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May 8, 2020

The new virtual exhibition: Jewelry at the Uffizi

From today online a path through the mysteries of the gems painted in the museum's masterpieces

If you think of the Uffizi, the scenic Vasarian building immediately comes to mind, a container of famous paintings and ancient sculptures: you can't imagine to find inside it also beautiful jewels, which tell of past fashions, reveal the taste of an era, often constitute the memory of lost objects and, at the same time, help to better understand the meaning of a work or to identify a character portrayed there.

domenico ghirlandaio, Sacra conversazione degli Ingesuati

Thanks to ancient texts, known as "lapidaries", it is now possible to decipher the mysterious language of gems and, by interpreting the shapes of the ornaments themselves and the places where they are worn, to discover different meanings from time to time. Thus, the jewels depicted in the paintings almost never remain mere decorative details, but talking elements of a rebus, clues, or revealing traces of the artist's culture.

Filippo Lippi, La Madonna col Bambino e angeli

Telling all this through images is the intent of the hypervision entitled "Jewels at the Uffizi: an itinerary through the mysteries of painted gems". On the website of the Galleries it is now possible to visit a route that goes from the 15th century to the beginning of the 16th century, showing high-definition reproductions of masterpieces ranging from the Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano to the Portrait of Richard Southwell by Hans Holbein, through 26 stages consisting of famous works, true pillars of art history, exhibited on the second floor of the Galleries.

ritratto di Elisabetta Gonzaga di Raffaello

The new cut proposed allows you to discover the ambitions and values of the great protagonists of the portraits, known and unknown, to glimpse their fears and desires, but also to better understand the sacred representations through the language of gems and the shape of jewelry giving back to the artists unexpected skills in jewelry and gemmology. Are diamonds really girls' best friends? Perhaps not only in a frivolous sense, if you look at Raphael's portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga and the stone shining on her forehead, a sign of the strength of her intellect: in this case too Urbinate shows both psychological eloquence and a deep goldsmithing culture. And the same can be said for all the other artists who appear in this shimmering overview.

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