The rooms from 2 to 6 are dedicated to medieval art. With the first, of the thirteenth century and Giotto, we enter the nucleus of the “primitive” rooms, set up by 1956 by Giovanni Michelucci, Carlo Scarpa and Ignazio Gardella, who covered the hall with a trussed ceiling, imitating the medieval churches. The hall has a strong impact due to the presence of the three monumental Majesties of Cimabue, Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto, painted a few years later. In the Majesty of Santa Trinita of 1285-1300 Cimabue tried to emancipate himself from the Byzantine style, seeking a greater volume and plastic relief, with an unprecedented softness of nuance; in front of it is the altarpiece of Duccio, called Madonna Rucellai (about 1285), built with a rhythmic structure and with graceful figures, more influenced by the contemporary pictorial experience of the French Gothic; finally, at the center of the room, the Majesty of Ognissanti by Giotto (1310 circa) with a monumental structure and built much more plastically, accentuating the chiaroscuro and the volume of the bodies. Di Giotto is also the polyptych of Badia around 1300.
Room 2 Duecento y Giotto
The first room also has a very special representation of thirteenth-century painting, including a triumphant Christ from the late twelfth century and a Christus patiens, rare for the high quality and very good state of conservation.
In the room, paintings of the churches of Tuscany dating from the first half of the 12th century to the beginning of the 14th century are exhibited. The technique used in them is that of the tempera on wood, with a golden background, prior to the expansion of oil painting in the 15th century.
In this great space, the three capital tables of Duccio di Boninsegna (Madonna Rucellai), Cimabue (Maestà di Santa Trinitá) and Giotto (Maestà di Ognissanti), known for capturing the majesty, represent the Virgin enthroned with the Child, surrounded of angels and saints.
These works are fundamental to understand the orientation of painting in Tuscany, between the Duecento and Trecento, and the profound renovation that began in this period.
The Cimabue table retains many formal characteristics of Byzantine painting, renewed by plastic force; Duccio expresses a happy synthesis after the most classic tendency of the Eastern tradition and Gothic art; Giotto with his representation of space, the attention to light that shapes the figures, the interest in the natural, represents one of the most significant starting points for the development of Italian art.
There are also two copies of Croce dipinta (painted cross), typically Italian sacred ornaments, a canopy by Meliore, a diptych from the school of Bonaventura Berlinghieri and Políptico de Badia by Giotto.
Room 3 Trecento sienés
The following room (3) is dedicated to the great masters of the 14th century in Siena, where the greatest teachers of this school face each other: the Annunciation by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi (1333) and the Presentation in the Temple by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1342) , both coming from the Cathedral of Siena, and the Altarpiece of Blessed Humility (1340) by Pietro Lorenzetti.
The two extraordinary paintings that face each other come from the Cathedral of Siena. The Annunciation of Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi and The Presentation in the Temple of Ambrogio Lorenzetti, are perhaps the first examples of altarpiece that are subject to evangelical episodes, instead of a cult icon, as for the cathedral of Siena the image of the Virgin, patroness of the city, was represented in the great Majesty painted by Duccio.
The two works testify to various tendencies of Sienese art: one, represented by Simone Martini, which develops all the linear refinement and the colors of Gothic, and the other, interpreted by the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, attentive to Giotto’s innovations.
From Pietro Lorenzetti the room exhibits a work of great interest, the Polyptych of Blessed Humility, which in its panels dedicated to the life of the Blessed, illustrates many aspects of life in the Middle Ages.
Room 4 Trecento florentino
This is followed by the Florentine fourteenth century room (4), which shows the developments of art after Giotto with the contributions of his pupils and of more original personalities such as Giottino and Giovanni da Milano.
In the room dedicated to the masters of the Florentine painting of the Trecento, they are, together with the great polyptychs, unfortunately incomplete and lacking in their frames, small-format paintings, which were used for domestic devotion.
The Master della Santa Cecilia, a collaborator of Giotto, in a youthful phase of his activity, we can admire the table with the history of Santa Cecilia, from which the unknown artist took his name.
Giotto’s legacy is represented by Taddeo Gaddi, an active teacher for a long time in his studio, and several decades later by Andrea Orcagna, author of the Saint Matthew’s Triptych and his life story.
It is totally differentiated Giottino, a rare artist who with his beautiful Pieta, introduces more modern characters, being sensitive to the expression of feelings, and using a varied color in subtle chromatic passages.
For Giovanni da Milano, an outsider artist, who can unite the Nordic tradition of Tuscany, to which the fragmented Ognissanti’s Políptico belongs.
Room 5-6 Gótico internacional
The international Gothic Hall (5-6) is dominated by the monumental Coronation of the Virgin (1414) by Lorenzo Monaco and by the blaze of splendor and elegance of the Adoration of the Magi (1423) by Gentile da Fabriano, performed for the Florentine merchant Palla Strozzi .
Works by artists from different regions of Italy contribute to illustrate the figurative culture of the first decades of the Quattrocento that refers to the so-called International Gothic.
In addition to the Florentines there are in fact present works of the Sienese Giovanni di Paolo, the Venetian Jacopo Bellini and Gentile da Fabriano.
It stands out among the Florentines Lorenzo Monaco with the magnificent Coronation of the Virgin, painted in 1414 for the Church of the Convent of Santa Maria de los Angeles of the Order of the Camaldulenses, to which the painter belonged.
The elongated shapes of the figures and the evolution of the folds, together with the cold colors, bright under the light, clearly show the tendency at the beginning of the fifteenth century Florentine art.
To Gentile da Fabriano, considered, between the third and fourth decade of the Quattrocento, one of the great Italian painters, he owns two of the most famous works in the room: Four saints of the Quaratesi Políptico and the Adoration of the Magi, both made during a stay of the Florentine painter.
The Gallery entirely occupies the first and second floors of the large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). The collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance period include some absolute masterpieces: Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, in addition to many precious works by European painters (mainly German, Dutch and Flemish).
Moreover, the Gallery boasts an invaluable collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, which adorns the corridors and consists of ancient Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.