Past Exhibitions at the Accademia Gallery


Carlo Portelli, An Eccentric Painter between Rosso Fiorentino and Vasari

December 22, 2015 – June 30, 2016 ** extended **

Fig. 2

Carlo Portelli, Allegory of the Immaculate Conception, signed and dated 1566, wood panel – Florence, Galleria dell’Accademia

This exhibition is devoted to Carlo Portelli, a Florentine painter who reveals his highly advanced mastery of the “modern manner” at the height of the 16th century. The many paintings found around the David in the Accademia’s Tribuna in this style include a monumental altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception by Carlo Portelli dated 1566 from the church of Ognissant, considered by many as his masterpiece.

Yet this painter’s work has never received the critical acclaim it deserves, despite being the recipient of important commissions in his own day and one of the artists most active in the large decorative schemes commissioned by the House of Medici.

His paintings are often crowded with figures, as we can see in his Immaculate Conception in the Accademia itself and, to an even greater extent, in his tortured Martyrdom of St. Romulus in Fiesole. The selection of works by the artist will reveal his tireless search for a refined, complex elegance. One of his latest works in Florence can also be admired at Palazzo Vecchio, within the Prince’s Study just off the Salone dei Cinquecento.

The exhibition, with about fifty paintings, drawings and documents, sets out not only to enhance the Galleria dell’Accademia’s own altarpiece but to encourage the crowds that daily visit the gallery to discover an artist hitherto known only to the experts, when in fact he deserves far wider appreciation for his originality, his imagination and his ability to translate inventive concepts into painting in the manner of Vasari.

Carlo Portelli, Charity, 1550-1560, wood panel – Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.


The Arnina by Lorenzo Bartolini

November 18 – February 8, 2015

For the first time ever, the original marble Arnina by Lorenzo Bartolini is on display at the Accademia right alongside the gesso of the statue that is part of the museum gesso collection.


The small but precious exhibition will allow visitors to learn more about the work by local Prato sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini. The Ninfa Arnina’s location had been lost through time and was discovered by English researcher John Kenworthy-Browne in 2013 in a private English collection. So for the first time ever, the original is on display to the public right alongside the gesso owned by the Accademia. Both the statue and gesso carry the inscription of the statue dedicated to Alessandro degli Alessandri, president of the Academy of Arts. In 1825, the sculptor was “courting” in an attempt to be named Chair of the Department of Sculpture within the Academy, at the time vacant. While he did not receive the nomination, in 1830 he did become professor of sculpture at the Academy. This and more details about his work and life are present at the exhibit within the Accademia.

Franciscan Art: Masterpieces of Art and Asian lands from the 13th to the 15th centuries

March 30 – October 11, 2015 ** extended to November 11 **

San Francesco riceve le stimmate

The Accademia’s first exhibition starts in the medieval era, exploring the origin of one of the greatest religious and cultural phenomena in Western and world history:  the Franciscan movement. The movement made an incredible contribution not just to religion but to art as well, as it spread like wildfire to the East as far afield as China itself, and Franciscan friars commissioned works for their  churches and convents.