Venice may be flooded with contemporary art this summer, but there are also plenty of exhibitions that will appeal to those with more of an interest in Venice’s cultural history and heritage. One such exhibition is Serenissime Trame at Ca’ d’Oro – the Gothic palace on the Grand Canal known as the “House of Gold” due to the fact that its spectacular facade was once covered with spectacular gold leaf
On view until 23rd July, this beautifully-curated exhibition presents a display of rare Oriental carpets drawn from the collections of Romain Zaleski and Giorgio Franchetti – the last owner of Ca’ d’Oro. Alongside the textiles, the exhibition also showcases a number of fine Renaissance paintings that depict examples of these carpets, illustrating their popularity in Europe and especially in Venice during the time of the Serenissima Republic.
Originally woven in countries as far afield as Persia, Egypt, India and Anatolia, Oriental carpets travelled to Europe via the legendary Silk Route, ending up in Venice which – for many years – served as the centre of the world’s luxury goods market. Highly prized amongst the Courts of Europe, the carpets frequently appear in paintings of the period – often draped at the foot of a heavenly throne, or displayed in a domestic setting to symbolise the wealth and social status of the painting’s sitter or patron.
When visiting the exhibition, be sure to visit Ca’ d’Oro’s astonishing ground-floor courtyard, which is paved with a vast carpet of multi-coloured marbles that echo the exquisite textiles on view in the galleries above.
Insider tip: If you’re in Venice on the first Sunday of any month of the year, you can visit the museum for free – a long with many other State Museums such as the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Archaeological Museum of Venice and Oriental Art Museum at Ca’ Pesaro.
PLUS: DONT’S MISS Woven Forms at Palazzo Benzon
At another historic palazzo a little further down the Grand Canal, you’ll find a second exhibition dedicated to the art of carpet design – but this time displaying works produced in the 21st century.
Curated by the American gallery R and Company in association with Italian carpet company Amini, the exhibition presents a diverse array of stylish, experimental designs from international artists including the Haas Brothers, Thaddeus Wolfe, Renate Müller and Katie Stout.