Category: General Venice (48)

DATES FOR THE DIARY:  TEN UNMISSABLE ART & DESIGN EVENTS IN 2019 (PART 2)

To help with your forward-planning, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the most important art and design events set to take place in Venice this year.  We published Part 1 last week, and you can find Part 2 below:

  1. Alberto Burri. Fondazione Giorgio Cini. 10th May – 28th July. This summer the Cini Foundation on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore will host a large-scale retrospective showcasing over 50 works by Alberto Burri – one of the main protagonists of Italian and European art of the 20th century, whose last anthological show took place more than thirty years ago. This long-overdue exhibition will retrace the path of Burri’s artistic career, featuring some of his most celebrated masterpieces as well as lesser-known works.
  2. 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. 11th May – 24th November. The Venice Art Biennale is one of the most hotly-anticipated events in the international cultural calendar, and it returns this year under the helm of London-based curator Ralph Rugoff with a smorgasbord of exhibitions by the world’s most pioneering and prestigious artists. Titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ – after an ancient Chinese curse referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil – it’s guaranteed to offer an illuminating and thought-provoking overview of the global contemporary art scene today.
DATES FOR THE DIARY:  TEN UNMISSABLE ART & DESIGN EVENTS IN 2019 (PART 2)
DATES FOR THE DIARY:  TEN UNMISSABLE ART & DESIGN EVENTS IN 2019 (PART 2)
  1. Time, Forward!: V-A-C Foundation. From May. Taking place in the V-A-C Foundation’s beautifully restored palazzo on the Zattere waterfront, this cutting-edge exhibition will question the notion and function of time and how it relates to new forms of consciousness, action and sight in the 21st century. Curated by Omar Kholeif, the show will feature new commissions by contemporary artists including Rosa Barba, Daria Irincheeva, Alexandra Sukhareva, Adam Linder, Haroon Mirza, Walid Raad and James Richards.
  2. The Venice Glass Week: 7th – 15th September. Now in its third edition, this city-wide festival will present a rich programme of exhibitions, conferences, guided tours, hands-on workshops and other events dedicated to the art of glass – the artistic and economic activity for which the Lagoon City has been famed for over 1000 years. Staged in museums, galleries, churches, palaces, shops and glass furnaces around Venice, Murano and Mestre, it’s is a must for glass experts, collectors and enthusiasts alike.
  1. Peggy Guggenheim. The Last Dogaressa: Peggy Guggenheim Collection. 21st September – 27th January. Marking 40 years since her death in 1979, this major anniversary exhibition will celebrate the Venetian life of Peggy Guggenheim, one of the most notable and notorious art collectors of the past century. Curated by Karole Vail, the current director and Peggy’s own granddaughter, the show will focus on the world-class avant-garde art collection that she amassed whilst based in the Venice, including renowned masterpieces alongside rarely exhibited treasures from the museum’s extensive permanent collection.

January’s an ideal time to start making travel plans for the coming year, so why not consult your diary and organise a trip to Venice?  If you’re wondering when to visit, consider timing your stay with one of the many exciting art and design events taking place over the next 12 months.  To inspire you, we’ve made a list of our ten top picks; here’s Part 1, and we’ll be posting Part 2 next week, so stay tuned:

  1. Canaletto and Venice: Palazzo Ducale. 23rd February – 9th Kicking off the 2019 cultural calendar, this blockbuster show at the Palazzo Ducale will transport visitors to the hedonistic era of eighteenth century Venice – a period of enormous artistic vitality and social change for La Serenissima. As well as showcasing dazzling Venetian views by Canaletto, the exhibition will also feature masterpieces by other artists including Pietro Longhi, Giambattista Tiepolo and Francesco Guardi.
  2. Ocean Space: Chiesa di San Lorenzo. From 23rd Launching this year in the newly restored San Lorenzo church in Castello, Ocean Space will be a cross-disciplinary centre focusing on ocean conservation and the effect of climate change on the seas. The centre will open with an installation and research project by the renowned video and performance artist Joan Jonas, who represented the US at the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.
DATES FOR THE DIARY:  TEN UNMISSABLE ART & DESIGN EVENTS IN 2019 (PART 1)
Canaletto and Venice at the Palazzo Ducale
DATES FOR THE DIARY:  TEN UNMISSABLE ART & DESIGN EVENTS IN 2019 (PART 1)
The Collection of Cardinal Grimani at Palazzo Grimani
  1. La Pelle – Luc Tuymans: Palazzo Grassi. 24th March – 6th Palazzo Grassi’s 2019 show will be dedicated to Luc Tuymans, the influential Belgian artist who has dedicated himself to figurative painting since the mid 1980s, contributing significantly to the rebirth of this medium in contemporary art.  This will be his first monographic exhibition in Italy, showcasing over 80 important pieces from the Pinault Collection, international museums and private collections, as well as a new site-specific work created especially for Palazzo Grassi.
  2. Maurice Marinot. The Glass, 1911-1934: Le Stanze del Vetro. 25th March – 28th This Spring Le Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore will host the first ever international exhibition focusing on Maurice Marinot, the great experimental French artist who paved the way for much contemporary glassmaking. Featuring over 200 works and preparatory designs, the show will highlight his remarkable originality, skill and inventive capacity, underlining the fundamental role that he played in the history of modern and contemporary glass. 
  1. The Collection of Cardinal Grimani: Palazzo Grimani. From 10th This historic event will see an important collection of antique sculptures – once owned by Venetian Patriarch Giovanni Grimani – returned to their original home at Palazzo Grimani, over 400 years after they were donated to the Republic of Venice in 1487The temporary exhibition is being organized in collaboration with Venetian Heritage, offering an excellent reason to visit the splendid, yet often overlooked, Grimani Palace.

If you’re planning to be in Venice over the Christmas period, make time to visit Le Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.  Here you’ll find one of this season’s must-see exhibitions, showcasing a spectacular array of Murano glass produced by the M.V.M. Cappellin & C. glassworks.

Curated by leading glass expert Marino Barovier, this is the first ever comprehensive overview of Cappellin’s production, concentrating primarily on the years between the 1920s and 1930s – when the company achieved an output of exceptional quality in terms of both technique and design.

The show focuses mainly on the instrumental contribution of the young Carlo Scarpa – later to become one of Italy’s most celebrated Twentieth Century architects – who worked with the Cappellin firm from 1926 to 1931.  Initially acting as an interpreter of Giacomo Cappellin’s ideas, Scarpa was gradually allowed a greater independence with his designs, which were primarily distinguished by their geometric forms and elegant modern silhouettes.

THE M.V.M. CAPPELLIN GLASSWORKS AND THE YOUNG CARLO SCARPA 1925-1931 AT LE STANZE DEL VETRO
THE M.V.M. CAPPELLIN GLASSWORKS AND THE YOUNG CARLO SCARPA 1925-1931 AT LE STANZE DEL VETRO

The exhibition demonstrates the richness and variety of the Cappellin glassworks’ output during this era between the two World Wars, with a wide spectrum of works on view ranging from playful animals and sea creatures to colourful stained-glass windows, as well as vases of all shapes and sizes. One of the main highlights is an astonishing table centerpiece made from iridized crystal glass, which was exhibited at the Garden Exhibition in Florence in 1931.

The show also illustrates the results of the company’s ongoing research into the infinite technical possibilities of the medium of glass, which often led to revolutionary new techniques such as filigrana a reticella and the decoro fenicio for modern production. Among the most striking pieces on display are the vibrantly-coloured objects that, due to the opaque quality of their surfaces, resemble ceramics rather than glass.

On view for just a few more weeks, the show sheds a fascinating new light on the work of Carlo Scarpa, and offers visitors a deeper understanding of M.V.M. Cappellin & C. and of Murano in general as the historic international capital of glass.

The M.V.M. Cappellin Glassworks and the Young Carlo Scarpa 1925 – 1931  is on view at LE STANZE DEL VETRO until 6th January 2019. 

