Francesco I’s museum: Cultural politics at the Galleria degli Uffizi

Francesco I’s museum: Cultural politics at the Galleria degli Uffizi Abstract This article examines the collecting practices of Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici (1541–1587), focusing on the shift from smaller, more private spaces (exemplified by his Palazzo Vecchio studiolo) to the larger, more open site of display of the Galleria degli Uffizi, founded by Francesco in 1583. Offering political interpretations of spaces of collecting and display previously deemed entirely personal, the author argues against the traditional historical view of Francesco I as a withdrawn and apolitical figure by presenting these spaces as exemplars of his nuanced approach to assertions of authority, expressing the political through the cultural. Why would someone spend great time, energy, and resources creating a magnificent space, only to seemingly abandon it a few years later? The room with which this question begins is the studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici (1541–1587), 2nd Grand Duke of Tuscany, who ruled Florence as Prince Regent from 1564 and as Grand Duke beginning in 1574. Francesco commissioned the space to store and organize his collection of works of art, texts, and exotica, which reflected contemporary avant-garde scientific processes of transformation, including alchemy and medicine. And yet, although he spent five years and significant resources creating this beautiful room, within a decade, he transferred objects from his studiolo to the Galleria degli Uffizi, which he created in 1583.1 A distinctly new institution now framed the works of art, one that served the political needs of the Grand Duke more effectively than had his small, almost exclusively private studiolo. This article explores this transition from studiolo to galleria as the primary site of display utilized by Francesco I, offering a new perspective on the establishment of this important museum that emphasizes the political function of collecting for the Grand Duke. While Francesco’s collecting and display practices, particularly as pertain to his magnificent Palazzo Vecchio studiolo, have been studied by scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, they have consistently been considered apart from his political rule. In a similar way, his well-known and extensive scientific and alchemical experimentation has traditionally been viewed as a hobby, and in fact one that perhaps distracted him from his political duties. Here it is argued that these activities, which have for so long been viewed as ‘extra-curricular,’ were instead part and parcel of Francesco’s expression of political authority. Turning away from traditional, overt assertions of authority, Francesco utilized cultural markers of power, access, and wealth to communicate his right to rule. While scholars have consistently split these activities (including his scientific experimentation and collecting) away from his rule,2 this division is both artificial and modern, as Francesco and his contemporaries understood his acquisition and display of beautiful, unusual, and expensive works of art and his investigations into the laws of natural science as activities both befitting an early modern ruler and supporting his rule. The Galleria degli Uffizi, displaying the famous Medici collection of art and antiquities in an impressive new gallery space, is perhaps the clearest indication of Francesco’s engagement with cultural politics as a site at which the Grand Duke could communicate messages of authority directly to visiting dignitaries and one that could to some extent speak for the Grand Duke. In the themes of its collections and its ownership by an élite – in this case, ruling – collector, the early Uffizi was not dramatically different from other examples of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century museums; however, the particular circumstances of the transfer of Francesco’s locus of collecting from the small and personal studiolo to the much larger and more directly politically-functioning Uffizi marks the change as significant. The fact that within a space of roughly eight years, a single person chose to alter the scale of his primary site for the display of a collection so dramatically and changed the parameters of access to it alerts us to the early Uffizi’s importance as a moment of transition, even emergence, of a new museological sensibility at the close of the Renaissance. Francesco’s awareness of and contribution to cinquecento collecting and display trends is revealed in correspondences between his gallery and other early modern musei and gallerie,3 such as Pope Julius II’s Belvedere in Rome or Vincenzo Gonzaga’s Galleria della Mostra in Mantua. This moment of transition in Medici collecting crystallizes within one collector’s career two trends emerging among European élites – a move towards increasingly accessible collections, and, more broadly, an increasing expectation that rulers would fundamentally engage with culture as part of their expression of political authority. It is Francesco’s participation in and contributions to these dual trends in the use of collected objects and spaces of display that make the early Galleria degli Uffizi an important subject of study for s cholars studying both the development of the museum in the early modern period and for historians seeking to understand how political authority was communicated through methods other than traditional expressions of military power, whether physical or representational. Understanding the Uffizi’s role in the early history of museums illuminates both its own importance and that of its creator, a perspective on Francesco that deviates from the traditional image of him as a hermit prince secluded in his private studiolo. While recent scholarship, such as that of Valentina Conticelli, has begun to place Francesco and his interests, previously viewed as hobbies or even distractions, within the wider context of early modern science and e pistemology, Francesco’s museological efforts have yet to receive such consideration. Conticelli considers the space through the lens of Francesco’s scientific interests, especially alchemy. While she, like many scholars working on the studiolo (and in this respect the present author differs markedly from her scholarly predecessors) prioritizes re-assessing the current arrangement of the paintings within the space,4 her text remains very useful for understanding Francesco’s circle of intellectual advisers and the way in which that epistemological background contributed to the appearance of the studiolo. However, she and others, such as the contributors to the 2013 volume on the recently-restored Tribuna (which naturally addressed only the central showroom of the gallery, whereas here the museum is considered as a whole), still do not acknowledge the political functions of these spaces and activities, keeping them artificially divorced from Francesco’s political rule.5 This article seeks to undo this separation, arguing that rather than acting as distractions or pastimes for the Grand Duke, scientific experimentation and, as at the Uffizi, the exhibition of his impressive collection in fact underscored Francesco’s political authority by quite literally displaying his right to rule. Evincing the discernment, taste, access and – above all – financial power of the Medici family, the nascent gallery served as cultural testimony to Francesco’s authority as Grand Duke. Among art historians, Francesco is best known for his magnificently decorated Palazzo Vecchio studiolo (Fig. 1). As the origin of the moment of museological transition under consideration, from studiolo to galleria, we must understand how this space looked and functioned, since much of the meaning of Francesco’s establishment of the Uffizi becomes most readily apparent in its difference to the earlier studiolo. Although they were not opposites, sharing as they did a similar focus on objects and works of art that celebrated creativity, we can productively think of the two spaces as foils. Although something of a simplification, such a relationship highlights to what a degree the Galleria degli Uffizi constituted a conscious change in display strategy for Francesco, turning from a fundamentally closed space to one more generally characterized by openness. Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide The studiolo of Francesco I, 1570–1575 (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide The studiolo of Francesco I, 1570–1575 (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Serving for Francesco as both a personal retreat and as a statement of political authority, the studiolo celebrated Nature’s inventive capacities. Decorated cabinets contained the tangible results of nature’s productive abilities in the form of wondrous materials, including metals, corals, and multi-coloured marbles, further refined by mankind’s skills into even more beautiful objects. The paintings within the space likewise glorified production, depicting the mythological origins of natural materials, such as coral and ambergris, and contemporary Tuscan industries that harnessed or manipulated such materials, such as mining and goldsmithing. The human figures represented in the room’s paintings, both on the cabinet doors and in the register above, work to discover new technologies and apply those forces towards creation, reflecting Francesco’s interest in natural philosophy and the studiolo as a site for the contemplation of the earth’s productive capabilities. Not only do the paintings celebrate Nature’s powers of creation, such as in Girolamo’s Macchietti’s The Baths of Pozzuoli, where natural minerals provide curative benefits, but, even more frequently, celebrate the ability of humans to adapt Nature’s creations for their own use. The ceiling of the studiolo features allegorical depictions of the four humors around a central panel depicting Prometheus Handing Nature a Piece of Quartz by Francesco Morandini, known as Il Poppi (see Fig. 1), likewise in celebration of nature’s inventiveness. The decorations of the ceiling mark Francesco’s ownership of the space through the inclusion of his personal imprese, the weasel with a laurel branch and the motto amat victoria curam, ‘Victory loves care.’ The two roundel portraits visible on the east and west walls of the studiolo are those of Cosimo I and Eleonora di Toledo, Francesco’s parents. Attribution of the portraits is contested but probably falls within the circle of Bronzino, if not by the master himself.6 While no independent portraits of the prince appear in the space, Francesco does feature in two paintings as an observer or participant in the workings at the Casino di San Marco, the grand-ducal workshop and laboratory building located in Piazza San Marco. In Giovanni Maria Butteri’s La Vetreria, Francesco inspects the glassware produced on site, and in Giovanni Stradano’s Gli Alchimisti, Francesco appears in a remarkably casual image, intently engaging in alchemical research with his shirtsleeves rolled up. Finally, niches set into the corners of the room displayed eight bronze statuettes depicting gods and goddesses associated with the elements, such as Giambologna’s Apollo (Fig. 2) representing air. Six of these statues were transferred to the Uffizi’s Tribuna by October 1586.7 Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Giambologna, Apollo, c.1570–75, bronze (studiolo of Francesco I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Giambologna, Apollo, c.1570–75, bronze (studiolo of Francesco I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Reflecting Renaissance prescriptions for good governance, such as those offered by Giambattista della Porta and Baldassare Castiglione, the studiolo demonstrated Francesco’s participation in activities befitting a learned ruler. For example, in his guidebook to experimentation entitled Natural Magic (1580), della Porta argues for the epistemological necessity of conducting scientific experiments. He believed that the knowledge gained through such experiments would give the prince a better understanding of the cosmos, making him more capable when it came to ruling his kingdom. To paraphrase della Porta, a ruler must understand the whole to know his own part.8 Not only did Francesco engage in such experimentation, but the products of some of his experiments, including rock crystal, medicines and mysterious liquids, were displayed within the studiolo,9 linking the active and contemplative modes in pursuit of Castiglione’s ideal balance. Castiglione wrote in Book iv of Il Cortegiano (1528) that a prince should not only strive for the Renaissance ideal of balance between the vita activa and vita contemplativa, but that he should place greater emphasis on the contemplative because of the consequences of his decisions as a ruler. Francesco’s experiments with alchemy and the mechanical arts were well known across Europe;10 Francesco di Vieri, known as Verino Secondo, even dedicated an alchemical treatise to the grand duke.11 With much of his time spent in active experimentation at the Casino, perhaps Francesco devoted such expense to his studiolo in an effort to balance his princely scale. Francesco would have entered the darkened space to examine his precious objects and to consider his knowledge of the world around him in solitude, as – with only a few exceptions – he prevented anyone but himself from entering the room. Scholars believe that a single desk (sometimes also somewhat confusingly referred to as a ‘studiolo’) was the only furniture in the space, reflecting not only the modest dimensions of the room but its use by the prince alone. Francesco fully adopted the privacy associated with many Renaissance studioli, reflecting their association with the gentlemanly virtues of study and contemplation. Pertinent to understanding the balance between privacy and sociability in Francesco’s studiolo, some evidence suggests that on rare occasions, Francesco did invite distinguished guests into his studiolo.12 In 1576, Andrea Gussoni, Venetian ambassador to Florence, reported that he visited the Palazzo Vecchio and, accompanied by Francesco, saw, among other things, . . . two of his small rooms, which are never entered, only rarely by the secretaries; one of which had all the far-fetched oils and waters of [Francesco’s] which are made for various medical purposes; in the other, a very great amount of very excellent artificial things, or natural rarities, or noble and famous antiquities such as works of sculpture, painting, and miniatures, rare stones, medals and similar things, gathered already with great expense . . . where with great familiarity [Francesco] picks up the objects with his own hand from where they are placed and hands them to me so that I can see them – we laboured as such for over an hour.13 Gussoni’s description of the objects on display within these two spaces (the other room most likely being the Tesoretto, directly connected to the studiolo via a passageway and also used to store precious objects) reflects the types of objects mentioned in the single known inventory of the room, taken in June 1574 after Cosimo I’s death.14 Gussoni conveys the prince’s personal delight with his collected objects and the pleasure of discussing their materials and characteristics by mentioning Francesco lifting objects out of their specified location to show his visitor more closely. Thus, it seems, Francesco’s deeply personal studiolo was on occasion transformed into a site of erudite sociability and diplomatic exchange. While he may personally have enjoyed spending time discussing his collection with a learned colleague, Francesco was also certainly aware that the demonstration of wealth and access to knowledge that his collection represented would make considerable impact upon the Venetian ambassador, who would, of course, report back his impressions to La Serenissima, reinforcing Florence’s position as a formidable power and attractive ally. At such a moment, Francesco’s use of the space as a cultural expression of his political power was at its most potent, as the primary associations of scientific knowledge and artistic fecundity represented by the studiolo as a personal space of contemplation served as a vehicle for the communication of political authority. However, as a small space located adjacent to the Grand Duke’s personal quarters, the studiolo had its limitations as a political space. Roughly eight years after its completion, perhaps frustrated by the space’s inability to communicate its messages of political authority directly to an appropriately-sized audience of his peers, Francesco shifted his collecting attentions away from the small, very private studiolo to a new creation, the Galleria degli Uffizi. Now grand duke rather than crown prince, Francesco required a larger stage upon which to perform the nuanced cultural politics that characterize his reign. His gallery at the Uffizi established important precedents for the newly emerging institution of the museum, both in form and function. Likewise, Francesco’s princely gallery contributed to changing expectations in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries of what constituted a ruler’s proper engagement with culture. Francesco chose the pre-existing Uffizi building as the site of his new gallery. