The Uffizi Gallery Will Display Its Collection of Renaissance Masterpieces Across Italy as Part of the New ‘Uffizi Diffusi’ Program

The island of Elba could exhibit some of the Uffizi's Napoleon-themed works in time for the 200th anniversary of the military leader's death.

Eike Schmidt. Courtesy Uffizi Galleries.
Eike Schmidt. Courtesy Uffizi Galleries.

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is looking to share its wealth. The museum is launching a new program called “Uffizi Diffusi”—Italian for “scattered Uffizi”—to exhibit works from its renowned collection of Renaissance masterpieces at as many as 100 sites across the greater Tuscany region.

“Art can’t survive on big galleries alone,” director Eike Schmidt told CNN Travel. “We need multiple exhibition spaces all over the region—especially in the places where the art itself was born.”

With the ongoing pandemic preventing the institution from welcoming its normal 12,000 visitors a day, Schmidt hopes to “create a different type of tourism,” that will also serve to “ground culture in people’s daily lives.” Uffizi Diffusi would also provide an opportunity to show some of the thousands of pieces in the museum’s collection that are currently relegated to storage facilities—”bring[ing] to light works of art that currently nobody can see in a calmer, more intimate setting.”

The exhibition series isn’t ready to launch yet, but “we are going every week to Tuscan cities that are asking us to join the project,” a museum representative told Artnet News in an email.

A Napoleon display in the first room of the Modern Art Gallery in the Pitti Palace of the Uffizi Gallery honoring Napoleon's 250th birthday in 2019. Photo courtesy of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

A Napoleon display in the first room of the Modern Art Gallery in the Pitti Palace of the Uffizi Gallery honoring Napoleon’s 250th birthday in 2019. Photo courtesy of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

In 2019, the Uffizi lent works to the towns of Vinci for Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th death anniversary and to Anghiari for an exhibition on the 15th-century Battle of Anghiari,

One possible site for the new loan program is the Forte Falcone on the island of Elba, where the Uffizi hopes to show works related to French military leader Napoleon—who was famously exiled there—in time for the 200th anniversary of his death, on May 5, reports Livorno Today. (The museum put a marble Napoleon bust on special view for his 250th birthday in 2019.)

Schmidt visited the fortress on Monday in preparation for the exhibition, and named Montecatini Terme, home to a Medici villa, and Montelupo Fiorentino, a Belle Époque spa town, as other places the museum is hoping to work with. In Lucca, the Palazzo Ducale is a proposed site, while Seravezza is offering another Medici villa.

Forte Falcone, Portoferraio, Isola D'elba, Tuscany, Italy. Photo by Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Forte Falcone, Portoferraio, Isola D’elba, Tuscany, Italy. Photo by Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

The Terme del Corallo in Livorno, a former early-20th-century Art Noveau-style spa complex, hopes to become the “Uffizi of the sea,” Livorno Today notes. The long-shuttered Villa Medici at Careggi, located in the hills outside Florence, is also looking to take part in the program after it finishes renovations, according to NovaRadio.

The Uffizi, which will continue to display some 3,000 objects in Florence, has stayed busy despite lockdown. It developed a surprisingly robust TikTok presence, and acquired a piece by street artist Endless for a forthcoming gallery of portraits by contemporary artists. This year also saw the museum launch a new YouTube cooking show, #Uffizidamangiare featuring Tuscan chefs preparing local dishes that are connected to works on view at the institution.


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