The reopening of the Uffizi Galleries
Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries, tells us about the near future of one of the most important museums in the world and the three reopening exhibitions
The awakening of the Uffizi Galleries from lockdown begins in the Boboli Gardens, who on May 21, after two and a half months, reopens its ancient gates.
On May 28 it will be the turn of Palazzo Pitti, with the new exhibition dedicated to the artist Giovanna Garzoni, while the date to start again to admire live the works of the Uffizi is set for June 3.
Here is what the Director Eike Schmidt told us and anticipated.
Art and Beauty played a leading role in the Renaissance, is it desirable that this is also the case for our rebirth?
Certainly reactivating the places of art, in this historical moment, is very important. At such a difficult juncture it is a good thing to allow access to museums again, true guardians of art and beauty that so much comfort can bring.
How will it be to reopen the doors of the Uffizi?
The Uffizi Galleries are ready to start again, obviously with the times and methods communicated and established by the Government and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. We will open, but without any triumphalism or celebration, because the epidemiological emergency is not yet over. The crisis goes on and a lot of attention is needed, always keeping in mind that the polar star of all is the protection of citizens' health and the saving of people's lives.
If this is now the present, what will be the near future of one of the most famous museums in the world.
Three special exhibitions are practically ready to be opened in the weeks following the opening. Already set up is the great retrospective on the seventeenth-century painter Giovanna Garzoni, a true "sleeping beauty" of Palazzo Pitti, which will be inaugurated - with a completely virtual ceremony - just a few days after the reopening. We have two more on the launching pad, the one on the medieval Miniatures recovered by the Carabinieri's Cultural Heritage Protection Command, and the first monograph dedicated to Giuseppe Bezzuoli, a true giant of nineteenth-century European painting, which we want to make known and rediscover to the general public.
How did you implement the rules of social distancing
As far as the access to the museum is concerned, we have all the necessary papers in order to enforce the rules: to give an example, already in pre-Covid conditions at the Uffizi Gallery the limit of co-presence was 900 people, which means an average of 22 square meters available to each person inside the museum. Now this number will be further reduced. In order to stagger the entrance - and thus avoid crowds both outside and inside the museum - we will be able to use our algorithm, developed to break down the rows with the University of L'Aquila, adapting it to a visitor flow management function that takes into account the rules and delicate needs of this particular moment.
Will the way of visiting the Uffizi change in your opinion?
At long range it is still too early to say. Of course there will be a lack of international visitors in this intermediate phase, but this will allow for a calmer, more relaxed stay, with more space and time to enjoy the Uffizi and their works, with far fewer people around. This summer our museums will offer a unique experience, as it has not been possible to live it for over half a century.