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi is located between the Piazza della Signoria and the northern shore of the Arno river, directly adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio (Fig. 3.) Construction took place in the 1560s-70s and was completed by 1581. Cosimo I originally commissioned the structure to serve as an administrative building, housing the bureaucracy of his ever-expanding Tuscan state. He desired a centralized building to contain the offices (uffici) of the state located close to the heart of the government at the Palazzo Vecchio, allowing the 1st grand duke symbolically, and perhaps quite literally, to keep an eye on state activities. Lisa Kaborycha describes the Uffizi as a ‘visual representation of the power concentrated under Cosimo’s rule’,15 a potent symbol of civic life continually monitored by Medici authority. Along with offices for a number of the city’s guilds, the building also housed some of Florence’s courts and was occasionally referred to as ‘i Magistrati’, reflecting those judicial occupants. The building’s potency as a symbolic embodiment of Cosimo’s authority was bolstered by the fact that the ducal militia was also headquartered at the Uffizi. After the construction of the Vasari Corridor in 1565, ostensibly in celebration of Francesco’s marriage that year to Giovanna d’Austria, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi were physically linked, connected as well to Cosimo’s new residence, the Palazzo Pitti across the Arno. The grand dukes could now move quickly and safely between all major governmental buildings, increasing their watchful symbolic observation over bureaucracy and judiciary. Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Giorgio Vasri, Gli Uffizi (view looking south), 1560–81 (Florence). Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Giorgio Vasri, Gli Uffizi (view looking south), 1560–81 (Florence). The building’s function as a symbol of political authority carried over when Francesco chose the second floor of the Uffizi as the site of his new gallery. Beginning in late 1582 or early 1583, he initiated a project to reorganize and redecorate the second floor of the building as a museum or galleria.16 These efforts concentrated on the east corridor of the second floor, which appears as the right arm of the U-shaped Uffizi building as seen in Fig. 3. The original gallery occupied the southern end of the east corridor and approximately seven rooms adjacent to it.17 With rooms arranged in a linear fashion along a spine through which visitors could move fluidly, the plan of the original Uffizi organized the collection in a space that anticipates that of the modern museum. Although this arrangement was determined in part due to the pre-existing shape of the Uffizi office building, the building’s plan was not changed when the space was re-designed as an art gallery, except for the addition of a dome to the Tribuna, the gallery’s showpiece octagonal gallery. While the objects originally displayed within the Galleria degli Uffizi can no longer be identified, having undergone many rearrangements, some of the frescoed ceilings that decorate the main corridor and its adjacent galleries depict objects that parallel Francesco’s collecting preferences and could indicate what sorts of objects were originally placed in these spaces. For example, modern-day room 17, adjacent to the north side of the Tribuna, features a ceiling decorated with putti holding scientific objects such as scales and astrolabes; small vignettes depict technological operations such as pulling ashore a ship run aground. It does not seem unlikely that this room displayed scientific objects such as those depicted on its frescoed ceiling. Such objects would certainly have been intriguing and delightful to Francesco, who spent many hours experimenting in his own laboratories at the Casino di San Marco as a devoted natural philosopher and alchemist, where he utilized similar objects. Likewise, room 23’s ceiling depicts artisans at work on objects including swords, cannon, and barrels; details including putti lounging with piles of armour and elaborate vases emphasize objects made of metals. Given the evidence of the recently-discovered inventory of Francesco’s Palazzo Vecchio studiolo, which included weaponry, it seems logical that this room could have been used to display similar objects, perhaps even items transferred directly from the studiolo.18 Luciano Berti, former director of the Galleria degli Uffizi and one of the first modern art historians to seriously study Francesco I de’ Medici, believed that ‘antique and modern weapons from every country’19 were displayed in this room, bringing to mind the examples of Turkish and Hungarian scimitars listed in the studiolo inventory.20 The metallic nature of the objects, requiring that natural materials be transformed through the heat of the forge, ensured their fascination for Francesco as objects created through scientific chemical processes. However, not all of these rooms feature frescos that could conceivably have corresponded to the objects displayed within them, making the representations less likely direct markers of the rooms’ uses and more generally reflective of Francesco’s identity and interests, reinforcing the personal and political meanings of the early Uffizi. Room 20 features grotesque decorations and trompe l’oeil cameos featuring surrounding cityscapes of Florence’s major piazze. Room 21 features ceiling decorations with battle scenes,21 including one that features the Medici palle on a flag and two that appear to depict battles between Europeans and exotic peoples, subjects that surely would have fascinated Francesco as a natural philosopher who commissioned his agents to travel as far as Japan and India to collect information about foreign peoples and climes. Room 22 also features battle scenes. Room 19’s ceiling is filled with allegorical figures and imprese with mottos of famous Medici leaders, such as Cosimo’s turtle and Francesco’s fox insignia and features a central scene of apotheosis. The ceiling decorations are flanked by historical scenes of military power, such as Alexander’s decisive crossing at the Hydaspes River, while the lateral images depict scenes of rulers invested with symbols of political authority, including crowns, an ermine-trimmed cloak, and a sceptre decorated with Florence’s lily. These decorations endeavour to proclaim Medici and Florentine political and military power more explicitly than by obliquely gesturing towards the individual objects or works of art displayed within the rooms, reflecting the early Uffizi’s function not only as a personal retreat for Francesco but more importantly as an institutional marker of the dynasty’s entrée into the realm of cultural politics. When diplomats or distinguished visitors toured the gallery, the early museum served as a silent but powerful testament to the dynasty’s wealth and cultural prestige. These decorations, taken as a whole, can be understood as a pointed visual reminder of the message of political prowess that one was intended to receive while visiting the museum. If a visitor somehow missed the message projected by the enormously expensive and rare collection, the frescos would make the point. At the same time, they served as works of art in their own right, aesthetically complementing the impressive collection displayed beneath. Political statements and examples of artistic skill, the ceiling frescos embody the simultaneity of the dualistic nature of the early Uffizi, conveying the political through an ambiguous site of collecting and display. Like the studiolo, which functioned simultaneously as both a personal retreat for contemplation and to assert the knowledge and reach required to rule, the Galleria degli Uffizi’s meaning was produced through its dual status as a cultural and political space. As a more open site of display where visitors could personally view the works, the Uffizi was more transparent than the studiolo and more successful at utilizing cultural forms to assert political authority. The new galleria, as a site ostensibly devoted to the appreciation of natural and human productive capacities, as was the studiolo, to a degree camouflaged its political meaning, making it all the more effective in that visitors were invited to draw their own conclusions regarding the taste, knowledge, and legacy of Francesco and his Medici forebears. Of course, these conclusions were foregone, as the gallery’s very purpose was to communicate political messages regarding Francesco’s right to rule. While the display of authority was of primary interest for Francesco and directly related to his collecting and display choices, the audience at which these efforts were directed remains important as the process of communicating that message employed contemporary philosophical and scientific knowledge synchronically with the fine arts. Rather than forcefully trying to impress an understanding of political power upon the general populace, the Uffizi in its initial conception served as a more complex union of authority and culture that spoke primarily to dignitaries, scholars, scientists, and rulers -- in short, Francesco’s peers. For all the Uffizi’s meaning as a symbol of Medici wealth, taste, and influence, on a quotidian basis, the museum served as a space of personal pleasure for Francesco. Although visitors, including dignitaries and possibly even artists, were granted access, the museum was still far from public in our modern sense, and on most days, would have received no visitors. Francesco appears personally to have utilized the gallery as a place of contemplation. Simone Fortuna, Florentine agent to the Duke of Urbino,22 records that on one occasion, Francesco even caught a cold from spending too much time in the new gallery.23 However, from its inception, the Uffizi appears to have been utilized as a potent opportunity for the communication of authority through culture. The earliest reference to the new gallery by a contemporary source comes from a letter sent to Francesca Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, by Simone Fortuna, shedding light on Francesco’s use of the gallery in diplomatic relations from its earliest days. Fortuna’s letter, dated 21 April 1584, describes the festivities celebrating the marriage of Vincenzo Gonzaga, prince of Mantua, to Eleonora de’ Medici, Francesco’s eldest child. According to Fortuna, Vincenzo Gonzaga (‘il principe’) arrived in Florence on Tuesday, 17 April, and was received by Francesco and other members of the court in the Palazzo Vecchio. On the following day, Fortuna records that ‘it was fully 9 a.m. before the table was laid [for breakfast], and in that time the prince had seen the galleries and many delights that the Grand Duke had newly created, and he had also practised shooting the musket and crossbow at the cornices of the campanile, in which Sua Altezza [Grand Duke Francesco] took much delight.’24 Fortuna refers to the galleria as a recent creation of Francesco’s, a description supported by archival evidence suggesting that the gallery was officially created as an institution in March of 1583,25 roughly a year before Vincenzo Gonzaga’s stay in Florence. Fortuna’s letter also records that, after the initial public greeting and dinner at the prince’s arrival, his visit to the galleria was the first activity of his stay. In other words, the gallery was a top sight. The rest of the activities listed during the prince’s stay, including a calcio match,26 a ceremonial mass,27 and an evening of singing and dancing,28 were presumably arranged and organized according to the wishes of the host. One can assume, then, that the visit to the galleria was also Francesco’s idea. We should not be surprised to find the Grand Duke eager to show off his new creation; no doubt it impressed the future Duke of Mantua, who during his reign would support major names in the arts and sciences, including Claudio Monteverdi, Peter Paul Rubens, and Giovanni Antonio Magini. Perhaps not coincidentally, Vincenzo Gonzaga would also later create his own princely gallery, the Galleria della Mostra in Manta’s Palazzo Ducale.29 The impressive nature of the Uffizi galleria, an entire floor devoted to the display of the best of the Medici collection, made it a powerful diplomatic tool. With the opportunity to show his future son-in-law the beautiful works of art, Francesco exposed the young prince to the powerful associations of financial, political, and dynastic strength associated with such a site of display. The location of the new museum at the Uffizi reflects its position within a constellation of activities and sites related to Francesco’s princely pursuits. As he constructed the art gallery in the Uffizi’s east corridor, the west corridor was equally transformed to accommodate many of the laboratories and workshops previously located at the Casino di San Marco.30 Sometimes referred to collectively as the Fonderia (foundry),31 these workshops included not only metallurgical ones but also pharmacological laboratories and art workshops. By relocating these from the Casino di San Marco, located at the Piazza San Marco on the other side of the city from the Palazzo Vecchio, Francesco was not seeking to escape his duties as ruler, as many scholars have suggested, but instead created a centralized arts-and-science complex close to his residence and the seat of government. Contemporary commentators on the prince, including Fortuna and French essayist Michel de Montaigne, noted that Francesco spent many hours each week working at the Casino di San Marco.32 Francesco even conducted state business from within his laboratories; in 1576 Andrea Gussoni observed that he [Francesco] spends almost all of his time in a place they call the casino . . . but nevertheless he intersperses . . . negotiations with secretaries regarding affairs of state, also expediting many requests for mercy as well as justice, in such a manner that he mixes pleasure with business, and business with pleasure.33 Knowing that he would continue to spend considerable time in these workshops, Francesco’s decision to move them adjacent to – in fact, connected to – the governmental palace reflects his commitment to his role as grand duke rather than a desire to shirk his responsibilities. Mary Hollingsworth thoughtfully observes that Francesco concentrated his commissions within buildings located at the very heart of his political authority, the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, and the Uffizi34 – locations that formed a nucleus of political power in Florence. Since the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio in the early thirteenth century, this area of the city had been associated with government, and Francesco’s focus on it for sites of display reinforced these longstanding connotations, just as his selection of the Uffizi, located in this precinct and carrying its own authoritative associations, demonstrated his awareness of the symbolic power of site. The location of Francesco’s sites