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The Tapestry Gallery

Epiphanies of precious fabrics


03-20-2012 | 06-03-2012

The tapestry exhibition is aimed at making better known to the Gallery public one of the most precious sections of its collections, the ancient and noble fame of which is gradually dwindling because, for decades now, the tapestries have been absent from the areas open to visitors.
The tapestries are works of art pitilessly consumed by time, since the state of conservation is deteriorated by light, dust and tensile stress.

In 1987, for these reasons, superb series of tapestries were removed from the corridors of the Gallery where for decades they had been an element of magnificent elegance. They were removed to the rooms of the repositories, appropriately equipped for their conservation, where they will remain until the first-floor rooms designed to display them on rotation, are ready.
Now, in this exhibition, seventeen tapestries originating from notable series of grand ducal provenance illustrate the quality of the manufactories in stories of celebrations at the French court and mythological episodes, the passing of the seasons and the passion of Christ, almost like sacred and profane stations in an alternation of decorative borders and dramatic interiors.
Examples from the celebrated Flemish tradition of the sixteenth century can be compared with the local Florentine tapestries, produced in the independent manufactory set up by Cosimo I in 1545 and closed under the Lorraine dynasty in 1738.

The striking features of these creations include the richness of the weaving and the materials, enhanced by the comparison between tapestries that have been restored and those awaiting restoration from the same series. We can also appreciate the dazzling brightness of the colours on the back of one of the tapestries showing the Feasts of the Valois which has been preserved from the attacks suffered by the surfaces exposed to the light. The skill of the artists responsible for the cartoons (some of them on display) can be appreciated, together with details of the different ways in which the works were acquired for the grand ducal collections: via gift, dowry, legacy or commission.
Finally, the illustration in the exhibition of the restoration and the manner of working the tapestry further indicates the complexity of such operations and the expertise of the Florentine restoration school, one of the best in the world.

Promoters

  • Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
  • Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana
  • Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze
  • Galleria degli Uffizi
  • Firenze Musei

  • Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze

Curated by

Giovanna Giusti

Exhibition Management

Antonio Natali

Catalogue

Giunti Editore

Ticket prices

Full price € 11.00, reduced € 5.50

Notes

Visitors to the exhibition may avail of free tours organised by the museum assistants of the Uffizi Gallery every Saturday, starting from 14 April up to 2 June, at the following times: 9.30; 11.30; 14.30; 16.30.
Up to a maximum of 20 people for each tour will be greeted at the entrance to the exhibition; booking through Firenze Musei is recommended: Tel. 055/294883