The architecture of this Gallery is a free re-creation of the inner courtyard of the Bargello Palace in Florence (which currently houses the city's sculpture museum). The Palazzo, built between 1260 and 1320, served for a time as the residence of the city's chief magistrate, the Podestà, which explains its other name: Palazzo del Podestà. Palaces of this kind, impressive in size, were reminiscent of church buildings as far as their scale and decoration were concerned: they asserted the prestige, wealth and power of Florence's new patrician class.
The Palazzo had been erected at the very end of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Renaissance. Exhibits in this Gallery give visitors an idea of these two stages in European culture – copies of works by sculptors from Germany, France and Italy. The reproductions of masterpieces of European sculpture provide vivid illustrations of the evolution of styles and trends in the art of the 13th-16th centuries. Not only do the examples of medieval German sculpture in this Gallery not clash with the main display of Italian Renaissance sculpture but, on the contrary, they help us to understand the great changes which the era of the Renaissance brought with it.