of collecting in Florence’s governmental square shows that they were meant to do more than simply amuse the prince. The liminality of many of these structures, including the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, which defy clear distinctions between personal, private, domestic, and governmental through their mixed use and physical connection, enhance the powerful multivalence of Francesco’s commission, intentionally blurring the line between personal and political. The Uffizi as a political tool epitomizes Francesco’s approach to the communication of authority, using cultural forms that employed contemporary scientific knowledge synchronically with the fine arts to demonstrate his fitness to rule. Guests passing through the galleries, sometimes accompanied and guided by Francesco himself, could marvel at the spectacular objects on display and consider their rarity and value. The assertion of power, both financial and political, that the acquisition of such a collection made was all the more subtle for its expression through cultural forms. Seeing for themselves the scale of the Medici collection, the gravitas of its ancient fragments and the dazzle of its jewels, visitors to the Galleria degli Uffizi came to believe in Medici might and power through their own experience. Carol Duncan observes the ‘ideological force of a cultural experience that claims for its truths the status of objective knowledge’,35 reflecting the power of the museological institution to frame its political messages as objective fact. Francesco’s harnessing of his political claims to the individual experience of culture would remain one of his most important legacies, a subtle but important shift in the centuries-long Medici approach to utilizing art to assert political power. Rather than being told about Medici authority through images of traditional military power, such as Vasari’s grand fresco cycle in the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio, the visitor would come to that conclusion seemingly through his own mental processes, a far more effective and even insidious process. Some evidence suggests that the Galleria degli Uffizi was accessible to those who requested access. In his 1591 guidebook, The Beauties of the City of Florence, Francesco Bocchi describes the gallery as open to ‘those who wanted to’ see the objects. Bocchi, a minor literary figure, served as agent for Francesco’s brother and successor Ferdinando I (1549–1609), both in Rome during Ferdinando’s cardinalate and in Florence after his accession to the title of Grand Duke following Francesco’s death in 1587. His guidebook, in which he describes the physical beauty of the city as a manifestation of her virtù, features a lengthy description of the Uffizi. His extensive description of the gallery and its contents remains one of the earliest accounts of the museum’s arrangement and of specific objects on display.36 While Adriana Turpin has argued that the arrangement of the gallery under Ferdinando was probably similar to the original installation under Francesco,37 this author is unwilling to make such an assumption, as Bocchi’s book was published four years after Francesco’s death. Until archival evidence or a contemporary description outlining the arrangement of objects in the gallery before October 1587 emerges, we simply cannot be certain what specific works of art were displayed in the Uffizi. Bocchi’s account sheds light on the gallery’s appearance and accessibility in the early days of Ferdinando’s rule, although we cannot say what changes he may have made to the gallery’s original arrangement. After a lengthy description of the rooms of the museum and the objects displayed within, Bocchi completes his description of the Uffizi by describing the gallery as accessible to anyone who wishes to view the collection. Bocchi articulates this accessibility as a measure of Grand Duke Ferdinando’s enlightened rule: Since humankind has a great desire to enjoy the sight of the works produced by such noble and sublime intellects, the Grand Duke has permitted to the supervisors of these objects to accommodate those who want to see them. Thus one can view them as carefully [attentamente] as one pleases. In the Gallery one sees the figures more comfortably than in public squares. Outside they would be stained by wind and rain. Here, on the other hand, they are preserved in a clean state, and because of [the Grand Duke’s] most kind generosity one can, as a sophisticated pastime, view them from time to time. Already the emperors and the Roman nobles had this same praiseworthy and honourable idea. In order to escape the accusation of greed and jealousy for keeping the wonderful art works of painting and sculpture within their private houses, they placed them in public places for the benefit of others. Among them, Marcus Agrippa was so passionate in this respect that he delivered a very committed speech, demanding that all paintings and sculptures be exhibited in public. These works in the Gallery are most carefully protected from dust, wind, and water. Thus well preserved and clean, they can be viewed, and they are made public [fatte pubbliche] at almost all times, if someone courteously [cortesemente] asks to see these precious works of art.38 While Bocchi probably includes this remark about the accessibility and inherent liberality of the Galleria degli Uffizi primarily to propagate the image of Ferdinando as a cultured ruler, his description remains the earliest indication that the Uffizi was, at least within a decade of its construction, open to visitors beyond invited dignitaries. Bocchi’s passage indicates that the gallery was accessible, but that one had to request access rather than simply stroll in from the street or purchase a ticket at a window, reflecting the early modern usage of the word publiche (public) to indicate that the collection could be made open to visitors rather than open at all times. The nature of a request implies that it can be granted or denied; access to the Galleria degli Uffizi was not guaranteed. Bocchi’s language indicates that the notion of an accessible museum or collection in this period was still an emerging one, as his description alternates between emphasizing the access granted to visitors with reminders that such access was predicated upon their proper behaviour within the space. Although theoretically available to anyone who wished to see the works displayed within, the Uffizi remained, in Bocchi’s words, a space for deep [attentamente] contemplation of the works by those who had ‘courteously’ requested access. He describes such activity as a ‘sophisticated pastime’, one made accessible to those who possessed the skills and knowledge to engage with the works in their new site of display with the proper decorum. Indeed, as the gallery was only opened upon request, a potential visitor had to have the additional knowledge of where and how to make such a request, which Bocchi does not outline. Even while describing the accessibility of the space, Bocchi reinforces the early museum as a site of privilege; as physical access to the collection increased, there remained a continued emphasis on the user having the requisite education and background, connoting wealth and status. As such, Bocchi’s description of the early Galleria degli Uffizi records the fine line between accessibility and privilege that many early museums treaded. No doubt the increased openness of collections in this period brought new concerns to light that visitors to these formerly highly restricted sites might not engage with them in the proper manner. Such discomfort with the perceived dangers of accessibility in museums was not restricted to the early modern period but remained a present, and at times almost central, concern throughout the development of public museums. For example, David Wilson, former director of the British Museum, observes that even though the museum was opened to the public in 1759, its early highly restrictive conditions of access meant that only a circumscribed group of people were actually allowed into the museum, so much so that museum trustees ‘sometimes seemed as much concerned with keeping people away as allowing them access.’39 Such attempts to control visitor access and behaviour reaches even into the twenty-first century with debates over admission fees and the use of selfi sticks. Any consideration of the accessibility of early museums is complicated by the fact that the concept of the museum grew out of the tradition of the domestic studio, a space that, regardless of the varied iterations that it could assume, remained at heart inherently personal, and in many cases, private. The emergence in the early modern period of the museum as a separate and different entity from the private studiolo reflected to an extent a continuing tension between privacy and access. Paula Findlen observes that, for many centuries, the word museum was employed to suggest this notion of an exclusive or private space;40 she describes the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the crucial period in which the idea of the museum shifted from closed to open. The Uffizi, emerging at this critical moment of change, reflects the transitional and at times conflicting nature of more publicly-facing sites of collecting and display in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Just as in the case of the studiolo, linguistic specificity regarding the word museum (the Italian museo or Latin musaeum) did not exist in the period under consideration; to complicate matters, the word ‘museo’ was in this period used interchangeably with words connoting a private space, such as gabinetto/cabinet or studio. Jeffrey Collins asserts that the word also connoted any collection of rarities,41 whether natural specimens or art works. As was the case regarding so many collections in this period, such museums based on rarities ranged in their degree of accessibility. On the more public side, museo appears just as frequently as words such as teatro (theatre). This linguistic slippage is especially confusing in the case of the Uffizi, as in the late cinquecento a space designed by Bernardo Buontalenti and known as the Teatro Mediceo also existed on the second floor of the Uffizi, adjacent to the gallery.42 While no trace remains today (the main staircase used by tourists and newer galleries now occupy its general location), the existence of a theatre directly adjacent to the new art gallery demonstrates how early modern thought conceived of these two constructions as similar enterprises, appropriate to be placed in physical proximity. As the sixteenth century drew to a close, a new word increasingly became associated with sites of display that pushed the vacillating distinction between private and public in the direction of the latter – the galleria. Findlen describes the word galleria, connoting ‘a space through which one passed or visited, rather than the closed studio,’ as increasingly dominant in the seventeenth century.43 The use of the word galleria at the Uffizi not only anticipated this seicento development but in fact ensured it; the dictionaries of the Accademia della Crusca, first published in 1612, normalized the word as a space of collecting characterized by public access.44 That the Accademia della Crusca, an official group supported by the Medici Grand Dukes, including Francesco, understood a galleria as a public space reflects the more open character of the Galleria degli Uffizi, the galleria example par exellence for this Florentine linguistic academy. The notion of a public or publicly-accessible museum was, in the early modern period, an idea only beginning to emerge as sacred and secular authorities arranged their prized possessions in new spaces devoted to the display of collected objects that increasingly allowed for access, even if only to privileged individuals. The tension between the private collection and wider access to it that characterizes many, if not most, early modern iterations of the museum is especially apparent in the example of the Vatican Belvedere, established in 1503 by Pope Julius II with his decision to relocate the Apollo Belvedere (the name of which is derived from its new display location) from his personal residence to the new Vatican courtyard designed by Donato Bramante. By 1550 the collection of antiquities had grown to include the recently-discovered Laocoön, Knidian Venus, Commodus as Hercules, a bust of Antinous, and the Torso Belvedere, an impressive ‘nucleus of masterpieces that attracted visitors from throughout Europe’.45 According to Kathleen Wren Christian, ‘at the Belvedere, Bramante’s refined spiral staircase made the papal collection accessible to visitors and the extent of the collection’s fame suggests that aristocrats, artists, and any passing pilgrim could have entered to see its sculptures’,46 their entrance most likely requiring a coin slipped to the servants on duty. However, the physical characteristics of the site demonstrated discomfort with the notion of general access. Most overtly, the cortile featured a Virgilian inscription over its door that declared the space as one of privilege: ‘Begone, ye uninitiated.’ While this admonition could mean that one required only the requisite knowledge or taste to enter and appreciate the works displayed within, the relationship between education and the ability to receive it, connoting access, wealth, and status, results in this inscription suggesting that only a select few could be considered worthy of admission. The physical shape of the Belvedere, an enclosed octagonal courtyard,47 also reflects the sense of privacy built into the display site. An outdoor space with only one entrance, rather than a corridor or series of rooms through which one passes, implies a place of retreat and relative inaccessibility; Collins describes it as a hortus conclusus, a secret garden off-limits to the masses.48 By the late cinquecento, the Belvedere’s status as an increasingly enclosed space was reflected in a set of protective shutters installed in the 1560s,49 further restricting visual access to the cortile and its ancient sculptures. That the concept of the museum increasingly moved towards a more open and sociable (if not outright diplomatic) one in the late Renaissance is reflected in Pope Sixtus V’s unfulfilled plans to dismantle the entire structure in the years around 1585-1590,50 shortly after the Uffizi’s construction. In short, the Belvedere no longer served his needs. The quasi-circular shape and enclosed nature of the cortile had by this time fallen out of fashion, indicating Francesco’s awareness of and even direct contribution to changing tastes regarding the appearance of sites of display. The Belvedere’s shape stands in contrast to the Uffizi’s corridor-based structure, which conformed to visual preferences by facilitating use of the gallery as a place for demonstrating political values through cultural forms to an audience moving through the space rather than dwelling within in contemplation. Nonetheless, the tension inherent in a space that disturbs a simple public/private binary, built as a restricted space of delectation but ostensibly accessible, is reflected at the Uffizi, along with the Belvedere and other early modern iterations of the museum. Bookended by Cosimo I’s imperial model for using arts for political ends – a more direct approach typified by commissioned works of art depicting military victories or other traditional expressions of authority – and a seicento courtly world view that more fully expected the use of cultural forms as weapons in a ruler’s arsenal equally powerful to military strength (as at the quintessential example of Versailles), Francesco’s cultural politics and museological choices are important moments of transition. Turning away from a mechanistic utilization of the arts towards a more flexible and inclusive model based on the role of art and early modern science in the production of knowledge and power, Francesco’s display choices established important museological precedents and turned the political use of art in a new direction, one that would steadily continue towards its ultimate apogee in France at the turn of the next century. Recognizing