Tribuna of the Uffizi (painting)
|Dimensions||123.5 cm × 155.0 cm (48.6 in × 61.0 in)|
|Location||Royal Collection, Windsor Castle|
In the summer of 1772 Zoffany left London for Florence with a commission from Queen Charlotte to paint ‘the Florence Gallery’. (Neither she nor her husband George III ever visited Italy in person.) Still working on the painting late in 1777, he only finally returned to England in 1779.
Johann Zoffany was a German born painter who had become successful in London. One of his principal patrons was the Royal family. Queen Charlotte had sent Zoffany to Florence where he had agreed to paint the Tribuna of the Uffizi. The agreed price was high and he was paid £300 a year.
Zoffany has varied the arrangement of the artworks and introduced others from elsewhere in the Medici collection. He gained special privileges, with the help of George, 3rd Earl Cowper (1738–80), and Sir Horace Mann, 1st Baronet (1706-86), such as having seven paintings, including Raphael’s Madonna della Sedia, temporarily brought in from the Pitti Palace so that he could paint them in situ in the Tribuna. In thanks Zoffany included a portrait of Cowper looking at his recent acquisition, Raphael's Niccolini-Cowper Madonna (Cowper hoped to sell it on to George III - it is now in the Washington National Gallery of Art), with Zoffany holding it (to the left of the Dancing Faun).
The unframed Samian Sibyl on the floor was acquired for the Medici collection in 1777 - it was a workshop copy of the pendant to Guercino’s Libyan Sibyl, recently bought by George III, and may be intended as a compliment to him.
- Arrotino, bottom left (sculpture)
- Chimera of Arezzo, bottom left (sculpture)
- Cupid and Psyche, far left (sculpture)
- Dancing Faun, left of back wall (sculpture)
- Carracci, Venus and Satyr, top left of left wall
- Raphael, Madonna della seggiola, left of left wall
- Raphael, Madonna del cardellino, left of back wall
- Raphael, St John the Baptist, middle of back wall
- Raphael, Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and Luigi de' Rossi, top right of right wall
- Raphael, Portrait of Perugino, middle-right of back wall
- Reni, Charity, top right of left wall
- Reni, Madonna, top right of back wall
- Reni, Cleopatra, top left of right wall
- Correggio, Madonna and Child, middle of left wall
- Justus Sustermans, Galileo, right of left wall
- School of Titian, Madonna and Child with St Catherine, top left of back wall
- Franciabigio (formerly attributed to Raphael), Madonna del Pozzo, bottom right of back wall
- Baby Hercules strangling two serpents, middle of back wall (sculpture)
- Holbein, Sir Richard Southwell, middle-left of back wall
- Holy Family, now attributed to Niccolò Soggi, bottom right of back wall
- Rubens, The Consequences of War, 1638, middle of back wall
- Rubens, Justus Lipsius with his Pupils, middle of right wall
- The Two Wrestlers (sculpture), right of back wall
- Pietro da Cortona, Abraham and Hagar, left of right wall
- School of Caravaggio, Tribute Money, middle of right wall
- Cristofano Allori, Miracle of St Julian, right of right wall
- Squatting Egyptian figure (18th Dynasty), middle of room (sculpture)
- Medici Venus, far right (sculpture)
- Titian, Venus of Urbino, front right, resting on an ancient cinerary urn
- Workshop of Guercino, Sibyl, bottom middle floor
All the connoisseurs, diplomats and visitors to Florence portrayed are identifiable, making the painting a combination of the British eighteenth-century conversation piece or informal group portrait genre, with that of the predominantly Flemish seventeenth-century tradition of gallery views and wunderkammers. However, this inclusion of so many recognisable portraits led to criticism at the time by Zoffany's royal patrons, and by Horace Walpole, who called it "a flock of travelling boys, and one does not know nor care whom."
- Royal Collection
- A key to the people shown
- William L. Pressly, Genius Unveiled: The Self-Portraits of Johan Zoffany, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 69, No. 1. (Mar., 1987), pp. 88–101.
- John Anthony Nicholls: Das Galeriebild im 18. Jahrhundert und Johann Zoffanys ”Tribuna“. Ph.D., Bonn University 2006 PDF
- Desmond Shawe-Taylor, The Conversation Piece: Scenes of Fashionable Life (2009)