Florence thanks Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici with free museums February 18, 2016

Anna Maria Luisa de' MediciOn Thursday, February 18, 2016, Florence commemorates Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, Electress Palatine (11 August 1667 – 18 February 1743), on the anniversary of her death with several initiatives. The city, after all, has a lot to be thankful for to the last scion of the House of Medici.

An important patron of the arts, she bequeathed the Medici family’s enormous art collection, including the contents of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and the Medicean villas, which she inherited upon her brother Gian Gastone’s death in 1737, and her Palatine treasures to the Tuscan state, on the condition that no part of it could be removed from “the Capital of the grand ducal State….[and from] the succession of His Serene Grand Duke.” In additions to decorative and fine arts, she was also a patron to musicians of the time and helped fund the completion of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, where her bones were exhumed in 2012.

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici painted by Jan van Douven

Portrait of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici painted by Jan van Douven

Anna Maria Luisa’s single most enduring act was the Family Pact. It ensured that all the Medicean art and treasures collected over nearly three centuries of political ascendancy remained in Florence. Cynthia Miller Lawrence, an American art-historian, argues that Anna Maria Luisa thus provisioned for Tuscany’s future economy through tourism. Sixteen years after her death, the Uffizi Gallery, built by Cosimo the Great, the founder of the Grand Duchy, was made open to public viewing. (source)

What a grand lady! Without her generosity, Florence could have been much less wealthy in her museum offerings and amazing arts patronage. Read more about Anna Maria Luisa and her legacy here.

To honor the Electress Palatine, Florence’s civic museums will have FREE ENTRY on Thursday, February 18, 2016:

  • Palazzo Vecchio: 9am-2pm, including Tower and Ruins
  • Museo ‘900: from 9am-2pm
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Novella: 9am-5:30pm
  • Brancacci Chapel: 10am-5pm
  • Bigallo Museum: 10:30am-4:30pm

PROCESSION – 10:45am
In the morning there will be the traditional historical commemoration, at 10:45am with the historical procession of the Florentine Republic, which will travel through the city center to accompany the municipal authorities to the Medici Chapels, where there will be the laying of a wreath at the tomb of the Electress Palatine. For this occasion, the Medici Chapels will have free admission.

PERFORMANCE – 3pm, 4pm, 5pm
At the Palazzo Pitti, the City of Florence and the Uffizi Galleries offer a free re-enactment event of the historical figure Electress, in collaboration with the Mus.e. The public will have the opportunity to “meet” Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici at Palazzo Pitti (in the Bona room of the Palatine Gallery).This is where the electress stayed in her youth and then from 1717, after a period of 26 years spent in Düsseldorf alongside the Elector Palatine Johan Wilhelm. The style of the room reflects the refined taste, already cultivated in Germany.

After getting to know the character of Anna Maria Luisa, a discussion will follow, giving the audience an opportunity to better understand this important figure and to immerse oneself in the context of 18th-century Florence.

The event is planned at three times: 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm. Entry is free, but subject to availability, and reservations are required by calling 055-2768224 or 055-2768558. Participation in the event does not include the entry fee to the Palatine Gallery of the Pitti Palace.

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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