and normalizing Francesco’s use of cultural politics allows historians to better contextualize and identify how and when the traditional Renaissance relationship between art and politics began to shift into a more fluid seventeenth century model, in which comprehensive engagement with the arts had become a fundamental expectation of rulers. Francesco’s brand of non-assertive, personal politics broke to a degree with the traditional paradigm established for Renaissance rulers, which may explain why scholars have hitherto not recognized the political meanings behind his display strategies. Looking beyond any perceived emptiness in the rhetoric of display, this article reveals Francesco’s use of the arts and early modern science as agents in a more nuanced projection of power through the expression of the privilege of élites bound up in collecting. As the visitor walked the corridor and viewed the hooks of art in the Galleria degli Uffizi, the objects themselves announced the expense, taste, and influence necessary for their acquisition by the Medici. The visitor would then himself draw the conclusion that the grand dukes must be powerful authority figures if they could amass, display, and demonstrate such wealth and influence. Rather than personally asserting his power, Francesco allowed the collection displayed within the gallery to do it for him. With the objects quietly but continuously serving as reminders of the family’s position, visitors to the museum would perceive Francesco’s authority as an evident, objective fact, demonstrated by the collection itself and thus eliminating the need for overt and potentially desperate proclamations of the right to rule. The foundation of the Galleria degli Uffizi in 1583 marks an important moment in the institutionalization of collecting, as works of art and objects previously defined as the private property of their princely owner were now framed by an institution understood as the museum. That this museum remained under the control of the prince demonstrates the emerging nature of the concept of the museum in the late cinquecento; it would be nearly a century before the opening of a truly public museum (the Ashmolean in Oxford, 6 June 1684), accessible to anyone able to purchase a ticket, and centuries before the full transfer of a formerly-princely collection into a public institution (typified by the forced conversion of the Louvre from a royal palace to a public art museum at the end of the eighteenth century.) Nonetheless, the Galleria degli Uffizi remains a foundational early moment in this history, one in which we can document the institutional birth of the museum in the archival record. More importantly, Francesco’s interventions at the Uffizi, shifting the focus of his collecting activities from the restricted site of the studiolo to the more public-facing Galleria degli Uffizi, places him at the forefront of changes in the spatial arrangement and accessibility of museums as the sixteenth century gve way to the seventeenth. That this particular museum still exists today perhaps has made its early decades more invisible, as we take for granted a cultural landmark that we cannot imagine Florence or Italy without. Acknowledgments This publication is based on a paper presented at the Renaissance Society of America 2016 meeting and addresses the central argument of the author’s 2016 dissertation for Boston University, entitled ‘From Studiolo to Uffizi: Sites of Collecting and Display under Francesco I de’ Medici.’ My thanks to Jodi Cranston and Naomi Slipp for their help in preparing the article, and to Liana di Girolami Cheney for inviting me to speak on her panel. Notes and references Footnotes 1 Scholarly consensus has assumed that Francesco did not continue to use his studiolo as before, and some, including Larry Feinberg and Scott Schaefer, suggest that he may even have disassembled it, although I suspect that he continued to employ it as a contemplative space. More archival research is required to settle this question. See S. Schaefer, ‘The Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence’, Ph.D. diss. (Bryn Mawr College, 1976), p. 463; K. V. Edwards, ‘Rethinking the Installation of the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio’, Ph.D. diss. (Case Western Reserve University, 2007), p. 41; and E. Hooper-Greenhill, Museums and the Shaping ofKnowledge (London, 1992), p. 106. 2 As recently as 2013, the collection of essays in honour of the Tribuna’s recent restoration, La Tribuna del Principe: storia, contesto, restauro, ed. Antonio Natali, Alessandro Nova and Massimiliano Rossi (Florence, 2013) does not address motivations behind or possible political functions of the space. 3 For more on the linguistic flexibility between the words ‘museum’ and ‘gallery,’ see N. Pevsner, A History of Building Types (Princeton, nj, 1979), p. 112, and P. Findlen, ‘The museum: Its classical etymology and Renaissance genealogy’, Journal of the History of Collections 1 (1989), pp. 59–78. 4 Valentina Conticelli, ‘Guardaroba di cose rare et preziose’: lo studiolo di Francesco I de’ Medici: arte, storia e significati (Lugano, 2007). 5 Giuseppe Olmi is one scholar who does interpret the museum politically, stating that the Tribuna’s display of art ‘had constantly to be exposed to the eyes of all and to be strongly impressed on the mind of every subject.’ However, certainly only a very limited number of individuals were granted access to the museum in its first few decades. G. Olmi, ‘Science – Honour – Metaphor: Italian cabinets of the 16th and 17th centuries’, in O. Impey and A. MacGregor (eds), The Origins of Museums: The cabinet of curiosities in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe (Oxford, 1985), p. 10. Olmi’s overly-generalized view of Francesco’s motivations for creating the gallery reflects the traditional notion of the Medici grand dukes as despots, concerned only with enhancing their power through unsophisticated methods. Adriana Turpin also considers some political motivations in ‘The display of exotica in the Uffizi Tribuna’, in A. Turpin, S. Bracken and A. Gáldy (eds), Collecting East and West (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2013), pp. 83–117; however, she focuses exclusively on the Tribuna, rather than considering the museum as a whole. 6 See J. Cox-Rearick, Dynasty and Destiny in Medici Art: Pontormo, Leo X, and the Two Cosimos (Princeton, nj, 1984), p. 283, and Edwards, op. cit. (note 1), p. 66. 7 L. Feinberg, ‘The Studiolo of Francesco I reconsidered,’ in C. Acidini Luchinat (ed.), The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence (New Haven, 2002), p. 48, and V. Conticelli, ‘Guardaroba di Cose Rare et Preziose: Lo studiolo di Francesco I de’ Medici - arte, storia e significati (Lugano, 2007), p. 65. 8 Schaefer, op. cit. (note 1), p. 234. 9 See L. Alberts, ‘The studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici: a recently-found inventory,’ Art Histories Supplement 2.0 1 (2015), pp. 9–10. 10 L. Berti, Il Principe dello Studiolo: Francesco I dei Medici e la fine del Rinascimento fiorentino (Florence, 1967), p. 58. 11 S. Butters, The Triumph of Vulcan: Sculptor’s tools, porphyry, and the prince in ducal Florence (Florence, 1996), p. 245. 12 See Conticelli, op. cit. (note 4), p. 64. 13 Ibid, p. 63. Original Italian: ‘Due suoi camerini, ove non entra mai, alcuno e di rado li segretari; nell’uno de’ quali tiene tutti gli ogli e le acque lambiccate da lui che son atte a vari medicamenti; nell altro una grandissima massa di cose molto eccellenti per artificio, o per rare per natura, o nobili e famose per antichità come lavori di scoltura, pitture, e miniature, pietre rare, medaglie e cose simili, raccolte già con molta spesa... dove con gran dimestichezza levando di sua propria mano le cose da’ luoghi ove erano riposte e porgendomele perche io le vedessi, s’è affaticato più d’un’ ora.’ 14 See Alberts, op. cit. (note 9), pp. 3–23. 15 L. Kaborycha, A Short History of Renaissance Italy (Upper Saddle River, nj, 2011), p. 243. 16 The construction and decoration of the Tribuna and corridor gallery is outlined in Francesca de Luca, ‘L’officina decorativa. Gli artisti e il cantiere’, in La Tribuna del Principe, op. cit. (note 2), pp. 61–73. 17 The northern end of the corridor was occupied at the time by the Teatro Medici, which is no longer extant. The main staircase of the gallery today occupies this general location. 18 See Alberts, op. cit. (note 9). 19 See L. Berti, The Uffizi (London, 1993), p. 9. 20 Alberts, op. cit. (note 9,) p. 7. 21 One of the smaller vignettes of this ceiling, depicting a river view of a town, bears a date under it that reads ‘Florence August 1944.’ This is the only date visible on the ceiling, and it is unclear if it refers to the restoration of the entire ceiling or specifically to the small panel above it. Other rooms (in particular, room 22) in this suite have individual panels that appear to have been damaged (or in one case, removed entirely), and it is my belief that the restoration of this panel may have been completed at the 1944 date, possibly after damage to the original. The style does appear more impressionistic, as if mimicking watercolours, than any of the other ceiling panels, suggesting a different hand. Thanks to Keith Morgan for suggesting that the dated vignette, which upon close inspection depicts a bank of the Arno with apparently destroyed buildings, may relate to the Nazi withdrawal from Florence on 11 August 1944. 22 Francesco Maria II della Rovere. 23 Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 28. While Berti gives the date of Fortuna’s recording as 1582, which pre-dates the ‘beginning’ of the gallery indicated in the archival record, he gives no citation for his quotation. March 1583 marks the beginning of the Uffizi as an institution, while work most likely began earlier, possibly towards the end of 1582. Original Italian: ‘Il Granduca è stato tutta questa settimana molto infreddato, con una tossa assai fastidiosa. La cagione viene attirbuita allo star tanto a passegiare per questa sua nuova Galleria, della quale pare si compiaccia sommamente ornandola di pitture e di statue a maraviglia.’ 24 S. Fortuna, Le nozze di Eleonora de’ Medici con Vincenzio Gonzaga (Florence, 1868), p. 9. Original Italian: ‘Erano intorno a xix ore inanzi che si ponessero a tavola, nel qual tempo il Principe aveva veduto le gallerie e molte delitie che nuovamente ha fatte il Gran Duca, e si era anche esercitato a tirare l’archibuso e la balestra alle cornacchie del campanile, in che par che pigli molta dilettatione S.A.’ I have approximated the Florentine time of 19 hours to be approximately 9 a.m.; the Florentine clock began at the hour of sundown (hour 1), which I have approximated would have taken place at roughly 6 p.m. in Florence in April. 25 Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Guardaroba Medicea, filza 110, frontispiece. 26 Fortuna, op. cit. (note 24), p. 10. 27 Ibid, p. 12. 28 Ibid, p. 9. 29 For more on the Galleria della Mostra, see David Chambers and Jane Martineau, Splendours of the Gonzaga (London, 1981), and Raffaella Morselli (ed.), La Celeste Galleria (Milan, 2002.) 30 Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 9. The exact date of the transfer of workshops and laboratories from the Casino di San Marco to the Uffizi remains difficult to pin down. See A. Darr, ‘The Medici and the legacy of Michelangelo in late Renaissance Florence: an introduction’, in Acidini Luchinat, op. cit. (note 7), p. 5; F. Keiffer, ‘The laboratories of art and alchemy at the Uffizi Gallery in Renaissance Florence: some material aspects,’ in Sven Dupré (ed.), Laboratories of Art: Alchemy and art technology from antiquity to the 18thcentury (Cham, 2014), pp. 105–27; and A. Rooney, Power and Glory: Medici Portraits from the Uffizi Gallery (Philadelphia, 2001), p. 13. 31 Within the archival record of the Guardaroba Medicea at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze, payments related to both the east corridor (gallery) and the west corridor (laboratories) fell under the jurisdiction of the Galleria. During Francesco’s reign, the records do not indicate that a distinction was made between the gallery and the workshops as separate administrative entities. 32 See Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 28, and M. de Montaigne, The Diary of Montaigne’s Journey to Italy in 1580 and 1581 (New York, 1929), p. 109. 33 P. Findlen, Possessing Nature: Museums, collecting, and scientific culture in early modern Italy (Berkeley, 1994), p. 23. For Gussoni’s complete report on Francesco’s activities at the Casino, see Berti, op. cit. (note 10), pp. 57–8. 34 M. Hollingsworth, Patronage in 16th Century Italy (London, 1996), p. 274. 35 C. Duncan, Civilizing Rituals: Inside public art museums (London, 1995), p. 8. 36 A 1589 inventory of the Tribuna is the earliest account of objects within the space; although Bocchi’s account is slightly later, it deals with the entire museum. For more on the 1589 inventory, see A. Conti, ‘Alle origine della galleria’, in Paola Barocchi (ed.), Palazzo Vecchio: committenza e collezionismo medicei (Florence, 1980), p. 247. 37 Turpin, op. cit. (note 5), p. 85. Her essay addresses the contents of the Tribuna and their relationship to Medici taste and influence. 38 F. Bocchi, The Beauties of the City of Florence: A guidebook of 1591 (London, 2006), p. 71. Original Italian, from Francesco Bocchi, Le bellezze della città di Firenze, dove a pieno di pittvra, di scvltvra, di sacri templi, di palazzi, i più notabili artifizj, e più preziosi si contengono (Florence, 1677), 56: ‘Hora, perche grande è l’appetite nell’huomo di pascersi della vista di lavori prodotto da ingegni così nobili, così sublimi, dal Gran Duca è permesso a’ ministri, che hanno cura di queste cose, che a chi vuol vedere siano cortesi; onde, come al trvi pare attentamente le confideri. Con miglior commodo si veggono queste figure in Galleria, che se nelle publiche piazze fossero collocate; peroche fuori da venti, da acque sarebbono maculate, ma qui con maniera conforme a somma cortesia ad hora, ad hora si possono vedere. Fup pensioer pieno di lode, e di honore già ne gli Imperadori, e ne’ gentil’huomini Romani: i quali temendo di non esse restimati searsi, e quali invidiosi, se dentro le private mura senza più i maravigliosi artifizii di pittura, e di statue havessero tenuti, in luogo publico a commodo altrui gli collocarono. Et tra questi M. Agrippa fu si caldo in questo avviso, che fece una orazione piena di gravi sentimenti, perche tutti le pitture e tutte le statue fossero poste in luogo publico. Hora queste della Galleria con somma cura sono guardate da polvere, da venti, da acque, e conservate pulitamente sono vedute, e quasi fatte publiche ad ogni tempo, che altri di pascer l’occhio di così preziosi artifizii chiede cortesemente.’ 39 D. Wilson, The British Museum: A history (London, 2002), p. 35. 40 Findlen, op. cit. (note 3), p. 36. 41 J. Collins, ‘Museo Pio-Clementino’, in C. Paul (ed.), The First Modern Museums of Art: The birth of an institution in 18th and early 19th century Europe (Los Angeles, 2012), p. 115. For more on the sixteenth-century shift towards the use of ‘galleria’ and ‘museo,’ see Findlen, op. cit. (note 3.) 42 For more on the Medici theatre, see Turpin, op. cit. (note 5.) 43 Findlen, op. cit. (note 3), p. 36. 44 Ibid., p. 36. 45 Collins, op. cit. (note 43), p. 115. 46 K. W. Christian, Empire without End: Antiquities collections in Rome, 1350–1527 (New Haven, 2010), p. 199. 47 Like the Uffizi Tribuna, the Belvedere is an eight-sided space; however, due to its proportions, the Belvedere appears to visitors much more like a circular courtyard than does the Tribuna with its equidistant sides. I suspect that the Belvedere’s octagonal shape has more to do with ease of construction (as compared with the difficulty of creating a truly round space) than with a design decision to adopt an octagonal shape. 48 J. Collins, op. cit. (note 43), p. 116. 49 Christian, op. cit. (note 46), p. 203. 50 Ibid. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of Collections Oxford University Press

Francesco I’s museum: Cultural politics at the Galleria degli Uffizi

