accademia gallery history

History of the Accademia Gallery

Officially known as Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze, the Accademia Gallery houses some of the most important artifacts of Italian and world art and history. Accademia Gallery takes the second spot in terms of popularity in all of Italy, just behind the Uffizi. The first thing that comes to mind when discussing the Accademia Gallery is that it is home to David – Michelangelo’s 17-foot tall Renaissance-era masterpiece. Read about the history of the Accademia Gallery here.

Accademia Gallery History

Initially, the structure where the Accademia Gallery stands today housed a convent and hospital. This explains the simple, unassuming exterior of the landmark. In 1784, Pietro Leopoldo, the then Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded the Galleria dell’Accademia as a practical teaching facility for students of the Academy of Fine Arts, at this very location. 

As the years passed, the Accademia was refined and upgraded with fine works of art from religious space around. Of course, the most noteworthy attraction at the gallery is the statue of David. While several copies have been made of the sculpture, the original has found a home at the Accademia Gallery since 1873, when it was moved from Piazza della Signoria. Emilio de Fabris designed a special skylight over the statue of David to project it in a more glorious manner. 

Over the decades, the Accademia transferred some of its own artwork to other galleries and brought in pieces that remain till today. Michelangelo’s statues of Prisoners, and St. Matthew were brought in as prime attractions. Other inspiring artworks at the Accademia include Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Woman, and the museum of musical instruments.

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