THE YOUNG TINTORETTO AT GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA

This year Venice is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Jacopo Tintoretto (1518/19-1594) with a series of landmark exhibitions, conferences and other special events exploring his remarkable artistic legacy.

Hailed in his lifetime as one of the greatest painters of his day, Tintoretto has continued to dazzle and influence subsequent generations of artists and art lovers – ranging from John Ruskin, who once observed “I never was so utterly crushed to the earth before any human intellect as I was today before Tintoret,” to Henry James, who stated, “No painter ever had such breadth and such depth… Titian was assuredly a mighty poet, but Tintoret -well, Tintoret was almost a prophet.”

Among the highlights of this year’s anniversary celebrations is a major show at the Gallerie dell’Accademia dedicated to the first decade of Tintoretto’s artistic activity – a period of his life that to date has remained veiled in mystery.  No records of his training survive (though an early biographer suggests that he was briefly apprenticed to Titian), and as exhibition curator Robert Echols comments, “There is actually not one firmly documented painting by the young Tintoretto.  Every attribution has to be based on the visual evidence.”

THE YOUNG TINTORETTO AT GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA

With a view to unravelling this elusive and hotly debated chapter of his career, the Accademia has brought together an impressive body of over 60 works produced between 1538 (the year in which Tintoretto’s activity was first officially recorded with a work for the church of San Geremia) and 1548.

At the core of the exhibition is a collection of 26 exceptional paintings firmly attributed to the young master, culminating in The Miracle of the Slave –  a monumental canvas widely regarded as his great breakthrough, depicting St Mark rescuing a slave about to be tortured for worshipping at his tomb.  Together with important works from the Accademia’s permanent collection, the show also features a number of prestigious loans from private collections and international museums, such as the Conversion of St Paul from the National Gallery of Washington and Apollo and Marsyas from the Wadsworth Atheneum, on display in Italy for the first time.

Alongside these autograph works – many of which are restlessly experimental in technique and design – the exhibition also presents a broad spectrum of paintings, drawings and prints produced in Venice during the 1530s and ‘40s by a number of Tintoretto’s contemporaries such as Titian, Pordenone and Sansovino. Intended to “share with the public what the cultural and visual experiences of the young Tintoretto could have been” (Paola Marini, Director, Gallerie dell’Accademia), these contextual works provide a fascinating framework within which to consider Tintoretto’s early paintings, shedding significant light on the artistic stimuli that may well have influenced the development of his revolutionary mature style.

The Young Tintoretto is on view at the Gallerie dell’Accademia until 6th January 2019. 

With the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale in full swing, the city is overflowing with innumerable exhibitions and installations by leading architects and designers from around the world.  Over the coming weeks, we’ll be picking out some of our personal highlights from this year’s Biennale – but today, we’re shining a spotlight on Carlo Scarpa (1906 – 1978), one of Venice’s very own home-grown architects, whose modernist masterpieces form an integral part of the city’s rich architectural fabric.

Born and raised in Venice, Scarpa is widely regarded as one of the most important Italian architects of the 20th century.  Before focusing his career on architecture, he worked with glass, serving as creative director of the prestigious Venini glassworks on Murano from 1933 to 1947. It was here that he first displayed his appreciation for craft, often working with the Venini glassblowers late into the night to perfect new designs.

It was not until after WW2 that Scarpa began to be recognized internationally for his architecture, leading to a series of commissions in and around Venice – many of them involving the renovation of existing buildings. As an architect, he became known for his instinctive approach to materials, combining artisanal techniques with modern production methods.

Utterly imbued with the textures of Venice, he worked primarily with wood, glass, stone and concrete to blend his very modern designs into the historical context of his native city.

CELEBRATING CARLO SCARPA: VENICE’S PIONEERING MODERNIST ARCHITECT
Monumento alla Partigiana
CELEBRATING CARLO SCARPA: VENICE’S PIONEERING MODERNIST ARCHITECT

We’ve picked out a few of our favourites:

Negozio Olivetti: Tucked under the Procaturie Vecchie in Piazza San Marco, this showroom for Olivetti typewriters and counting machines was recently restored and reopened under the auspices of FAI – the Italian equivalent of Britain’s National Trust.  Originally envisioned as a “calling card” for the iconic Olivetti brand, the immaculately designed interior features mosaics and water channels that mimic acqua alta across the floor, while an irregular floating staircase is both perplexing and harmonious.

