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4 Via del Proconsolo , Duomo/Santa Croce
Florence , Italy
39 055 238-8606

What the Uffizi is to paintings, the Bargello is to sculpture: a storehouse of some of the greatest works in marble and bronze to come out of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. In the stony, former medieval prison are statues by Michelangelo (a lithe Bacchus sculpted at age 22 and a brutish bust of Brutus completed at a mature 65) and Giambologna (the gravity-defying Mercury), but the stars of the show are the Donatellos crowding the vast, vaulted second-story main room. From the schiacciato (“flattened”) relief under his 1416 St. George against the wall to the remarkable bronze David of 1440–50 (the first freestanding nude cast since antiquity), you can trace the artistry and mastery of this unprepossessing little sculptor whose innovations—especially in his early developments of perspective and naturalism—influenced every great artist and architect to come after him.

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