History and museums
The Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze, or "Gallery of the Academy of Florence", is an art museum in Florence, Italy. It is the home of Michelangelo's sculpture David. It also has other sculptures by Michelangelo and a collection of Renaissance paintings. It adjoins the Accademia di Belle Arti or academy of fine arts of Florence, but despite the name has no other connection with it.
The Galleria dell'Accademia was founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
The Galleria dell'Accademia has housed the original David by Michelangelo since 1873. The sculpture was allegedly brought to the Accademia for reasons of conservation, although other factors were involved in its move from its previous outdoor location on Piazza della Signoria. The original intention was to create a 'Michelangelo museum', with original sculptures and drawings, to celebrate the fourth centenary of the artist's birth. Today, the gallery's small collection of Michelangelo's work includes his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished. In 1939, these were joined by a Pietà discovered in the Barberini chapel in Palestrina, though experts now consider its attribution to Michelangelo to be dubious. The "David" in the Accademia is the original. There is a replica in the Piazza della Signoria.
Other works on display are Florentine paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, including works by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto; and, from the High Renaissance, Giambologna's original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women. As well as a number of Florentine Gothic paintings, the gallery houses the idiosyncratic collection of Russian icons assembled by the Grand Dukes of the House of Lorraine, of which Leopoldo was one.
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