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Abstract

Abstract This article examines the collecting practices of Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici (1541–1587), focusing on the shift from smaller, more private spaces (exemplified by his Palazzo Vecchio studiolo) to the larger, more open site of display of the Galleria degli Uffizi, founded by Francesco in 1583. Offering political interpretations of spaces of collecting and display previously deemed entirely personal, the author argues against the traditional historical view of Francesco I as a withdrawn and apolitical figure by presenting these spaces as exemplars of his nuanced approach to assertions of authority, expressing the political through the cultural. Why would someone spend great time, energy, and resources creating a magnificent space, only to seemingly abandon it a few years later? The room with which this question begins is the studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici (1541–1587), 2nd Grand Duke of Tuscany, who ruled Florence as Prince Regent from 1564 and as Grand Duke beginning in 1574. Francesco commissioned the space to store and organize his collection of works of art, texts, and exotica, which reflected contemporary avant-garde scientific processes of transformation, including alchemy and medicine. And yet, although he spent five years and significant resources creating this beautiful room, within a decade, he transferred objects from his studiolo to the Galleria degli Uffizi, which he created in 1583.1 A distinctly new institution now framed the works of art, one that served the political needs of the Grand Duke more effectively than had his small, almost exclusively private studiolo. This article explores this transition from studiolo to galleria as the primary site of display utilized by Francesco I, offering a new perspective on the establishment of this important museum that emphasizes the political function of collecting for the Grand Duke. While Francesco’s collecting and display practices, particularly as pertain to his magnificent Palazzo Vecchio studiolo, have been studied by scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, they have consistently been considered apart from his political rule. In a similar way, his well-known and extensive scientific and alchemical experimentation has traditionally been viewed as a hobby, and in fact one that perhaps distracted him from his political duties. Here it is argued that these activities, which have for so long been viewed as ‘extra-curricular,’ were instead part and parcel of Francesco’s expression of political authority. Turning away from traditional, overt assertions of authority, Francesco utilized cultural markers of power, access, and wealth to communicate his right to rule. While scholars have consistently split these activities (including his scientific experimentation and collecting) away from his rule,2 this division is both artificial and modern, as Francesco and his contemporaries understood his acquisition and display of beautiful, unusual, and expensive works of art and his investigations into the laws of natural science as activities both befitting an early modern ruler and supporting his rule. The Galleria degli Uffizi, displaying the famous Medici collection of art and antiquities in an impressive new gallery space, is perhaps the clearest indication of Francesco’s engagement with cultural politics as a site at which the Grand Duke could communicate messages of authority directly to visiting dignitaries and one that could to some extent speak for the Grand Duke. In the themes of its collections and its ownership by an élite – in this case, ruling – collector, the early Uffizi was not dramatically different from other examples of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century museums; however, the particular circumstances of the transfer of Francesco’s locus of collecting from the small and personal studiolo to the much larger and more directly politically-functioning Uffizi marks the change as significant. The fact that within a space of roughly eight years, a single person chose to alter the scale of his primary site for the display of a collection so dramatically and changed the parameters of access to it alerts us to the early Uffizi’s importance as a moment of transition, even emergence, of a new museological sensibility at the close of the Renaissance. Francesco’s awareness of and contribution to cinquecento collecting and display trends is revealed in correspondences between his gallery and other early modern musei and gallerie,3 such as Pope Julius II’s Belvedere in Rome or Vincenzo Gonzaga’s Galleria della Mostra in Mantua. This moment of transition in Medici collecting crystallizes within one collector’s career two trends emerging among European élites – a move towards increasingly accessible collections, and, more broadly, an increasing expectation that rulers would fundamentally engage with culture as part of their expression of political authority. It is Francesco’s participation in and contributions to these dual trends in the use of collected objects and spaces of display that make the early Galleria degli Uffizi an important subject of study for s cholars studying both the development of the museum in the early modern period and for historians seeking to understand how political authority was communicated through methods other than traditional expressions of military power, whether physical or representational. Understanding the Uffizi’s role in the early history of museums illuminates both its own importance and that of its creator, a perspective on Francesco that deviates from the traditional image of him as a hermit prince secluded in his private studiolo. While recent scholarship, such as that of Valentina Conticelli, has begun to place Francesco and his interests, previously viewed as hobbies or even distractions, within the wider context of early modern science and e pistemology, Francesco’s museological efforts have yet to receive such consideration. Conticelli considers the space through the lens of Francesco’s scientific interests, especially alchemy. While she, like many scholars working on the studiolo (and in this respect the present author differs markedly from her scholarly predecessors) prioritizes re-assessing the current arrangement of the paintings within the space,4 her text remains very useful for understanding Francesco’s circle of intellectual advisers and the way in which that epistemological background contributed to the appearance of the studiolo. However, she and others, such as the contributors to the 2013 volume on the recently-restored Tribuna (which naturally addressed only the central showroom of the gallery, whereas here the museum is considered as a whole), still do not acknowledge the political functions of these spaces and activities, keeping them artificially divorced from Francesco’s political rule.5 This article seeks to undo this separation, arguing that rather than acting as distractions or pastimes for the Grand Duke, scientific experimentation and, as at the Uffizi, the exhibition of his impressive collection in fact underscored Francesco’s political authority by quite literally displaying his right to rule. Evincing the discernment, taste, access and – above all – financial power of the Medici family, the nascent gallery served as cultural testimony to Francesco’s authority as Grand Duke. Among art historians, Francesco is best known for his magnificently decorated Palazzo Vecchio studiolo (Fig. 1). As the origin of the moment of museological transition under consideration, from studiolo to galleria, we must understand how this space looked and functioned, since much of the meaning of Francesco’s establishment of the Uffizi becomes most readily apparent in its difference to the earlier studiolo. Although they were not opposites, sharing as they did a similar focus on objects and works of art that celebrated creativity, we can productively think of the two spaces as foils. Although something of a simplification, such a relationship highlights to what a degree the Galleria degli Uffizi constituted a conscious change in display strategy for Francesco, turning from a fundamentally closed space to one more generally characterized by openness. Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide The studiolo of Francesco I, 1570–1575 (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide The studiolo of Francesco I, 1570–1575 (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Serving for Francesco as both a personal retreat and as a statement of political authority, the studiolo celebrated Nature’s inventive capacities. Decorated cabinets contained the tangible results of nature’s productive abilities in the form of wondrous materials, including metals, corals, and multi-coloured marbles, further refined by mankind’s skills into even more beautiful objects. The paintings within the space likewise glorified production, depicting the mythological origins of natural materials, such as coral and ambergris, and contemporary Tuscan industries that harnessed or manipulated such materials, such as mining and goldsmithing. The human figures represented in the room’s paintings, both on the cabinet doors and in the register above, work to discover new technologies and apply those forces towards creation, reflecting Francesco’s interest in natural philosophy and the studiolo as a site for the contemplation of the earth’s productive capabilities. Not only do the paintings celebrate Nature’s powers of creation, such as in Girolamo’s Macchietti’s The Baths of Pozzuoli, where natural minerals provide curative benefits, but, even more frequently, celebrate the ability of humans to adapt Nature’s creations for their own use. The ceiling of the studiolo features allegorical depictions of the four humors around a central panel depicting Prometheus Handing Nature a Piece of Quartz by Francesco Morandini, known as Il Poppi (see Fig. 1), likewise in celebration of nature’s inventiveness. The decorations of the ceiling mark Francesco’s ownership of the space through the inclusion of his personal imprese, the weasel with a laurel branch and the motto amat victoria curam, ‘Victory loves care.’ The two roundel portraits visible on the east and west walls of the studiolo are those of Cosimo I and Eleonora di Toledo, Francesco’s parents. Attribution of the portraits is contested but probably falls within the circle of Bronzino, if not by the master himself.6 While no independent portraits of the prince appear in the space, Francesco does feature in two paintings as an observer or participant in the workings at the Casino di San Marco, the grand-ducal workshop and laboratory building located in Piazza San Marco. In Giovanni Maria Butteri’s La Vetreria, Francesco inspects the glassware produced on site, and in Giovanni Stradano’s Gli Alchimisti, Francesco appears in a remarkably casual image, intently engaging in alchemical research with his shirtsleeves rolled up. Finally, niches set into the corners of the room displayed eight bronze statuettes depicting gods and goddesses associated with the elements, such as Giambologna’s Apollo (Fig. 2) representing air. Six of these statues were transferred to the Uffizi’s Tribuna by October 1586.7 Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Giambologna, Apollo, c.1570–75, bronze (studiolo of Francesco I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Giambologna, Apollo, c.1570–75, bronze (studiolo of Francesco I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) – by concession of Musei Civici Fiorentini. Reflecting Renaissance prescriptions for good governance, such as those offered by Giambattista della Porta and Baldassare Castiglione, the studiolo demonstrated Francesco’s participation in activities befitting a learned ruler. For example, in his guidebook to experimentation entitled Natural Magic (1580), della Porta argues for the epistemological necessity of conducting scientific experiments. He believed that the knowledge gained through such experiments would give the prince a better understanding of the cosmos, making him more capable when it came to ruling his kingdom. To paraphrase della Porta, a ruler must understand the whole to know his own part.8 Not only did Francesco engage in such experimentation, but the products of some of his experiments, including rock crystal, medicines and mysterious liquids, were displayed within the studiolo,9 linking the active and contemplative modes in pursuit of Castiglione’s ideal balance. Castiglione wrote in Book iv of Il Cortegiano (1528) that a prince should not only strive for the Renaissance ideal of balance between the vita activa and vita contemplativa, but that he should place greater emphasis on the contemplative because of the consequences of his decisions as a ruler. Francesco’s experiments with alchemy and the mechanical arts were well known across Europe;10 Francesco di Vieri, known as Verino Secondo, even dedicated an alchemical treatise to the grand duke.11 With much of his time spent in active experimentation at the Casino, perhaps Francesco devoted such expense to his studiolo in an effort to balance his princely scale. Francesco would have entered the darkened space to examine his precious objects and to consider his knowledge of the world around him in solitude, as – with only a few exceptions – he prevented anyone but himself from entering the room. Scholars believe that a single desk (sometimes also somewhat confusingly referred to as a ‘studiolo’) was the only furniture in the space, reflecting not only the modest dimensions of the room but its use by the prince alone. Francesco fully adopted the privacy associated with many Renaissance studioli, reflecting their association with the gentlemanly virtues of study and contemplation. Pertinent to understanding the balance between privacy and sociability in Francesco’s studiolo, some evidence suggests that on rare occasions, Francesco did invite distinguished guests into his studiolo.12 In 1576, Andrea Gussoni, Venetian ambassador to Florence, reported that he visited the Palazzo Vecchio and, accompanied by Francesco, saw, among other things, . . . two of his small rooms, which are never entered, only rarely by the secretaries; one of which had all the far-fetched oils and waters of [Francesco’s] which are made for various medical purposes; in the other, a very great amount of very excellent artificial things, or natural rarities, or noble and famous antiquities such as works of sculpture, painting, and miniatures, rare stones, medals and similar things, gathered already with great expense . . . where with great familiarity [Francesco] picks up the objects with his own hand from where they are placed and hands them to me so that I can see them – we laboured as such for over an hour.13 Gussoni’s description of the objects on display within these two spaces (the other room most likely being the Tesoretto, directly connected to the studiolo via a passageway and also used to store precious objects) reflects the types of objects mentioned in the single known inventory of the room, taken in June 1574 after Cosimo I’s death.14 Gussoni conveys the prince’s personal delight with his collected objects and the pleasure of discussing their materials and characteristics by mentioning Francesco lifting objects out of their specified location to show his visitor more closely. Thus, it seems, Francesco’s deeply personal studiolo was on occasion transformed into a site of erudite sociability and diplomatic exchange. While he may personally have enjoyed spending time discussing his collection with a learned colleague, Francesco was also certainly aware that the demonstration of wealth and access to knowledge that his collection represented would make considerable impact upon the Venetian ambassador, who would, of course, report back his impressions to La Serenissima, reinforcing Florence’s position as a formidable power and attractive ally. At such a moment, Francesco’s use of the space as a cultural expression of his political power was at its most potent, as the primary associations of scientific knowledge and artistic fecundity represented by the studiolo as a personal space of contemplation served as a vehicle for the communication of political authority. However, as a small space located adjacent to the Grand Duke’s personal quarters, the studiolo had its limitations as a political space. Roughly eight years after its completion, perhaps frustrated by the space’s inability to communicate its messages of political authority directly to an appropriately-sized audience of his peers, Francesco shifted his collecting attentions away from the small, very private studiolo to a new creation, the Galleria degli Uffizi. Now grand duke rather than crown prince, Francesco required a larger stage upon which to perform the nuanced cultural politics that characterize his reign. His gallery at the Uffizi established important precedents for the newly emerging institution of the museum, both in form and function. Likewise, Francesco’s princely gallery contributed to changing expectations in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries of what constituted a ruler’s proper engagement with culture. Francesco chose the pre-existing Uffizi building as the site of his new gallery. