Uffizi, Schmidt era closes with record number of visitors and receipts

The Schmidt era at the Uffizi closes: after eight years, the German director leaves, with an all-time record for visitors and receipts (5 million visitors, nearly 60 million euros in revenue, figures never before seen in the museum complex).

The year 2023 will close with a record for the Uffizi Galleries, which is on track to exceed 5 million visitors over the course of the year, even surpassing the previous record, set in the pre-pandemic period, of 4.3 million visitors in 2019. A 50 percent increase over 2015, when the Galleries were born, from the merger of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. Another record, that of revenues: realized in 2023 almost 60 million euros, more than 70 percent compared to 35 million in 2022.

Thus ends the tenure of Eike Schmidt , who will soon bid farewell to the Florence museum. Specifically, total visitors to the Galleries (Uffizi, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens) through Dec. 10 were 4,957,678, up 27.8 percent from the same period last year and a whopping 49 percent more than the 2015 numbers, but given the doubling of the number of rooms open, crowding in the decreased. As a projection, the 5,150,000 attendance threshold will be crossed as of December 31. A total of 27,677,338 people have crossed the threshold of the Galleries since 2016.

The receipts: in 2023, up to December 10, a monstrous sum of 58,973,810 was collected by the Galleries, a new all-time high. The estimate, by the end of the year, is to reach over 60.3 million, a +72.1 percent over the 2022 results. The specific ticketing figure is also a record. 39,829,357 from Jan. 1 to Dec. 10, +44.3% compared to the same period 2022, with the projection to reach over 40 million by Dec. 31; the increase in admissions sold in 2023, compared to 2015 is 24,343,125, or 157.2% more.

The other revenue items are: Art bonus 8,500; direct revenue 2,308,474; donations and sponsorships 3,612,660; Exhibitions and loans abroad 1,858,507; indirect revenue 11,356,312. It should be noted, with reference to the sum of donations, sponsorships and receipts from loans of works, that the 5,479,667 in 2023 constitutes an increase of 618% in comparison with the 886,951 in 2016. In addition, in the past three years, 7 calls for services have been handled by the museum, with a total value of more than 164 million euros.

“In just a few days,” comments Director Eike Schmidt, “the number of visitors to the Uffizi Galleries will for the first time cross the 5 million mark since the beginning of the year, and already between now and then the revenue generated by the museum since January will exceed 60 million euros, a fourfold increase over eight years ago, while at the same time numerous visitor discounts have been introduced and free opportunities have been increased. The museums’ exhibition and reception spaces have been greatly enlarged, more than 80 rooms have been reopened, or renovated and set up according to modern museological criteria, hundreds of works that used to be in storage have been restored and are now regularly on display. Educational services have been strengthened, with a group of assistants and collaborators dealing exclusively and permanently with accessibility, with many innovative offerings for visitors with different needs and abilities. We are second to none in the digital and social media field, with about 1.2 million followers on four platforms, 42 virtual exhibitions and more than 600 thousand freely usable photographs on our website, to the more than 400 videos that include explanations of our works also in Latin, Uzbek, and Italian Sign Language (LIS). With an increase of more than 1,800 works in the last eight years, we have experienced the season of greatest expansion of our collections since the time of Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, who opened the Boboli Gardens to the public in 1766 and the Uffizi in 1769. We have mounted 159 temporary exhibitions at the Uffizi and elsewhere, especially throughout Tuscany and the surrounding area as part of the Uffizi Diffusi initiative. But the most extraordinary figure to be remembered is undoubtedly the 145 scientific books with a total of more than 30 thousand pages that we have published during the last eight years (and another 12 volumes are currently being printed): testifying, together with our scientific journal Imagines, the 238 conferences and 23 symposia held that the museum has become a true center of research as never before. All this - and much more - would not have been possible without the passion and self-sacrifice of the extraordinary team of internal colleagues and external collaborators whom I sincerely thank for their commitment, seriousness, and motivation that brought us together to these achievements.”

Schmidt’s eight years come to a close with numerous interventions, especially set-ups and refurbishments of spaces carried out between 2016 and 2023, including at the Uffizi the Botticelli rooms, the Caravaggio and Caravaggeschi rooms, the Michelangelo and Raphael room, the Leonardo room, the Florentine and Venetian and Roman 16th-century space, the Terrace of Geographic Maps, and at the Pitti Palace the Museum of Russian Icons and the Palatine Chapel. Of 2023 is the opening of the New Rooms of the Self-Portraits on the second floor deli Uffizi and the opening of the new Museum of Fashion and Costume in the Pitti Palace. Other major achievements in the field of architectural restoration include that of the Kaffeehaus in the Boboli Gardens, the Uffizi Library and the Royal Post Office.

