artworks archive

The Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze is home to some of the most important painting and sculpture collections in the world, including sculptures by Michelangelo, his renowned David among them, and a rich collection of early Italian painting. The collection of plaster casts and models by Lorenzo Bartolini and his student Luigi Pampaloni in the Gipsoteca in the monumental Salone dell’Ottocento is just as significant. And the museum is also home to musical instruments that belonged to the grand dukes of Tuscany, Medici and Lorraine, most of which were in the collection of the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini of Florence.


From Gold Ground to the Renaissance, and Mannerism to the 19th Century


The Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze’s collection of gold ground paintings from the 13th century to the early 15th is particularly important, preserving works by the greatest Florentine artists from that period, including the Master of the Magdalene, Giotto, the Master of the St Cecilia, Bernardo Daddi, Taddeo Gaddi, Andrea Orcagna, Nardo di Cione, Giovanni da Milano and Agnolo Gaddi. The section of 15th-century painting is just as rich, representing both late-Gothic and Renaissance painting, currents that circulated in parallel in Florence during the first thirty years of the century. Standing out among the late-Gothic works is an important group of works by Lorenzo Monaco. Whereas Renaissance painting is represented by Paolo Uccello, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi. Next come the collections of 16th-century painting, with masterpieces by Fra’ Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo, whose painting engages with Michelangelo’s sculpture from the same period, and then the great altarpieces from between the 16th and 17th centuries, which trace the development of Florentine painting from the influence of Michelangelo to the new spirituality of the Counter Reformation. In the Gipsoteca, there is an important collection of paintings by 19th-century artists who studied or taught at the Accademia di Belle Arti.


Giambologna, Michelangelo, the Gipsoteca


The model for the Rape of the Sabine Women by the great artist known to all as Giambologna welcomes visitors at the entrance to the Galleria dell’Accademia, dominating the Sala del Colosso. It is a rare 16th-century model in unfired clay, created in 1:1 scale for the marble version sculpted by the same artist in 1582 and displayed in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria, Florence. In the Galleria dei Prigioni, Michelangelo Buonarroti’s unfinished sculptures originally created for the tomb of Julius II in Rome, his St Matthew and the Palestrina Pietà lead the visitor to the most famous sculpture in the world, located in the middle of the apse: Michelangelo’s David. The Salone dell’Ottocento contains the Gipsoteca, or plaster cast collection, with plaster models by Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the most important Italian sculptors from the turn of the 19th century. Alongside these works, we also find the plaster casts by Luigi Pampaloni, a well-known artist from the Accademia fiorentina di Belle Arti.


A Trip through the History of Music from the 17th to the 19th Century

Musical instruments

The Department of Musical Instruments, founded in 2001, houses the collection of the Conservatorio “Luigi Cherubini” of Florence and displays around fifty musical instruments from the private collections of the grand dukes of Tuscany, Medici and Lorraine, collected between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 19th. Standing out among them are the tenor viola and violoncello made by Antonio Stradivari, both part of the quintet made in 1690 for the grand prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, a Niccolò Amati violoncello made in 1650 and an oval spinet by Bartolomeo Cristofori. A piece unique of its kind is the Psaltery, made entirely of different types of marble. Among the instruments, visitors can also admire paintings by Anton Domenico Gabbiani and Bartolomeo Bimbi, who portrayed the musical culture of the Medici court. Visitors can hear the sound of the instruments on display using multimedia stations that also offer a panorama of music during time of the Florentine grand duchy.


The Lorenzo Bartolini Historical Archive and the Gatti Kraus Donation.

The Lorenzo Bartolini Historical Archive and the Gatti Krauss Donation.


In 2021 - 2022 the digitization and indexing project of the entire Lorenzo Bartolini archive was carried out. The archive came to the Galleria in two separate donations, one in 2011 and the other in 2013. The two groups were purchased from the heirs and the documentation was carefully reorganised and inventoried at that time. Divided into nine sections, the archive contains personal and work-related correspondence, letters relative to commissions, drafts, legal and accounting documents, notebooks with drawings and printed material. The documents date from 1810 to 1850, the year of the sculptor’s death. The subsequent documentation, which extends to 1935, pertains to matters connected to inheritance issues.


One of the rooms in the Musical Instruments Department of the Galleria dell’Accademia is devoted to Alessandro Kraus, a late 19th-century Florentine musicologist, anthropologist and collector. In this space, you will find Kraus’s book collection, which was donated to the Galleria by his heir Mirella Gatti-Kraus in 2008. The collection includes more than 200 volumes on music history and 387 opera librettos, some of which quite old and rare. The oldest dates to 1675, and fifty date from between the late 17th century to the late 18th century. 280 of the librettos were published in the 19th century. The collection of music monographs has grown over time, with the museum acquiring other volumes and catalogues, some in the form of donations and institutional exchanges, others published in connection with the Galleria’s exhibitions and restoration work. This library was recently reorganised and inventoried.

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