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Johan Joseph Zoffany (Frankfurt 1733-London 1810)

The Tribuna of the Uffizi 1772-77

RCIN 406983

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The Tribuna at the heart of the Uffizi Gallery offered the richest display of art anywhere in the world. Zoffany spend five years in Florence working for Queen Charlotte, recording its holdings as a sort of masterpiece-concentrate. As if this were not enough for the viewer to absorb he has added a group of English visitors then in Florence, shown discussing what they see. He wishes to suggest that the conversations of connoisseurs who enjoy art are as important as those of the artists who create it (in no. 24). Horace Walpole thought the inclusion of these obscure ‘travelling boys’ absurd; the Queen ‘would not suffer the picture to be placed in any of her apartments.’ Today the picture is enjoyed as the iconic image of the English Grand Tour.