‘Medusa’ artwork by Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is exhibited as part of a new set-up of rooms dedicated to Caravaggio and the 17th century painting at Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) in Florence (opening today, February 19, 2018). ‘Medusa’, the famous painting on the shield, is one of the “stars” in a group of eight new rooms dedicated to masterpieces of Caravaggio and other 17th century painters, Italian and beyond, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Gherardo delle Notti, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Rubens.
The new eight-room section has Caravaggio’s Medusa as its centrepiece, displayed against a bright crimson backdrop intended to mimic the fabric shown in paintings of the period. The iconic work is paired with a depiction of the same subject by German artist Otto Marseus, previously misattributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
Shifts to these “Caravaggio rooms” are not the only changes currently underway at the museum. In the coming days, oak benches will also be added, aiming to better accommodate visitors who spend up to four hours walking around the galleries. To avoid infringing on space, benches will be placed in the Vasari-designed wall recesses near the windows of rooms and corridors.
Director of the Uffizi Galleries Eike Schmidt emphasised that the new layout aims to create an “intellectual experience for both non-specialists and experts on the subject”, and to highlight the “international spirit of the period”. Rooms each have distinctly evocative names (“Between Reality and Magic”, “By Candlelight”) and feature artwork from the likes of Artemisia Gentileschi, Diego Velazquez and Gherardo Delle Notti. The final room ‘”The Florentine Epic” is dedicated to literary themes drawn from epic poems such as Jerusalem Delivered and Orlando Furioso.