Aula Mario Baratto, Ca’ Foscari: Serving as the main seat of Venice’s main University, Ca’ Foscari is one of the city’s most important palazzi, dating from the 15th century.  Scarpa worked on it between the 1930s and 1950s, with notable interventions including the Aula Mario Baratto – a magnificent space dominated by high Venetian gothic windows – which he masterfully overlayed with a striking wood-framed screen.

Monumento alla Partigiana: Situated on the edge of the lagoon near the Giardini vaporetto stop, this poignant monument honours the memory of the Venetian women who participated in the Italian Resistance. Partially submerged by the water, it features a bronze figure of a fallen woman designed by Augusto Murer lying sprawled across a series of terraced concrete plinths designed by Scarpa.

Università IUAV: Scarpa taught drawing and interior decoration at Venice’s ‘Istituto universitario di architettura di Venezia’ (IUAV) from the late 1940s until the end of his life. The University is housed in a former convent attached to the impressive Tolentini church near Piazzale Roma, with a futuristic entrance added in 1985 following a futuristic design by Scarpa.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia: Based on Campo Santa Maria Formosa, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia is one of Venice’s most fascinating museums – once home to the noble Querini family, and now housing a rich collection of art and furniture.   Scarpa worked from 1961 to 1963 on improving the entrance, courtyard and garden, to brilliant and dramatic effect.

Giardini: Finally, if you’re planning to visit the Architecture Biennale at the Giardini this year, be sure to keep an eye out for some of Scarpa’s own designs in the gardens, such as the Venezuela Pavilion, Ticketing Booth and Sculpture Garden designed for the Central Pavilion in 1952.

TOP TIPS FOR A SUMMER DAY OUT ON THE LIDO
Murazzi

Lido Top Tips – If you’re planning a holiday to Venice this summer, why not consider making a day trip to the Lido?  With award-winning sandy beaches, elegant Art Deco architecture and a wide range of sporting activities, it has a lot to offer – just 15 minutes by boat from Piazza San Marco.  Here are a few ideas to inspire the perfect Lido day out:

Hire a beach cabana at the Grand Hotel Excelsior: During the early 20th century, the Venice Lido was the most fashionable seaside resort in Italy.  Today, its glamour may have faded slightly, but pay a visit to the Grand Hotel Excelsior and you’ll immediately be transported back to the old-world glitz and luxury of the island’s glory days. If you fancy topping up your tan in style, hire one of the cabanas on the hotel’s private beach, and order waiter service from the comfort of your sun bed.

Have a round of golf at the Circolo Golf Venezia: Few visitors to Venice know that the city boasts its own 9-hole golf course.  Situated on the southern tip of the Lido, in a lush green area that once served as a barracks for Austrian soldiers, it is one of the city’s hidden gems.  Founded in 1928, it ranks among the oldest Golf Clubs in Italy, and has welcomed numerous famous guests including Mussolini, Hitler and the Duke of Windsor.  Clubs are available to hire, and visitors are permitted to play on a day rate.  At the end of your round, cool off with a drink on the charming verandah.

Rent Bikes and cycle along the murazzi: If you feel like letting off steam (or working off that extra slice of pizza from the night before), hire bikes from one of the many rental shops lining Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, and head off on a ride along the Lido’s scenic coastal cycle-way.  The sea walls are dotted with beach shacks and shelters that make picturesque picnic sites, but be warned, they tend to be popular with locals – so arrive early to bag a prime spot.

