Galleries housing beloved epic paintings, including The Birth of Venus and Primavera by Italian master Botticelli, upgraded and reinstalled
After a significant series of upgrades and retrofitting made possible by a major grant by Friends of Florence, the Botticelli Room in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, Italy, reopened to the public on October 18, 2016. The $910,000 grant raised by the Washington-based organization enabled most of the 19 paintings by Sandro Botticelli, among the most widely recognized in the canon of Western art, to remain on display in Room 41 in the Gallery. Restoration of Room 41, also funded by Friends of Florence, was completed in July 2015. Among the most popular in the Uffizi Gallery's collection, masterworks like The Birth of Venus (c. 1482-85) and Primavera (c. 1482) were seen by some two million visitors in their temporary space over the course of the sixteen-month restoration of the Botticelli Room.
Features of the restored and newly reinstalled galleries include improved lighting, general systems up-grades, new alarm system, and the replacement of glass framing the artworks with state-of-the-art glass that is more protective and technologically advanced. Several of the paintings not on view during the upgrade were examined and, when needed, underwent conservation as part of the project.
Simonetta Brandolini d'Adda, co-founder and president of Friends of Florence, said, "We are thrilled that these beloved masterpieces by the great Florentine artist will be presented to their best advantage in the restored Botticelli Room. We are deeply grateful to our board members and other supporters who gave so generously to ensure a rigorous process that allowed the heart of the collection to remain on display. These magnificent paintings viewed within the context of the Uffizi Gallery's distinguished holdings and the extraordinary pageant of Renaissance art in Florence is a must-see experience."
Prior to renovation, all the Uffizi's 19 paintings by Botticelli were in one room alongside masterpieces by other artists. They are now divided into two rooms devoted exclusively to Botticelli. The creation of two spaces is designed to improve flow and, therefore, enhance the visitor experience. Two other rooms were also renovated as part of the project with funding from Friends of Florence to showcase Pollaiolo's works and other works by Botticelli and artists of his time.