Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, revealed during a recent Facebook live stream that he has tested positive for coronavirus. The museum chief says that he is asymptomatic and is continuing to work from home.
At a press conference on Monday, marking the 50th anniversary of the museum’s department for education, Schmidt told the virtual audience that he had taken a Covid-19 test a few days previously and had since been in quarantine. Earlier this year, Gabriele Finaldi, the director of the National Gallery in London, also contracted coronavirus.
"Today it is very important to be here, albeit in virtual form, to remember an important event such as the birth of our education department, which exactly 50 years ago organised the first education visit for schools in the halls of the Uffizi,” Schmidt said. His asymptomatic status means he will continue working. “I can dedicate all my time and energy to the Uffizi as usual and today I do it more than willingly for this celebration,” he added.
“After two decades of cuts in teaching resources, we have made a radical change in direction and the department is now flourishing,” Schmidt said, referencing the Digital Ambassadors of Art programme, the museum’s enhanced education platform.
The Uffizi Galleries remain closed following a second Covid-19 lockdown in Italy; earlier this month culture minister Dario Franceschini ordered that institutions across the country shut their doors in line with the “colour coding” restrictions put in place by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.