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi is located between the Piazza della Signoria and the northern shore of the Arno river, directly adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio (Fig. 3.) Construction took place in the 1560s-70s and was completed by 1581. Cosimo I originally commissioned the structure to serve as an administrative building, housing the bureaucracy of his ever-expanding Tuscan state. He desired a centralized building to contain the offices (uffici) of the state located close to the heart of the government at the Palazzo Vecchio, allowing the 1st grand duke symbolically, and perhaps quite literally, to keep an eye on state activities. Lisa Kaborycha describes the Uffizi as a ‘visual representation of the power concentrated under Cosimo’s rule’,15 a potent symbol of civic life continually monitored by Medici authority. Along with offices for a number of the city’s guilds, the building also housed some of Florence’s courts and was occasionally referred to as ‘i Magistrati’, reflecting those judicial occupants. The building’s potency as a symbolic embodiment of Cosimo’s authority was bolstered by the fact that the ducal militia was also headquartered at the Uffizi. After the construction of the Vasari Corridor in 1565, ostensibly in celebration of Francesco’s marriage that year to Giovanna d’Austria, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi were physically linked, connected as well to Cosimo’s new residence, the Palazzo Pitti across the Arno. The grand dukes could now move quickly and safely between all major governmental buildings, increasing their watchful symbolic observation over bureaucracy and judiciary. Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Giorgio Vasri, Gli Uffizi (view looking south), 1560–81 (Florence). Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Giorgio Vasri, Gli Uffizi (view looking south), 1560–81 (Florence). The building’s function as a symbol of political authority carried over when Francesco chose the second floor of the Uffizi as the site of his new gallery. Beginning in late 1582 or early 1583, he initiated a project to reorganize and redecorate the second floor of the building as a museum or galleria.16 These efforts concentrated on the east corridor of the second floor, which appears as the right arm of the U-shaped Uffizi building as seen in Fig. 3. The original gallery occupied the southern end of the east corridor and approximately seven rooms adjacent to it.17 With rooms arranged in a linear fashion along a spine through which visitors could move fluidly, the plan of the original Uffizi organized the collection in a space that anticipates that of the modern museum. Although this arrangement was determined in part due to the pre-existing shape of the Uffizi office building, the building’s plan was not changed when the space was re-designed as an art gallery, except for the addition of a dome to the Tribuna, the gallery’s showpiece octagonal gallery. While the objects originally displayed within the Galleria degli Uffizi can no longer be identified, having undergone many rearrangements, some of the frescoed ceilings that decorate the main corridor and its adjacent galleries depict objects that parallel Francesco’s collecting preferences and could indicate what sorts of objects were originally placed in these spaces. For example, modern-day room 17, adjacent to the north side of the Tribuna, features a ceiling decorated with putti holding scientific objects such as scales and astrolabes; small vignettes depict technological operations such as pulling ashore a ship run aground. It does not seem unlikely that this room displayed scientific objects such as those depicted on its frescoed ceiling. Such objects would certainly have been intriguing and delightful to Francesco, who spent many hours experimenting in his own laboratories at the Casino di San Marco as a devoted natural philosopher and alchemist, where he utilized similar objects. Likewise, room 23’s ceiling depicts artisans at work on objects including swords, cannon, and barrels; details including putti lounging with piles of armour and elaborate vases emphasize objects made of metals. Given the evidence of the recently-discovered inventory of Francesco’s Palazzo Vecchio studiolo, which included weaponry, it seems logical that this room could have been used to display similar objects, perhaps even items transferred directly from the studiolo.18 Luciano Berti, former director of the Galleria degli Uffizi and one of the first modern art historians to seriously study Francesco I de’ Medici, believed that ‘antique and modern weapons from every country’19 were displayed in this room, bringing to mind the examples of Turkish and Hungarian scimitars listed in the studiolo inventory.20 The metallic nature of the objects, requiring that natural materials be transformed through the heat of the forge, ensured their fascination for Francesco as objects created through scientific chemical processes. However, not all of these rooms feature frescos that could conceivably have corresponded to the objects displayed within them, making the representations less likely direct markers of the rooms’ uses and more generally reflective of Francesco’s identity and interests, reinforcing the personal and political meanings of the early Uffizi. Room 20 features grotesque decorations and trompe l’oeil cameos featuring surrounding cityscapes of Florence’s major piazze. Room 21 features ceiling decorations with battle scenes,21 including one that features the Medici palle on a flag and two that appear to depict battles between Europeans and exotic peoples, subjects that surely would have fascinated Francesco as a natural philosopher who commissioned his agents to travel as far as Japan and India to collect information about foreign peoples and climes. Room 22 also features battle scenes. Room 19’s ceiling is filled with allegorical figures and imprese with mottos of famous Medici leaders, such as Cosimo’s turtle and Francesco’s fox insignia and features a central scene of apotheosis. The ceiling decorations are flanked by historical scenes of military power, such as Alexander’s decisive crossing at the Hydaspes River, while the lateral images depict scenes of rulers invested with symbols of political authority, including crowns, an ermine-trimmed cloak, and a sceptre decorated with Florence’s lily. These decorations endeavour to proclaim Medici and Florentine political and military power more explicitly than by obliquely gesturing towards the individual objects or works of art displayed within the rooms, reflecting the early Uffizi’s function not only as a personal retreat for Francesco but more importantly as an institutional marker of the dynasty’s entrée into the realm of cultural politics. When diplomats or distinguished visitors toured the gallery, the early museum served as a silent but powerful testament to the dynasty’s wealth and cultural prestige. These decorations, taken as a whole, can be understood as a pointed visual reminder of the message of political prowess that one was intended to receive while visiting the museum. If a visitor somehow missed the message projected by the enormously expensive and rare collection, the frescos would make the point. At the same time, they served as works of art in their own right, aesthetically complementing the impressive collection displayed beneath. Political statements and examples of artistic skill, the ceiling frescos embody the simultaneity of the dualistic nature of the early Uffizi, conveying the political through an ambiguous site of collecting and display. Like the studiolo, which functioned simultaneously as both a personal retreat for contemplation and to assert the knowledge and reach required to rule, the Galleria degli Uffizi’s meaning was produced through its dual status as a cultural and political space. As a more open site of display where visitors could personally view the works, the Uffizi was more transparent than the studiolo and more successful at utilizing cultural forms to assert political authority. The new galleria, as a site ostensibly devoted to the appreciation of natural and human productive capacities, as was the studiolo, to a degree camouflaged its political meaning, making it all the more effective in that visitors were invited to draw their own conclusions regarding the taste, knowledge, and legacy of Francesco and his Medici forebears. Of course, these conclusions were foregone, as the gallery’s very purpose was to communicate political messages regarding Francesco’s right to rule. While the display of authority was of primary interest for Francesco and directly related to his collecting and display choices, the audience at which these efforts were directed remains important as the process of communicating that message employed contemporary philosophical and scientific knowledge synchronically with the fine arts. Rather than forcefully trying to impress an understanding of political power upon the general populace, the Uffizi in its initial conception served as a more complex union of authority and culture that spoke primarily to dignitaries, scholars, scientists, and rulers -- in short, Francesco’s peers. For all the Uffizi’s meaning as a symbol of Medici wealth, taste, and influence, on a quotidian basis, the museum served as a space of personal pleasure for Francesco. Although visitors, including dignitaries and possibly even artists, were granted access, the museum was still far from public in our modern sense, and on most days, would have received no visitors. Francesco appears personally to have utilized the gallery as a place of contemplation. Simone Fortuna, Florentine agent to the Duke of Urbino,22 records that on one occasion, Francesco even caught a cold from spending too much time in the new gallery.23 However, from its inception, the Uffizi appears to have been utilized as a potent opportunity for the communication of authority through culture. The earliest reference to the new gallery by a contemporary source comes from a letter sent to Francesca Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, by Simone Fortuna, shedding light on Francesco’s use of the gallery in diplomatic relations from its earliest days. Fortuna’s letter, dated 21 April 1584, describes the festivities celebrating the marriage of Vincenzo Gonzaga, prince of Mantua, to Eleonora de’ Medici, Francesco’s eldest child. According to Fortuna, Vincenzo Gonzaga (‘il principe’) arrived in Florence on Tuesday, 17 April, and was received by Francesco and other members of the court in the Palazzo Vecchio. On the following day, Fortuna records that ‘it was fully 9 a.m. before the table was laid [for breakfast], and in that time the prince had seen the galleries and many delights that the Grand Duke had newly created, and he had also practised shooting the musket and crossbow at the cornices of the campanile, in which Sua Altezza [Grand Duke Francesco] took much delight.’24 Fortuna refers to the galleria as a recent creation of Francesco’s, a description supported by archival evidence suggesting that the gallery was officially created as an institution in March of 1583,25 roughly a year before Vincenzo Gonzaga’s stay in Florence. Fortuna’s letter also records that, after the initial public greeting and dinner at the prince’s arrival, his visit to the galleria was the first activity of his stay. In other words, the gallery was a top sight. The rest of the activities listed during the prince’s stay, including a calcio match,26 a ceremonial mass,27 and an evening of singing and dancing,28 were presumably arranged and organized according to the wishes of the host. One can assume, then, that the visit to the galleria was also Francesco’s idea. We should not be surprised to find the Grand Duke eager to show off his new creation; no doubt it impressed the future Duke of Mantua, who during his reign would support major names in the arts and sciences, including Claudio Monteverdi, Peter Paul Rubens, and Giovanni Antonio Magini. Perhaps not coincidentally, Vincenzo Gonzaga would also later create his own princely gallery, the Galleria della Mostra in Manta’s Palazzo Ducale.29 The impressive nature of the Uffizi galleria, an entire floor devoted to the display of the best of the Medici collection, made it a powerful diplomatic tool. With the opportunity to show his future son-in-law the beautiful works of art, Francesco exposed the young prince to the powerful associations of financial, political, and dynastic strength associated with such a site of display. The location of the new museum at the Uffizi reflects its position within a constellation of activities and sites related to Francesco’s princely pursuits. As he constructed the art gallery in the Uffizi’s east corridor, the west corridor was equally transformed to accommodate many of the laboratories and workshops previously located at the Casino di San Marco.30 Sometimes referred to collectively as the Fonderia (foundry),31 these workshops included not only metallurgical ones but also pharmacological laboratories and art workshops. By relocating these from the Casino di San Marco, located at the Piazza San Marco on the other side of the city from the Palazzo Vecchio, Francesco was not seeking to escape his duties as ruler, as many scholars have suggested, but instead created a centralized arts-and-science complex close to his residence and the seat of government. Contemporary commentators on the prince, including Fortuna and French essayist Michel de Montaigne, noted that Francesco spent many hours each week working at the Casino di San Marco.32 Francesco even conducted state business from within his laboratories; in 1576 Andrea Gussoni observed that he [Francesco] spends almost all of his time in a place they call the casino . . . but nevertheless he intersperses . . . negotiations with secretaries regarding affairs of state, also expediting many requests for mercy as well as justice, in such a manner that he mixes pleasure with business, and business with pleasure.33 Knowing that he would continue to spend considerable time in these workshops, Francesco’s decision to move them adjacent to – in fact, connected to – the governmental palace reflects his commitment to his role as grand duke rather than a desire to shirk his responsibilities. Mary Hollingsworth thoughtfully observes that Francesco concentrated his commissions within buildings located at the very heart of his political authority, the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, and the Uffizi34 – locations that formed a nucleus of political power in Florence. Since the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio in the early thirteenth century, this area of the city had been associated with government, and Francesco’s focus on it for sites of display reinforced these longstanding connotations, just as his selection of the Uffizi, located in this precinct and carrying its own authoritative associations, demonstrated his awareness of the symbolic power of site. The location of Francesco’s sites of collecting in Florence’s governmental square