I have long been interested in the twenty-eight marble statues, which grace the niches of the Loggiato degli Uffizi. Although the loggiato was built in the 16th century, the statues weren't added until the middle of the 19th century.
The statues are 'portraits' of famous Tuscans from the worlds of art, literature, science, politics etc. and we see the usual suspects: Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli.
However, there is, in my opinion, one glaring omission, that of the architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Leon Battista Alberti, a fellow practitioner, is there, but the creator of the iconic dome of Florence's cathedral is absent!
The statues were the brainchild of Vincenzo Battelli (1786-1858), a local printer, who thought the empty niches of the loggiato were crying out to be filled.
In addition to their names, the statues have other identifying details. Alberti (1404-72), for instance, is holding a piece of paper on which is inscribed the facade of Santa Maria Novella, the top half of which he designed.
Francesco Redi (1627-98), a much less familiar figure to most people, has four identifying details: a lyre, a caduceus, a bunch of grapes and a book. The multi-talented Signor Redi was a physician, biologist and poet. His poem Bacco in Toscana, which was published posthumously, is a paean to Tuscan wines and is still read to this day.
To modern eyes the 28 statues make up a curious collection, the hyper-famous rubbing shoulders with much less familiar figures. However, the selection is simply a reflection of the times (the middle of the 19th century) in which they were made.