di Belle Arti ("Academy of Fine Arts") is an art academy in Florence
and it is now the operative branch of the still existing Accademia delle Arti del Disegno ("Academy of the Arts of Drawing") that was the First
academy of drawing in Europe
The Accademia delle Arti del Disegno was founded in 1563 by Cosimo I de' Medici
under the influence of Giorgio Vasari
. At first the Academy met in the cloisters of the Church of the Santissima Annunziata.
The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti has housed the original David by Michelangelo
since 1873. The sculpture was allegedly brought to the Accademia for reasons of conservation, although other factors were involved in its move from its previous outdoor location on Piazza della Signoria
. The original intention was to create a 'Michelangelo museum', with original sculptures and drawings, to celebrate the fourth centenary of the artist's birth. Today the gallery's small collection of Michelangelo's work includes his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished. In 1939 these were joined by a Pietà discovered in the Barberini chapel in Palestrina, though experts now consider its attribution to Michelangelo to be dubious.