shows that they were meant to do more than simply amuse the prince. The liminality of many of these structures, including the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, which defy clear distinctions between personal, private, domestic, and governmental through their mixed use and physical connection, enhance the powerful multivalence of Francesco’s commission, intentionally blurring the line between personal and political. The Uffizi as a political tool epitomizes Francesco’s approach to the communication of authority, using cultural forms that employed contemporary scientific knowledge synchronically with the fine arts to demonstrate his fitness to rule. Guests passing through the galleries, sometimes accompanied and guided by Francesco himself, could marvel at the spectacular objects on display and consider their rarity and value. The assertion of power, both financial and political, that the acquisition of such a collection made was all the more subtle for its expression through cultural forms. Seeing for themselves the scale of the Medici collection, the gravitas of its ancient fragments and the dazzle of its jewels, visitors to the Galleria degli Uffizi came to believe in Medici might and power through their own experience. Carol Duncan observes the ‘ideological force of a cultural experience that claims for its truths the status of objective knowledge’,35 reflecting the power of the museological institution to frame its political messages as objective fact. Francesco’s harnessing of his political claims to the individual experience of culture would remain one of his most important legacies, a subtle but important shift in the centuries-long Medici approach to utilizing art to assert political power. Rather than being told about Medici authority through images of traditional military power, such as Vasari’s grand fresco cycle in the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio, the visitor would come to that conclusion seemingly through his own mental processes, a far more effective and even insidious process. Some evidence suggests that the Galleria degli Uffizi was accessible to those who requested access. In his 1591 guidebook, The Beauties of the City of Florence, Francesco Bocchi describes the gallery as open to ‘those who wanted to’ see the objects. Bocchi, a minor literary figure, served as agent for Francesco’s brother and successor Ferdinando I (1549–1609), both in Rome during Ferdinando’s cardinalate and in Florence after his accession to the title of Grand Duke following Francesco’s death in 1587. His guidebook, in which he describes the physical beauty of the city as a manifestation of her virtù, features a lengthy description of the Uffizi. His extensive description of the gallery and its contents remains one of the earliest accounts of the museum’s arrangement and of specific objects on display.36 While Adriana Turpin has argued that the arrangement of the gallery under Ferdinando was probably similar to the original installation under Francesco,37 this author is unwilling to make such an assumption, as Bocchi’s book was published four years after Francesco’s death. Until archival evidence or a contemporary description outlining the arrangement of objects in the gallery before October 1587 emerges, we simply cannot be certain what specific works of art were displayed in the Uffizi. Bocchi’s account sheds light on the gallery’s appearance and accessibility in the early days of Ferdinando’s rule, although we cannot say what changes he may have made to the gallery’s original arrangement. After a lengthy description of the rooms of the museum and the objects displayed within, Bocchi completes his description of the Uffizi by describing the gallery as accessible to anyone who wishes to view the collection. Bocchi articulates this accessibility as a measure of Grand Duke Ferdinando’s enlightened rule: Since humankind has a great desire to enjoy the sight of the works produced by such noble and sublime intellects, the Grand Duke has permitted to the supervisors of these objects to accommodate those who want to see them. Thus one can view them as carefully [attentamente] as one pleases. In the Gallery one sees the figures more comfortably than in public squares. Outside they would be stained by wind and rain. Here, on the other hand, they are preserved in a clean state, and because of [the Grand Duke’s] most kind generosity one can, as a sophisticated pastime, view them from time to time. Already the emperors and the Roman nobles had this same praiseworthy and honourable idea. In order to escape the accusation of greed and jealousy for keeping the wonderful art works of painting and sculpture within their private houses, they placed them in public places for the benefit of others. Among them, Marcus Agrippa was so passionate in this respect that he delivered a very committed speech, demanding that all paintings and sculptures be exhibited in public. These works in the Gallery are most carefully protected from dust, wind, and water. Thus well preserved and clean, they can be viewed, and they are made public [fatte pubbliche] at almost all times, if someone courteously [cortesemente] asks to see these precious works of art.38 While Bocchi probably includes this remark about the accessibility and inherent liberality of the Galleria degli Uffizi primarily to propagate the image of Ferdinando as a cultured ruler, his description remains the earliest indication that the Uffizi was, at least within a decade of its construction, open to visitors beyond invited dignitaries. Bocchi’s passage indicates that the gallery was accessible, but that one had to request access rather than simply stroll in from the street or purchase a ticket at a window, reflecting the early modern usage of the word publiche (public) to indicate that the collection could be made open to visitors rather than open at all times. The nature of a request implies that it can be granted or denied; access to the Galleria degli Uffizi was not guaranteed. Bocchi’s language indicates that the notion of an accessible museum or collection in this period was still an emerging one, as his description alternates between emphasizing the access granted to visitors with reminders that such access was predicated upon their proper behaviour within the space. Although theoretically available to anyone who wished to see the works displayed within, the Uffizi remained, in Bocchi’s words, a space for deep [attentamente] contemplation of the works by those who had ‘courteously’ requested access. He describes such activity as a ‘sophisticated pastime’, one made accessible to those who possessed the skills and knowledge to engage with the works in their new site of display with the proper decorum. Indeed, as the gallery was only opened upon request, a potential visitor had to have the additional knowledge of where and how to make such a request, which Bocchi does not outline. Even while describing the accessibility of the space, Bocchi reinforces the early museum as a site of privilege; as physical access to the collection increased, there remained a continued emphasis on the user having the requisite education and background, connoting wealth and status. As such, Bocchi’s description of the early Galleria degli Uffizi records the fine line between accessibility and privilege that many early museums treaded. No doubt the increased openness of collections in this period brought new concerns to light that visitors to these formerly highly restricted sites might not engage with them in the proper manner. Such discomfort with the perceived dangers of accessibility in museums was not restricted to the early modern period but remained a present, and at times almost central, concern throughout the development of public museums. For example, David Wilson, former director of the British Museum, observes that even though the museum was opened to the public in 1759, its early highly restrictive conditions of access meant that only a circumscribed group of people were actually allowed into the museum, so much so that museum trustees ‘sometimes seemed as much concerned with keeping people away as allowing them access.’39 Such attempts to control visitor access and behaviour reaches even into the twenty-first century with debates over admission fees and the use of selfi sticks. Any consideration of the accessibility of early museums is complicated by the fact that the concept of the museum grew out of the tradition of the domestic studio, a space that, regardless of the varied iterations that it could assume, remained at heart inherently personal, and in many cases, private. The emergence in the early modern period of the museum as a separate and different entity from the private studiolo reflected to an extent a continuing tension between privacy and access. Paula Findlen observes that, for many centuries, the word museum was employed to suggest this notion of an exclusive or private space;40 she describes the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the crucial period in which the idea of the museum shifted from closed to open. The Uffizi, emerging at this critical moment of change, reflects the transitional and at times conflicting nature of more publicly-facing sites of collecting and display in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Just as in the case of the studiolo, linguistic specificity regarding the word museum (the Italian museo or Latin musaeum) did not exist in the period under consideration; to complicate matters, the word ‘museo’ was in this period used interchangeably with words connoting a private space, such as gabinetto/cabinet or studio. Jeffrey Collins asserts that the word also connoted any collection of rarities,41 whether natural specimens or art works. As was the case regarding so many collections in this period, such museums based on rarities ranged in their degree of accessibility. On the more public side, museo appears just as frequently as words such as teatro (theatre). This linguistic slippage is especially confusing in the case of the Uffizi, as in the late cinquecento a space designed by Bernardo Buontalenti and known as the Teatro Mediceo also existed on the second floor of the Uffizi, adjacent to the gallery.42 While no trace remains today (the main staircase used by tourists and newer galleries now occupy its general location), the existence of a theatre directly adjacent to the new art gallery demonstrates how early modern thought conceived of these two constructions as similar enterprises, appropriate to be placed in physical proximity. As the sixteenth century drew to a close, a new word increasingly became associated with sites of display that pushed the vacillating distinction between private and public in the direction of the latter – the galleria. Findlen describes the word galleria, connoting ‘a space through which one passed or visited, rather than the closed studio,’ as increasingly dominant in the seventeenth century.43 The use of the word galleria at the Uffizi not only anticipated this seicento development but in fact ensured it; the dictionaries of the Accademia della Crusca, first published in 1612, normalized the word as a space of collecting characterized by public access.44 That the Accademia della Crusca, an official group supported by the Medici Grand Dukes, including Francesco, understood a galleria as a public space reflects the more open character of the Galleria degli Uffizi, the galleria example par exellence for this Florentine linguistic academy. The notion of a public or publicly-accessible museum was, in the early modern period, an idea only beginning to emerge as sacred and secular authorities arranged their prized possessions in new spaces devoted to the display of collected objects that increasingly allowed for access, even if only to privileged individuals. The tension between the private collection and wider access to it that characterizes many, if not most, early modern iterations of the museum is especially apparent in the example of the Vatican Belvedere, established in 1503 by Pope Julius II with his decision to relocate the Apollo Belvedere (the name of which is derived from its new display location) from his personal residence to the new Vatican courtyard designed by Donato Bramante. By 1550 the collection of antiquities had grown to include the recently-discovered Laocoön, Knidian Venus, Commodus as Hercules, a bust of Antinous, and the Torso Belvedere, an impressive ‘nucleus of masterpieces that attracted visitors from throughout Europe’.45 According to Kathleen Wren Christian, ‘at the Belvedere, Bramante’s refined spiral staircase made the papal collection accessible to visitors and the extent of the collection’s fame suggests that aristocrats, artists, and any passing pilgrim could have entered to see its sculptures’,46 their entrance most likely requiring a coin slipped to the servants on duty. However, the physical characteristics of the site demonstrated discomfort with the notion of general access. Most overtly, the cortile featured a Virgilian inscription over its door that declared the space as one of privilege: ‘Begone, ye uninitiated.’ While this admonition could mean that one required only the requisite knowledge or taste to enter and appreciate the works displayed within, the relationship between education and the ability to receive it, connoting access, wealth, and status, results in this inscription suggesting that only a select few could be considered worthy of admission. The physical shape of the Belvedere, an enclosed octagonal courtyard,47 also reflects the sense of privacy built into the display site. An outdoor space with only one entrance, rather than a corridor or series of rooms through which one passes, implies a place of retreat and relative inaccessibility; Collins describes it as a hortus conclusus, a secret garden off-limits to the masses.48 By the late cinquecento, the Belvedere’s status as an increasingly enclosed space was reflected in a set of protective shutters installed in the 1560s,49 further restricting visual access to the cortile and its ancient sculptures. That the concept of the museum increasingly moved towards a more open and sociable (if not outright diplomatic) one in the late Renaissance is reflected in Pope Sixtus V’s unfulfilled plans to dismantle the entire structure in the years around 1585-1590,50 shortly after the Uffizi’s construction. In short, the Belvedere no longer served his needs. The quasi-circular shape and enclosed nature of the cortile had by this time fallen out of fashion, indicating Francesco’s awareness of and even direct contribution to changing tastes regarding the appearance of sites of display. The Belvedere’s shape stands in contrast to the Uffizi’s corridor-based structure, which conformed to visual preferences by facilitating use of the gallery as a place for demonstrating political values through cultural forms to an audience moving through the space rather than dwelling within in contemplation. Nonetheless, the tension inherent in a space that disturbs a simple public/private binary, built as a restricted space of delectation but ostensibly accessible, is reflected at the Uffizi, along with the Belvedere and other early modern iterations of the museum. Bookended by Cosimo I’s imperial model for using arts for political ends – a more direct approach typified by commissioned works of art depicting military victories or other traditional expressions of authority – and a seicento courtly world view that more fully expected the use of cultural forms as weapons in a ruler’s arsenal equally powerful to military strength (as at the quintessential example of Versailles), Francesco’s cultural politics and museological choices are important moments of transition. Turning away from a mechanistic utilization of the arts towards a more flexible and inclusive model based on the role of art and early modern science in the production of knowledge and power, Francesco’s display choices established important museological precedents and turned the political use of art in a new direction, one that would steadily continue towards its ultimate apogee in France at the turn of the next century. Recognizing and normalizing Francesco’s use of