at the front contrasting with the mass of moving figures that make up the background. The painting uses sfumato, a style which involves ‘painting without lines or borders’, which soon become one of his trademark genres. This fantastic scene really will take your breath away.
Sandro Botticelli – Allegory of Spring
Perhaps the best-known work of art in Florence thanks to all that have tried to imitate him, this artist has a whole room dedicated to his masterpieces in the Uffizi, which is where you’ll find the Allegory of Spring. Venus, Goddess of Love is seen coming ashore on a shell, away from the sea where she was born, surrounded by the various divinities that celebrate the season of spring. This paining means something different to everyone, but it seems to highlight themes of Love and Beauty and the spiritual significance these have on the world.
Titian – The Venus of Urbino
Renowned for its erotic and iconic nature, this brilliant work of art depicts Venus lying naked on a bed without the various symbols and items that are typically associated with her. There are some subtle symbols including a dog for fidelity and a rose for love, but she seems much more human than goddess in this representation. Check it out at the Uffizi Gallery and you’ll see what we mean.
Outside of Uffizi
Despite the many works of art within the Uffizi Gallery, there are also some other great masterpieces scattered around Florence.
Fra Angelico – Annunciation
Head to the Museo di San Marco for front row seats on the works of Tuscan friar, Fra Angelico. In 1440, he spent the best part of two years decorating the monastic cells of fellow friars with spiritual and meditative frescoes, including a few that could be considered rather frightening. One of his most famous paintings, Annunciation, sits at the top of the stairs and commands the eyes of all who are walking through this peaceful museum. Angelico was in tune with the artistic developments of the Early Renaissance and switched from international gothic to the modern Florentine idiom to create some of the best Christian art of all time. If you are hoping to see this masterpiece, along with any of his other work, the museum is only open during the morning so you may need to make this your first port of call.
La Donna Velata
Colloquially known as the Veiled Lady, Raphael Sanzio is the mastermind behind this work of art which is today featured in the Palatine Gallery. It is thought to have been created in 1515 and the woman in the portrait was Raphael’s mistress, Margherita Lutti. Appearing in some of Raphael’s other paintings, she was also known as la Fornarina, for being the daughter of a baker. A great, yet seemingly underrated, piece of artwork that should be on the list of all those with an artistic flair.
That concludes our guide to the many jaw-dropping paintings to see during your time in Florence. The city is home to an array of other artwork including sculptures, statues and some awe-inspiring architecture, so you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied! Have you got a favourite masterpiece that calls this city home? Let us know what it is and where to find it via the comments on our social media channels! Otherwise, anyone travelling to Florence for their next holiday, check out our recent blog page including Summer in Tuscany and Tuscany’s Hidden Gems.