TOP TIPS FOR A SUMMER DAY OUT ON THE LIDO
Grand Hotel Excelsior
TOP TIPS FOR A SUMMER DAY OUT ON THE LIDO

Go Wild at the Alberoni Nature Reserve: Located at the south end of the Lido, the Alberoni Oasis is a beautiful nature reserve composed of a pine forest and complex dune system, immortalized for its beauty in the poetry of Byron and Goethe.  The beaches along the western shore are wild and spectacular, littered with bleached drift-wood and home to a number of protected bird species.  At the far end of the beach, half buried by the sand and shaded by tamerisks, you’ll find the wonderfully bohemian Macondo bar and cafe.  Accessible only by boat or by bicycle, it’s a closely-guarded Venetian secret that tourists rarely discover.  If you’re an early riser, join the locals at one of the Vinyasa Yoga sessions on the beach; there are three upcoming classes on 16th, 21st and 24th June from 10am – 11am.

For fans of contemporary art and architecture, Punta della Dogana is a must-visit destination: a vast 15th century complex situated at the mouth of the Grand Canal, which until the 1980s served as the city’s Sea Customs House.  After twenty years of abandonment, it was acquired by the Pinault Collection in 2007, and following a lengthy restoration project by celebrated architect Tadao Ando, the building re-opened to the public in 2009 as a space for temporary exhibitions.

“DANCING WITH MYSELF” AT PUNTA DELLA DOGANA
“DANCING WITH MYSELF” AT PUNTA DELLA DOGANA
Gilbert & George at Punta della Dogana

The current show, titled “Dancing with Myself”, presents a fascinating display of self-portraits ranging from the 1970s to the present day, examining the importance of the artist’s role as actor and material of his own creations. The exhibition brings together a broad spectrum of artistic practices and languages (photography, video, painting, sculpture and installation), cultures, geographic origins, generations and experiences, to establish a tension between extremely different artistic approaches: melancholy of vanity, ironic play with identity, political biography and existential questioning, the body as sculpture, effigy or fragment of its symbolic substitute.

The exhibition revolves around four themes: Melancholia, Identity Games, Political Autobiographies and Raw Material, and includes around 100 works from the Pinault Collection by artists including Gilbert & George, Cindy Sherman, Alighiero Boetti and Maurizio Cattelan, alongside a selection of works on loan from the Folkwang Museum in Essen.

“Dancing with Myself” is on view at Punta della Dogana until 16th December 2018

This week marks the birthday of the great German composer Richard Wagner, who was born in Leipzig on 22nd May 1813, and who died in Venice in 1883.

Like many other musicians throughout history, Wagner felt a strong affinity with Venice, and visited the city many times over the course of his life.  As he observed in 1858 in a letter to his father-in-law Franz Liszt, “Life in the big city has become completely unbearable for me, mainly because of the din of carriages that infuriates me. Now everyone knows that Venice is the calmest city, I mean the quietest city in the world and that is why I have decided it is absolutely the place for me.”

WAGNER IN VENICE: VISIT THE GREAT COMPOSER’S LAST HOME  & DEATH PLACE AT CA’ VENDRAMIN CALERGI
WAGNER IN VENICE: VISIT THE GREAT COMPOSER’S LAST HOME  & DEATH PLACE AT CA’ VENDRAMIN CALERGI

In 1882, having just completed the Parsifal score for the second edition of the Bayreuth Festival, Wagner returned to Venice once more in search of tranquility and inspiration.  He rented the entire mezzanine floor of Ca’ Vendramin Calergi on the Grand Canal, and it was here that he spent his last winter with his wife Cosima Liszt, their four children and household servants, before passing away from a heart attack on 13th February 1883 at the age of 69.

Today, Ca’ Vendramin Calergi is most famously renowned as the site of Venice’s glamorous casino – but few visitors are aware that the palace also houses a museum dedicated to Wagner, situated in the very rooms where the revered composer lived and died.  Opened in 1995, the Wagner Museum holds the Josef Lienhart Collection of rare documents, musical scores, signed letters, paintings, records and other heirlooms – constituting the largest private collection dedicated to Wagner outside of Bayreuth.  Outside the palace, a memorial plaque is inscribed with a tribute written by novelist and poet Gabriele d’Annuncio: “In this palace the souls hear the last breath of Richard Wagner perpetuating itself like the tide which washes the marble beneath”. Open by appointment, with guided tours available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, it’s a fascinating and atmospheric destination for anyone interested in discovering more about Wagner’s music, legacy and life-long love of Venice.

