The Accademia Gallery or museum was originally founded in 1563, as the first school in Europe to teach drawing, sculpting and painting. Now, the gallery is known as a depository for fine collections of paintings and sculptures from other galleries and museums.
Located on Via Ricasoli, 60, Florence, Italy, Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo combined all the drawing schools of Florence into the Academy in 1784, and it still sits in the Hospital of St. Matthew, today.
If you are a fan of Michelangelo, you have to visit Accademia Gallery. When you first walk in, you'll come across a long hall that has been dedicated to him. It has some of his works that he is famous for, such as the Saint Matthew, The Slaves and Four Prisoners.
The one that really gets your attention is the sculpture of David, which dominates all the other sculptures with its size and detail. It is in a vaulted area where you can view it from all angles, with its head turned and eyes that seem to follow you. Michelangelo took a rejected piece of marble that had numerous veins running through it and carved it into this Goliath-sized sculpture that was originally commissioned by Opera del Duomo.
Michelangelo was young when he completed The David, yet you can see his talent and genius in this sculpture. He was 25 years old when he began the statue in 1501. No other sculptor wanted this piece of marble because it could be prone to shatter, but Michelangelo created a masterpiece with it, and amazed Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and other prominent artists with the David sculpture.
It became a statue that was symbolic of the freedom of Florence, and was sent to Accademia Gallery in 1873 for safekeeping. In 1991, a man hammered the statues toes and dislodged them and now the museum has put a protective Plexiglas shield around David to keep him safe. You can still see the detail that took three years to complete.
The Accademia Gallery is filled with other works like Botticelli's Primavera and Madonna of the Sea, Giovanni da Milano's Pieta, Lorenzo Monaco's Annunciation, and Michelangelo's San Matteo. You can also see other amazing sculptures of the 19th century by Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni. The Accademia museum is filled from floor to ceiling with some of the most classic masterpieces you will find in Florence.
You need to take a whole day to see all of the works of art. The line to see The David can take up to an hour, but is worth the wait to see this masterpiece. The Accademia museum is open from 8:15 in the morning to 6:50 in the evening and costs 6.50 Euros. You can reserve tickets ahead of time, which is a good idea to beat the crowds.
Accademia Gallery Information:
Address- Via Ricasoli 60.
Visiting Hours- Tues-Sun 8:15am-6:50pm (last admission 30 minutes before close).
Bus- 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 17, 25, 31, 32, 33, 67, 68, or 70
***Just a side note about attire for women in all Basilicas and Cathedrals. You will not be allowed to enter if you have bare shoulders or wearing shorts! Bring a shawl or long sleeve shirt with you.***
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