At The Galleria Dell’Accademia

Odoardo Borrani

Data sheet

  • Author: Odoardo Borrani
  • Date: 1860 - 1870
  • Collection: PAINTING
  • Technique: Oil on panel
  • Dimensions: 42 x 37 cm
  • Inventory: Inv. 1890 n. 10107


Odoardo Borrani (Pisa 1833 – Florence 1905), one of the founders of the macchiaiolo movement, represented the interior of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze in two paintings: the first is on view at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, the second is in our museum.

With quick, precise brushstrokes, Borrani documented the display of works at the Galleria in the second half of the 19th century. An evocative snapshot in which we can clearly recognise the masterpieces present in the museum at the time. Giotto and Cimabue’s Maestà and Pietro Lorenzetti’s Beata Umiltà (now at the Uffizi), Taddeo Gaddi’s panel paintings, Matteo di Pacino’s Vision of St Bernard and the eponymous painting by the Master of the Magdalene: all works that are immediately recognisable thanks to Borrani’s skill in expressing the key elements of these masterpieces with just a few touches of colour.

Two elegantly dressed female figures help give us an idea of the atmosphere of that place of study, which was annexed to the adjacent Fine Arts Academy at the time.

The Galleria had a predominantly educational function then, and was mostly used by students from the Academy, immersed in the practice of learning by making copies. The 19th-century room, which can be glimpsed in the middle of the painting, had an altogether different use. For many years, it was the space for displaying the prize-winning works by the students of artists who had studied in Rome and from the triennial competition of the Florentine Academy. We can recognise Ulisse Cambi’s Aconzio, now located at the entrance to the Gipsoteca (the gallery of plaster casts).

Acquired by the Italian State in 2003, the painting was recently restored.

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