“By bringing works into new dialogue with others, you provoke new questions,” Mr. Schmidt said during a late-night interview at the Uffizi while workers delicately positioned the Raphael portraits and the Michelangelo roundel in their new home.
The Doni portraits, he said, “are Raphael’s response to Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa,’ ” in a moment when artists were always trying to surpass one another. The Doni Tondo evinces Michelangelo’s admiration for ancient art, he added. In one room, “you’re understanding the entire history of art.”
Speaking at a news conference here on Monday, Antonio Paolucci, a former director of the Vatican Museums and a longtime Florentine culture official, said that Room 41 gave visitors the “ability to understand everything that comes in the future, the development of figurative art in Italy and Europe for centuries to come.”