Italy TravelPalazzo Pitti to Display Russian Icons

Palazzo Pitti to Display Russian Icons
Published on Friday, September 20, 2019 by

In 2020, Palazzo Pitti will highlight the link between Florentine nobility and the Russian Orthodox Church by displaying 78 Russian religious icons. The collection of icons, the largest outside of Russia, will be housed in four ground-floor rooms at Palazzo Pitti.

This will be the first permanent home for the collection, which has been in Florence since 1761 and has been shuffled between the Medici Villa di Castello, the Accademia Gallery, Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi since 1796. Visitors will be able to view the icons, which are decorated in gold leaf and depict religious imagery, as part of their ticket to Palazzo Pitti.

The icons’ arrival in Italy is unknown, but historians believe they may have been given to either the Grand Duke of Florence, or as an offering to Pope Francis I, who approved the building of the Greek Orthodox Church of Santissima Trinità in Livorno.

Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt explained the connection between Florence and Russia, saying, “For example, the Demidoff built their magnificent villa atop the ruins of the Medici’s Pratolino residence, and a plaque on a building opposite Palazzo Pitti explains how Fyodor Dostoyevsky completed his masterpiece The Idiot while staying there in January 1869.”

By Kathy McCabe


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