Painting and sculpture, nature, shipping, archeology or urban history: Venice has a museum for (almost) every taste, without forgetting its art galleries. Let's discover the most interesting museums and galleries in Venice.
Venice has been home to world-famous artists for centuries, producing exceptional talents such as Canaletto, the Bellinis, Carpaccio and the enigmatic Giorgione. Their works of art are in museum galleries such as the Galleria dell’Accademia. But even those who prefer modern and contemporary art find Venice to be the perfect place. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, for example, is a representation of classic modernism, and you can get in touch with contemporary artists in the two homes of the Pinault Collection (Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana).
The Gallerie dell’Accademia is a museum gallery that houses the world's largest collection of Venetian art from Gothic to Rococo. It owes its name to the Academy of Painting and Sculpture, for which the collection was originally intended. A highlight of the gallery is Giorgione's mysterious painting Tempesta (1507/1508), the interpretation of which is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in art history. Veronese's "Banquet in the House of Levi" is equally sensational - originally conceived as a representation of the last sacrament, details of the work were considered too disrespectful for it to be given this name. Works by masters such as Titian, the Bellinis, Carpaccio, Tiepolo, Tintoretto and Canaletto complete an impressive and representative picture of Venetian art between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco was a part of the Scuole Grandi di Venezia, charitable and religious organizations for the laity. Established in 1478 and named after San Rocco (St. Roch), the Roch confraternity was committed to nursing and was considered the wealthiest Scuola in Venice because of the saint’s relics, which attracted numerous pilgrims and believers. The large “Sala Superiore” on the first floor is an impressive hall, whose ceiling was painted with biblical themes by Tintoretto between 1575 and 1581. The ceiling is adorned with scenes from the Old Testament, such as the story of Moses, while the walls present the life of Jesus Christ. The masterly paintings served the Brothers for catechesis, Christian instruction and doctrine.
Palazzo Grassi is one of the magnificent buildings on the banks of the Grand Canal and it presents contemporary art exhibitions. The building itself is the work of the architect Giorgio Massari, also responsible for the design of Ca’Rezzonico. The transformation of the Palazzo into its current form began under the supervision of the previous owner of the building, the Fiat group, which entrusted the Italian architect Gae Aulenti with the task. The final adaptation was carried out by the Japanese archistar Tadao Ando, who was also responsible for redesigning the Punta della Dogana. The museum café, which overlooks the Grand Canal, is worth a visit.
Ca' Rezzonico is a villa on the banks of the Grand Canal and houses the seventeenth century municipal museum. The building was designed in 1649 by the baroque architect Baldassare Longhena. As the owner at that time, the nobleman Filippo Bon, was no longer able to finance construction, work was completed in 1750 under the new owners, the wealthy Rezzonico family, after whom the completed palazzo was named. The Museo del Settecento, now in Ca' Rezzonico, displays furniture, art and glass works that give an idea of what the lifestyle of the 17th century Venetianupper class would have been like. Among the highlights of the state rooms are paintings by Canaletto, Gianbattista Tiepolo and Pietro Longhi. The garden is an oasis of peace that truly deserves to be visited.
The Museo Civico Correr is located right at Piazza San Marco and shows the history of Venice through some valuable artefacts. Housed in the Napoleonic part of the Procuratia, its entrance is opposite St. Mark's Cathedral. The museum was named after the Venetian collector Teodoro Correr, whose collection of manuscripts, books and art objects forms the foundation of the house. In addition to valuable manuscripts and prints, the collection includes paintings, coins, historical costumes, weapons and jewelry. Visitors to the museum also have the chance to discover the living quarters of the Austrian imperial couple Franz Josef II and Sissi, who used to stay there when they were visiting Venice. The absolute highlight of the Museo Correr is the view from its windows: Piazza San Marco presents itself practically before your eyes.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The masterpieces of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are an inventory of modern art: Picasso, Dalí, Kandinsky, Pollock, Mondrian, and Hans Arp are the creators of the works presented to visitors. The collection is the doing of Peggy Guggenheim, considered to be one of the most dazzling figures in the 20th century art world. The daughter of one of the wealthiest men in America, she was married to Max Ernst for a short period and spent her old age in Venice. The baroque Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which was occupied by her at the time and which houses today's gallery, is as unique as her collection. Another jewel, in addition to the art, is the Palazzo garden, where Peggy Guggenheim is buried.
Carlo Goldoni's House
Carlo Goldoni was a comedian and author of numerous Venetian plays. He is considered as one of the most influential figures in the development of Italian comedy, which combined wit and wisdom. The poet lived in Venice until 1743, and the city influenced many of his works. His birthplace in the San Polo district is now a small but fine museum, which not only illustrates how theatre was presented in the 18th century, but also shows the history of the city. In addition, it illustrates how a bourgeois family might have lived at that time. Puppets enact scenes from Goldoni's most famous plays there, and a puppet theatre shows the construction of a theatre stage in Goldoni's time. The research work is done by the theatre institute.
The Jewish Museum in Venice is located at the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo in the middle of the Venetian ghetto that became the name behind all other Jewish quarters in the world called “ghetto". The museum illustrates the painful history of the Venetian Jews, whose community was made up of a wide variety of nations and backgrounds. With the help of valuable historical objects, the house bears witness to the Jewish festival calendar on the one hand, and Jewish town life from the 16th century to the present on the other. Especially recommended are the tours to the Venetian synagogues that can be booked at the museum. Attention: The museum and synagogues are closed on Saturdays (Shabbat) and on important Jewish holidays.
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