Dr. Sheila Barker, Director of MAP’s Jane Fortune Program on Women Artists, published “Early American Artists in Florence’s Galleria degli Uffizi (1763-1860).” The essay appears in the volume Percorsi di arte e letteratura tra la Toscana e le Americhe (Raleigh, NC: Aonia Edizioni, 2016) edited by Nicoletta Lepri.
During the first century that it was open to the public, the Uffizi Gallery, containing the art collection formerly gathered by the Medici dynasty, was visited by some 135 artists from the American continent who made copies of the masterpieces on view. The professional, aethestic, and ideological motivations that led them to make this arduous trans-Atlantic and trans-continental journey are explored here in depth. Artists such as Benjamin West and Michael Angelo Peale were among those who made these cultural pilgrimmages, as were seven American women including the landscape specialist Sophie West. An appendix lists all the American artists whose letters are still found in the historical archives of the Uffizi.