Eike Schmidt
Eike Schmidt

Hundreds of restorations: including Andrea del Castagno’s Dante, Andrea del Verrocchio’s Macinghi Alt arpiece and Domenico Veneziano’s Santa Lucia de’ Magnoli Altarpiece, all by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

Major donations and sponsorships aimed at restoration over the past eight years include that of Guccio Gucci S.p.a. for the Primavera at Boboli; that of the Friends of the Uffizi for Leonardo’sAdoration of the Magi and the Friends of The Uffizi Galleries for the Terrazzo of the Maps; and that of Veronika Atkins for the seven Valois tapestries, for the Sala di Bona in the Pitti Palace and for the Amphitheater in the Boboli Gardens. The Pritzker Foundation’s grant aimed at the restoration of paintings and the self-portrait rooms, a private donation for the Kaffeehaus in the Boboli Gardens, and the crucial funding from the Edwin L. Wiegand Foundation for the Vasari Corridor installation.

As for exhibitions, there are 159 exhibitions organized between 2016 and 2023, including 101 at the Galleries and 58 off-site, including those of the major projects to spread art throughout the territory, Uffizi Diffusi and Terre degli Uffizi (the latter carried out together with Fondazione CR Firenze).

In terms of donations and purchases, over the past eight years the Gallerie’s artistic heritage has been enriched thanks to 1344 donations of works (of note are Rosso Fiorentino’s San Giovannino, Giovacchino Fortini’s portrait of Gaetano Berenstadt, and theAscension of Christ by Maso da San Friano donated by the Friends of Uffizi); while there are 459 acquisitions (of note are Elias in the Desert by Daniele da Volterra, Fiamma by Rudolf Levy and the Portrait of Count Francesco Teodoro Arese Lucini by Francesco Hayez), for a total of 1803 new works of art including drawings, paintings and sculptures.

There were also many international and national awards, starting with the Compasso d’Oro award for the creation of the Gallerie degli Uffizi brand. Also among the notable achievements was the important result of the return to Italy and the Uffizi Galleries of the Jan Van Huysum painting, stolen by the Nazis in 1944. Also to be listed in the 2016 - 2023 achievements is the selection of the Uffizi per Tutti project as a Value Project by SDA Bocconi School of Management and the Uffizi’s agreement with Lucca Comics, which includes among its collaborations the annual Gran Maestro del Fumetto (Grand Master of Comics) award, whose winner donates his or her self-portrait to the Uffizi.

On the digital communication front, there are more than one million followers of the Uffizi on all social platforms: more than 1,179,029 to be exact, 1,087,000 (Instagram 774,434, 66 percent of the total; Facebook 155,236, 13 percent; Tik Tok 170,300, 14 percent; Twitter X 79,9059, 7 percent).

The Galleries’ Instagram profile grows by 4.9%; Twitter users increase by 10.7%, Facebook users by 7%, and TikTok expands its audience by 20.5%. On the museum’s website, www.uffizi.it, which opened in 2017, there were 13,834,738 views, from a total of 2,285,644 users.

There were43 hyperviews, or virtual exhibitions published during the past eight years.

The Uffizi also distinguished itself for scientific initiatives and projects: 238 was the number of conferences organized as part of the Wednesday Dialogues of Art and Culture event; 23 were conferences and study days, while

there were 145 scientific publications (30,363 total pages). There were 13 concert reviews at Palazzo Pitti, and another 6 concerts between the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti, in addition to the Opera Lirica event held at Palazzo Pitti for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. There are also 6 editions of Apriti Cinema, the summer film festival held in the Piazzale degli Uffizi.

On education, in 2023 there have been 97 visits and family meetings at the museum, with a total of 1,725 participants; while in all the paths for high schools in PCTO conventions(Ambassadors of Art, Digital Ambassadors of Art, Bench of Fairy Tales) there have been 34 classes involved, with a total of 740 students and 250 lessons. There were 60 new internship projects carried out in collaboration with universities and other entities. As for the area of events dedicated to accessibility and cultural mediation, there were 110, including guided tours and educational activities. Noteworthy is the outstanding commitment of the Department of Education, which during the lockdown provided more than 500 free online lessons to elementary school classes as part of the “Go Schools!” project.

Finally, data on media presence: 6,326 articles dedicated worldwide to the Galleries by many national and international newspapers and 1,372 television and radio reports.

Uffizi, Schmidt era closes with record number of visitors and receipts
Uffizi, Schmidt era closes with record number of visitors and receipts

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