It is always difficult to set one’s hand to museum trails. When the museum in question is the Uffizi Gallery, then any metamorphosis can be regarded as extravagant, an anti-historical accretion. This is why the Amici degli Uffizi were somewhat wary of the request to support the complete redesigning and reconstruction of the first room of the Gallery. The Archeological collections used to be on display in this Hall 1, but for all tourists the visit had always been starting from Hall 2, with the three Maestà, the masterpieces by Cimabue, Giotto and Duccio, turning to the left after entering the first corridor. Changing this arrangement, moving to Hall 1 the paintings of the Tuscan Primitives, meant upsetting a deep-rooted custom by starting the visit from the right-hand side.
After careful consideration, we felt intrigued, then absorbed and finally fascinated by the necessity of such a change, extensively studied by the Gallery executives to give due prominence and greater visibility to the artworks of early Italian painting. Therefore, we supported the renovation project and now nine paintings previously cramped with the three Maestà – wooden crucifixes and panels dating from the second half of the twelfth century to the end of the thirteenth century – can now be admired in the new Hall 1. This work rounded out a previous intervention by the Amici, as last year we had funded the restoration of the two painted crosses and the Berlinghieri diptych meant for this dedicated display.
The result is a totally renewed ambiance that enriches the visit for the million visitors flocking to the museum every year, and we feel so proud to have contributed to its realization within the concept of collective patronage that we have been pursuing in over twenty years’ activity side by side with our
Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti
President Amici degli Uffizi and Friends of the Uffizi Gallery