Via Ricasoli, 58-60
The foundation of the Galleria dates back to 1784, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo reorganised the Academy of Drawing Arts in Florence, founded in 1563 by Cosimo I de‘ Medici, to form the modern Academy of Fine Arts. Since then, the new institution has occupied the premises of the fourteenth-century Hospital of San Matteo and those of the Monastery of San Niccolò di Cafaggio. The museum was enriched following the suppression of churches and convents on the orders of Pietro Leopoldo in 1786 and by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1810. However, the decisive event for the history of the museum was the transfer of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s David from Signoria square in August 1873. The most famous sculpture in the world waited nine years, in a wooden box, for the construction of the Tribune designed by architect Emilio De Fabris to host it. In addition to the David, the Gallery also owes its vast popularity to the presence of other sculptures by Michelangelo, such as his Prisoners and St Matthew. In addition to the painting and sculpture collections, the Gallery is also home to the collection of plaster casts and models by Lorenzo Bartolini and his student Luigi Pampaloni in the Gipsoteca (plaster cast gallery) housed in the monumental Salone dell’Ottocento. The museum is also home to musical instruments that belonged to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, both Medici and Lorraine, most of which were in the collection of the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini of Florence. Today’s Galleria dell’Accademia was established in 1882.