Academy of Fine Arts in Florence

Академия изящных искусств во Флоренции

The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence (Accademia di belle arti di Firenze) is the first European art educational institution. The Academy’s art collection is one of the most valuable in Italy. Most tourists go to Florence to visit it.

The history of the creation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence

In the middle of the 16th century, Florence ceased to be a republic, but art, to some extent, still remained the property of the people. At that time, the works of the Renaissance era were presented straight on the streets of the city and delighted the eyes of the Florentines. However, the fine arts were less and less of a concern to citizens. Giorgio Vasari – painter and architect, artist Agnolo Bronzino and Bartolomeo Ammanati – Florentine sculptor, watching how masters of art moved to France, Rome and Venice, wanted to preserve the cultural heritage of the city.

Then Vasari proposed to establish in Florence the only Academy of Fine Arts in the world, where masters of art from all over Europe could study. This idea was supported by Bronzino, Ammanati, and the Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici (Cosimo I de Medici).

In 1562, the Academy was opened in the church of Santissima Annunziata (Santissima Annunziata).

The first teachers were the founders of the Academy themselves, outstanding masters of that era, and bright representatives of mannerism. Students from all European countries studied the works of art of the great Florentine masters on the streets of Florence. The best of them were admitted to the restoration of masterpieces. So, in 1588, the restoration direction appeared. Students studied sculpture, architecture, painting, and grotesque and also mastered the methods of metal etching and the creation of musical instruments.

Those wishing to study in Florence increased, as well as works of art, and in 1784, by decree of the Tuscan Duke Pietro Leopold II (Leopoldo II), the Academy was transferred to a former hospital at the monastery. At the same time, all the art schools of the city were assigned to the Academy. In the Academy itself, a Gallery was created, where students studied the masterpieces of art by masters of different eras.

In addition to the artistic direction, music was taught at the Academy. In 1849 the music department became the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini of Florence.

Thanks to the establishment of the Academy, many monuments of world culture were created, preserved, and restored.

The Gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts

The Gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts (Gallerie dell'Accademia)

The Gallery at the Academy (Gallerie dell’Accademia) was created as an exhibition place for the artworks of teachers and students, so that magnificent works would inspire new masters.

The Gallery’s collection was replenished with artworks from other cities. During the wars with Napoleon, in order not to lose the artistic heritage, the Roman Church gave its treasures to the Academy.

In 1873, the Museum of Michelangelo’s works was opened in the Gallery. For the famous masterpiece, the sculpture of “David” (Il David), in 1882, a separate tribune was built with special lighting – it seems that the statue will now come to life.

Visitors to the Gallery are experiencing a culture shock – perfect works of masters are collected here. The gallery is second in attendance only to the Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi).

Artworks inside Academy

Michelangelo’s sculpture “David” is a five-meter five-ton statue that was transferred to the gallery in 1873 from Piazza della Signoria, where it stood for 400 years.

"David" by Michelangelo Academy of Fine Arts in Florence

If you look closely, David’s right hand is disproportionately large. It is believed that this is how the sculptor displayed the nickname of the hero – “manu fortis,” which means “strong hand.” It is also noteworthy that David’s sling lies on his left shoulder, and the stone in his right hand means the hero was left-handed. Although the position of the body indicates the opposite. And the piece of marble from which Michelangelo created his masterpiece was twice processed by his predecessors.

Agostino di Duccio, a student of Donatello (Donatello), after the death of his teacher abandoned work on David, barely getting to his feet. In 10 years, Antonio Rasselino continued to work on the statue, but discovered a crack in the block and abandoned the idea.

Michelangelo was 29 years old when he finished the work.

His “Saint Matthew” (San Matteo) for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (La Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), “Palestrinsky Pieta” (Pieta di Palestrina), and unfinished statues “Slaves” (Prigioni) are also stored here – for the gravestone of Pope Julius II.

La Loggia dei Lanzi

Another famous artwork in the Gallery is a plaster copy of the ‘Rape of the Sabine Women’ (Ratto delle sabine) by Giambologna, the original of which is kept in the Loggia dei Lanzi.

Sandro Botticelli 'Madonna and Child and the Young St John the Baptist' Gallery of Fine Arts in Florence

The churches of Florence donated to the Academy of Fine Arts a collection of paintings from the 15th-16th centuries, including ‘Madonna by the Sea’ (Madonna del Mare) and “Madonna and Child with Two Angels and John the Baptist” (La Madonna col Bambino, due angeli e Giovanni Battista) by Sandro Botticelli, Cassone Adimari by Lo Scheggia. Here are the works of Lippi (Filippo Lippi), Pietro Perugino, and other famous artists.

The collection of 14th-century Gothic paintings includes a depiction of motifs from the life of Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi on a vestry panel by Taddeo Gaddi. On the second floor you will find many Gothic altar paintings.

Modern works are also exhibited in the Gallery, like photos of American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, taken in 1986.

In the Conservatory next to the Gallery, antique musical instruments are kept.

Opening Hours and Tickets

The address of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts is Via Ricasoli, 58/60. You can walk from Duomo Square along Via Ricasoli or take the bus to the Ricasoli stop: No. 1, 6, 11, 19, 23, 31, 52, C1.

There is always a long line at the Gallery, they start in small groups of 30 people. Therefore, to buy a ticket at the box office on the side of the entrance, you will have to stand for 2-3 hours.

Цена билета в кассе: 16 евро, гражданам Евросоюза от 18 до 25 лет – 8 евро. Стоимость бронирования заранее – 4 евро за билет.

To save time, we recommend booking a ticket online in advance on the official partner website

We advise you to book tickets at least a week in advance! If there are no tickets for the desired date, then you can search for them on the website using the form below:

The option with an audio guide in Spanish, English, French, German or Italian will cost 23 EUR.

It’s also a great idea to see Michelangelo’s David and understand the rest of the masterpieces with a licensed art guide on a private guided tour. In this case, the guide will book tickets for you, and you will pay for them on the spot.

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday – Sunday, 08:15 – 18:50. Closed Mondays and holidays: 25 December, 1 January, 1 May;
  • Fridays in summer – until 22:00;
  • Last Tuesday of the month, 19:00-23:00 – admission is free, but expect a queue of about 3 hours.

Official gallery partner in Italian and English: – you can save a few euros if you buy tickets at least 3 weeks in advance and go through a rather complicated registration process.

Guide, traveler, marathon runner, journalist, creator of the site ITALY FOR ME. I live in Rome and am in love with Rome. On the subject of the article, please ask questions in the comments. I try to answer everyone at least once a day.

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