cultural politics allows historians to better contextualize and identify how and when the traditional Renaissance relationship between art and politics began to shift into a more fluid seventeenth century model, in which comprehensive engagement with the arts had become a fundamental expectation of rulers. Francesco’s brand of non-assertive, personal politics broke to a degree with the traditional paradigm established for Renaissance rulers, which may explain why scholars have hitherto not recognized the political meanings behind his display strategies. Looking beyond any perceived emptiness in the rhetoric of display, this article reveals Francesco’s use of the arts and early modern science as agents in a more nuanced projection of power through the expression of the privilege of élites bound up in collecting. As the visitor walked the corridor and viewed the hooks of art in the Galleria degli Uffizi, the objects themselves announced the expense, taste, and influence necessary for their acquisition by the Medici. The visitor would then himself draw the conclusion that the grand dukes must be powerful authority figures if they could amass, display, and demonstrate such wealth and influence. Rather than personally asserting his power, Francesco allowed the collection displayed within the gallery to do it for him. With the objects quietly but continuously serving as reminders of the family’s position, visitors to the museum would perceive Francesco’s authority as an evident, objective fact, demonstrated by the collection itself and thus eliminating the need for overt and potentially desperate proclamations of the right to rule. The foundation of the Galleria degli Uffizi in 1583 marks an important moment in the institutionalization of collecting, as works of art and objects previously defined as the private property of their princely owner were now framed by an institution understood as the museum. That this museum remained under the control of the prince demonstrates the emerging nature of the concept of the museum in the late cinquecento; it would be nearly a century before the opening of a truly public museum (the Ashmolean in Oxford, 6 June 1684), accessible to anyone able to purchase a ticket, and centuries before the full transfer of a formerly-princely collection into a public institution (typified by the forced conversion of the Louvre from a royal palace to a public art museum at the end of the eighteenth century.) Nonetheless, the Galleria degli Uffizi remains a foundational early moment in this history, one in which we can document the institutional birth of the museum in the archival record. More importantly, Francesco’s interventions at the Uffizi, shifting the focus of his collecting activities from the restricted site of the studiolo to the more public-facing Galleria degli Uffizi, places him at the forefront of changes in the spatial arrangement and accessibility of museums as the sixteenth century gve way to the seventeenth. That this particular museum still exists today perhaps has made its early decades more invisible, as we take for granted a cultural landmark that we cannot imagine Florence or Italy without. Acknowledgments This publication is based on a paper presented at the Renaissance Society of America 2016 meeting and addresses the central argument of the author’s 2016 dissertation for Boston University, entitled ‘From Studiolo to Uffizi: Sites of Collecting and Display under Francesco I de’ Medici.’ My thanks to Jodi Cranston and Naomi Slipp for their help in preparing the article, and to Liana di Girolami Cheney for inviting me to speak on her panel. Notes and references Footnotes 1 Scholarly consensus has assumed that Francesco did not continue to use his studiolo as before, and some, including Larry Feinberg and Scott Schaefer, suggest that he may even have disassembled it, although I suspect that he continued to employ it as a contemplative space. More archival research is required to settle this question. See S. Schaefer, ‘The Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence’, Ph.D. diss. (Bryn Mawr College, 1976), p. 463; K. V. Edwards, ‘Rethinking the Installation of the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio’, Ph.D. diss. (Case Western Reserve University, 2007), p. 41; and E. Hooper-Greenhill, Museums and the Shaping ofKnowledge (London, 1992), p. 106. 2 As recently as 2013, the collection of essays in honour of the Tribuna’s recent restoration, La Tribuna del Principe: storia, contesto, restauro, ed. Antonio Natali, Alessandro Nova and Massimiliano Rossi (Florence, 2013) does not address motivations behind or possible political functions of the space. 3 For more on the linguistic flexibility between the words ‘museum’ and ‘gallery,’ see N. Pevsner, A History of Building Types (Princeton, nj, 1979), p. 112, and P. Findlen, ‘The museum: Its classical etymology and Renaissance genealogy’, Journal of the History of Collections 1 (1989), pp. 59–78. 4 Valentina Conticelli, ‘Guardaroba di cose rare et preziose’: lo studiolo di Francesco I de’ Medici: arte, storia e significati (Lugano, 2007). 5 Giuseppe Olmi is one scholar who does interpret the museum politically, stating that the Tribuna’s display of art ‘had constantly to be exposed to the eyes of all and to be strongly impressed on the mind of every subject.’ However, certainly only a very limited number of individuals were granted access to the museum in its first few decades. G. Olmi, ‘Science – Honour – Metaphor: Italian cabinets of the 16th and 17th centuries’, in O. Impey and A. MacGregor (eds), The Origins of Museums: The cabinet of curiosities in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe (Oxford, 1985), p. 10. Olmi’s overly-generalized view of Francesco’s motivations for creating the gallery reflects the traditional notion of the Medici grand dukes as despots, concerned only with enhancing their power through unsophisticated methods. Adriana Turpin also considers some political motivations in ‘The display of exotica in the Uffizi Tribuna’, in A. Turpin, S. Bracken and A. Gáldy (eds), Collecting East and West (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2013), pp. 83–117; however, she focuses exclusively on the Tribuna, rather than considering the museum as a whole. 6 See J. Cox-Rearick, Dynasty and Destiny in Medici Art: Pontormo, Leo X, and the Two Cosimos (Princeton, nj, 1984), p. 283, and Edwards, op. cit. (note 1), p. 66. 7 L. Feinberg, ‘The Studiolo of Francesco I reconsidered,’ in C. Acidini Luchinat (ed.), The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence (New Haven, 2002), p. 48, and V. Conticelli, ‘Guardaroba di Cose Rare et Preziose: Lo studiolo di Francesco I de’ Medici - arte, storia e significati (Lugano, 2007), p. 65. 8 Schaefer, op. cit. (note 1), p. 234. 9 See L. Alberts, ‘The studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici: a recently-found inventory,’ Art Histories Supplement 2.0 1 (2015), pp. 9–10. 10 L. Berti, Il Principe dello Studiolo: Francesco I dei Medici e la fine del Rinascimento fiorentino (Florence, 1967), p. 58. 11 S. Butters, The Triumph of Vulcan: Sculptor’s tools, porphyry, and the prince in ducal Florence (Florence, 1996), p. 245. 12 See Conticelli, op. cit. (note 4), p. 64. 13 Ibid, p. 63. Original Italian: ‘Due suoi camerini, ove non entra mai, alcuno e di rado li segretari; nell’uno de’ quali tiene tutti gli ogli e le acque lambiccate da lui che son atte a vari medicamenti; nell altro una grandissima massa di cose molto eccellenti per artificio, o per rare per natura, o nobili e famose per antichità come lavori di scoltura, pitture, e miniature, pietre rare, medaglie e cose simili, raccolte già con molta spesa... dove con gran dimestichezza levando di sua propria mano le cose da’ luoghi ove erano riposte e porgendomele perche io le vedessi, s’è affaticato più d’un’ ora.’ 14 See Alberts, op. cit. (note 9), pp. 3–23. 15 L. Kaborycha, A Short History of Renaissance Italy (Upper Saddle River, nj, 2011), p. 243. 16 The construction and decoration of the Tribuna and corridor gallery is outlined in Francesca de Luca, ‘L’officina decorativa. Gli artisti e il cantiere’, in La Tribuna del Principe, op. cit. (note 2), pp. 61–73. 17 The northern end of the corridor was occupied at the time by the Teatro Medici, which is no longer extant. The main staircase of the gallery today occupies this general location. 18 See Alberts, op. cit. (note 9). 19 See L. Berti, The Uffizi (London, 1993), p. 9. 20 Alberts, op. cit. (note 9,) p. 7. 21 One of the smaller vignettes of this ceiling, depicting a river view of a town, bears a date under it that reads ‘Florence August 1944.’ This is the only date visible on the ceiling, and it is unclear if it refers to the restoration of the entire ceiling or specifically to the small panel above it. Other rooms (in particular, room 22) in this suite have individual panels that appear to have been damaged (or in one case, removed entirely), and it is my belief that the restoration of this panel may have been completed at the 1944 date, possibly after damage to the original. The style does appear more impressionistic, as if mimicking watercolours, than any of the other ceiling panels, suggesting a different hand. Thanks to Keith Morgan for suggesting that the dated vignette, which upon close inspection depicts a bank of the Arno with apparently destroyed buildings, may relate to the Nazi withdrawal from Florence on 11 August 1944. 22 Francesco Maria II della Rovere. 23 Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 28. While Berti gives the date of Fortuna’s recording as 1582, which pre-dates the ‘beginning’ of the gallery indicated in the archival record, he gives no citation for his quotation. March 1583 marks the beginning of the Uffizi as an institution, while work most likely began earlier, possibly towards the end of 1582. Original Italian: ‘Il Granduca è stato tutta questa settimana molto infreddato, con una tossa assai fastidiosa. La cagione viene attirbuita allo star tanto a passegiare per questa sua nuova Galleria, della quale pare si compiaccia sommamente ornandola di pitture e di statue a maraviglia.’ 24 S. Fortuna, Le nozze di Eleonora de’ Medici con Vincenzio Gonzaga (Florence, 1868), p. 9. Original Italian: ‘Erano intorno a xix ore inanzi che si ponessero a tavola, nel qual tempo il Principe aveva veduto le gallerie e molte delitie che nuovamente ha fatte il Gran Duca, e si era anche esercitato a tirare l’archibuso e la balestra alle cornacchie del campanile, in che par che pigli molta dilettatione S.A.’ I have approximated the Florentine time of 19 hours to be approximately 9 a.m.; the Florentine clock began at the hour of sundown (hour 1), which I have approximated would have taken place at roughly 6 p.m. in Florence in April. 25 Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Guardaroba Medicea, filza 110, frontispiece. 26 Fortuna, op. cit. (note 24), p. 10. 27 Ibid, p. 12. 28 Ibid, p. 9. 29 For more on the Galleria della Mostra, see David Chambers and Jane Martineau, Splendours of the Gonzaga (London, 1981), and Raffaella Morselli (ed.), La Celeste Galleria (Milan, 2002.) 30 Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 9. The exact date of the transfer of workshops and laboratories from the Casino di San Marco to the Uffizi remains difficult to pin down. See A. Darr, ‘The Medici and the legacy of Michelangelo in late Renaissance Florence: an introduction’, in Acidini Luchinat, op. cit. (note 7), p. 5; F. Keiffer, ‘The laboratories of art and alchemy at the Uffizi Gallery in Renaissance Florence: some material aspects,’ in Sven Dupré (ed.), Laboratories of Art: Alchemy and art technology from antiquity to the 18thcentury (Cham, 2014), pp. 105–27; and A. Rooney, Power and Glory: Medici Portraits from the Uffizi Gallery (Philadelphia, 2001), p. 13. 31 Within the archival record of the Guardaroba Medicea at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze, payments related to both the east corridor (gallery) and the west corridor (laboratories) fell under the jurisdiction of the Galleria. During Francesco’s reign, the records do not indicate that a distinction was made between the gallery and the workshops as separate administrative entities. 32 See Berti, op. cit. (note 10), p. 28, and M. de Montaigne, The Diary of Montaigne’s Journey to Italy in 1580 and 1581 (New York, 1929), p. 109. 33 P. Findlen, Possessing Nature: Museums, collecting, and scientific culture in early modern Italy (Berkeley, 1994), p. 23. For Gussoni’s complete report on Francesco’s activities at the Casino, see Berti, op. cit. (note 10), pp. 57–8. 34 M. Hollingsworth, Patronage in 16th Century Italy (London, 1996), p. 274. 35 C. Duncan, Civilizing Rituals: Inside public art museums (London, 1995), p. 8. 36 A 1589 inventory of the Tribuna is the earliest account of objects within the space; although Bocchi’s account is slightly later, it deals with the entire museum. For more on the 1589 inventory, see A. Conti, ‘Alle origine della galleria’, in Paola Barocchi (ed.), Palazzo Vecchio: committenza e collezionismo medicei (Florence, 1980), p. 247. 37 Turpin, op. cit. (note 5), p. 85. Her essay addresses the contents of the Tribuna and their relationship to Medici taste and influence. 38 F. Bocchi, The Beauties of the City of Florence: A guidebook of 1591 (London, 2006), p. 71. Original Italian, from Francesco Bocchi, Le bellezze della città di Firenze, dove a pieno di pittvra, di scvltvra, di sacri templi, di palazzi, i più notabili artifizj, e più preziosi si contengono (Florence, 1677), 56: ‘Hora, perche grande è l’appetite nell’huomo di pascersi della vista di lavori prodotto da ingegni così nobili, così sublimi, dal Gran Duca è permesso a’ ministri, che hanno cura di queste cose, che a chi vuol vedere siano cortesi; onde, come al trvi pare attentamente le confideri. Con miglior commodo si veggono queste figure in Galleria, che se nelle publiche piazze fossero collocate; peroche fuori da venti, da acque sarebbono maculate, ma qui con maniera conforme a somma cortesia ad hora, ad hora si possono vedere. Fup pensioer pieno di lode, e di honore già ne gli Imperadori, e ne’ gentil’huomini Romani: i quali temendo di non esse restimati searsi, e quali invidiosi, se dentro le private mura senza più i maravigliosi artifizii di pittura, e di statue havessero tenuti, in luogo publico a commodo altrui gli collocarono. Et tra questi M. Agrippa fu si caldo in questo avviso, che fece una orazione piena di gravi sentimenti, perche tutti le pitture e tutte le statue fossero poste in luogo publico. Hora queste della Galleria con somma cura sono guardate da polvere, da venti, da acque, e conservate pulitamente sono vedute, e quasi fatte publiche ad ogni tempo, che altri di pascer l’occhio di così preziosi artifizii chiede cortesemente.’ 39 D. Wilson, The British Museum: A history (London, 2002), p. 35. 40 Findlen, op. cit. (note 3), p. 36. 41 J. Collins, ‘Museo Pio-Clementino’, in C. Paul (ed.), The First Modern Museums of Art: The birth of an institution in 18th and early 19th century Europe (Los Angeles, 2012), p. 115. For more on the sixteenth-century shift towards the use of ‘galleria’ and ‘museo,’ see Findlen, op. cit. (note 3.) 42 For more on the Medici theatre, see Turpin, op. cit. (note 5.) 43 Findlen, op. cit. (note 3), p. 36. 44 Ibid., p. 36. 45 Collins, op. cit. (note 43), p. 115. 46 K. W. Christian, Empire without End: Antiquities collections in Rome, 1350–1527 (New Haven, 2010), p. 199. 47 Like the Uffizi Tribuna, the Belvedere is an eight-sided space; however, due to its proportions, the Belvedere appears to visitors much more like a circular courtyard than does the Tribuna with its equidistant sides. I suspect that the Belvedere’s octagonal shape has more to do with ease of construction (as compared with the difficulty of creating a truly round space) than with a design decision to adopt an octagonal shape. 48 J. Collins, op. cit. (note 43), p. 116. 49 Christian, op. cit. (note 46), p. 203. 50 Ibid. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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Journal of the History of CollectionsOxford University Press

Published: Sep 27, 2017

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