VISIT THE WORLD’S FIRST MUSEUM DEDICATED TO CASANOVA
VISIT THE WORLD’S FIRST MUSEUM DEDICATED TO CASANOVA

If you’re planning a visit to Venice this Spring, be sure to visit the city’s newest museum which opened a couple of weeks ago, dedicated to one of the Venetian Republic’s most famed and fabled sons – Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798).

Today Casanova is primarily known as a legendary lothario, whose louche sexual conquests numbered around 120 (if the claims in his memoirs are to be believed).  However, as this enlightening new museum makes clear, he was much more than an arch seducer; he was also an alchemist, a diplomat, a philosopher, a soldier and even a secret agent.

Indeed, as his biographer Ian Kelly writes, “Casanova might be surprised by his reputation in the modern world because he was a fiercely proud intellectual and polymath.  He was a very skilled mathematician and he wrote something like 42 books, including a history of Poland and arguably the world’s first-ever science fiction novel.”

Housed in Palazzo Papafava in Cannaregio, and manned by a fleet of staff in period 18th costumes, the museum is spread over six rooms that pulsate with audio-visual effects and dramatic lighting.  Featuring multi-media installations and stage-sets along with archival documents, costumes, paintings and memorabilia, it’s a highly immersive and entertaining experience that offers a wealth of insights into Casanova’s intriguing life, loves and legacy, as well as 18th Century Venice in general.

“FULVIO ROITER: PHOTOGRAPHS 1948-2007” AT CASA TRE OCI
“FULVIO ROITER: PHOTOGRAPHS 1948-2007” AT CASA TRE OCI

This Spring, the Casa Tre Oci gallery on Giudecca is presenting a major exhibition dedicated to the late, great Venetian photographer Fulvio Roiter.  Featuring over 200 iconic images spanning his entire career, it’s the most comprehensive showcase of Roiter’s work ever realised, and the first retrospective since his death in Venice in 2016.

Born in 1926 in Meolo, a small town in the municipality of Venice, Roiter first became interested in photography while studying to become a chemist.  His early attraction to the medium coincided with Italy’s post-war Neo-Realist movement, in which film-makers and photographers used their work to address the country’s social and economic concerns.  In 1948, Roiter met Paolo Monti – one of the founders of the Venetian photography group “La Gondola” – and following this seminal encounter, his passion for photography gradually developed into a lifelong profession

“FULVIO ROITER: PHOTOGRAPHS 1948-2007” AT CASA TRE OCI
“FULVIO ROITER: PHOTOGRAPHS 1948-2007” AT CASA TRE OCI

The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through Roiter’s career, beginning with some of his earliest works during his Neo-Realist period of the late 1940s, and continuing with photographs taken on his travels to far-flung places including the Amazon, Andalucia, Mexico, Iran and beyond.   The fundamental core of the show, however, is the powerful portfolio of iconic and incredibly beautiful images of Roiter’s beloved home city of Venice: the subject to which he returned time and again throughout his long life.

As the exhibition catalogue eloquently puts it, “The heart and soul of Fulvio Roiter’s work was Venice, the city that first invited his eyes to look through a viewfinder in order to bring to light what nobody had seen before. A magical city overflowing with history, the set for a film that had never been released but that soon everyone would want to see by walking along the alleys by the lagoon.

His photos had the power of a megaphone and managed to connect the city to the world. Venice was the research field where Roiter discovered his artistic identity precisely at the time when the city was being reborn through unusual and attractive images, through photographs that allowed the whole world to get to know its poetry and enchantment.” 

“Fulvio Roiter. Photographs 1948-2007” is on view at Casa Tre Oci until 26th August 2018.  For more information, visit www.treoci.org

“FULVIO ROITER: PHOTOGRAPHS 1948-2007” AT CASA TRE OCI