Ca’ Foscari is 150 years old

A palace that appears to be emerging from water, its facade decorated with unmistakeable floral Gothic, an unmarred sign of a great past. Of course, it is not the only one with this merit in Venice… but there is something today which further enhances the fascinating history which has seen it hosting doges, dukes and czars, but also artists, indigents and speculators, during the centuries.

Desired by doge Francesco Foscari towards the mid 1400s and built on the remains of a palace (the House of the Two Towers) donated by the Republic to Francesco Sforza, this palace – but perhaps it is better to call it a place – is known today to the world as the seat of one of the most prestigious European universities: Ca’ Foscari University.

And at the moment there is a particular occasion for remembering it.

In fact, one hundred and fifty years have gone by since 1868, two years after the Veneto was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, when the Royal Higher School of Commerce was founded, which is acknowledged as the most ancient business School in Italy, second in Europe only to Antwerp. Nowadays Ca’ Foscari can number over 20,000 enrolled students and eight departments, and can boast the rank of third Italian university for its results in research.

This important anniversary was celebrated a few days ago for the occasion of the opening of the Academic Year at La Fenice Theatre in the presence of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella. This occasion featured the presentation of its programme of initiatives and events, that will not only involve students and those specialised, but also citizens and guests in town.

 

Cult events of the cafoscarina season, like Civilizations Crossroads, the established International literature Festival, Art Night, a night at museums, the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival and the theatrical Season will see the addition of further opportunities: the show by Massimo Finazzer Flory which will take students on stage with Master Classes; the Writing laboratory by Tiziano Scarpa; the Ca’ Foscari Tour (guided tours, also in English); exhibition events. Among them, the exhibition on the Art of Dunhuang (recently opened) which is inaugurating a series of cultural and scientific initiatives in collaboration with Chinese universities.

Among the projects dedicated to the public there is also the “comeback” of Giambattista Tiepolo in the Auditorium at Ca’ Dolfin, the detached annexe of Ca’Foscari: a virtual tour which will bring the magnificence of a salon in the palace back to life thanks to state-of-the-art technology.

Two more initiatives will further enhance this important goal: the opening of new premises representing the Venetian University in India, Turkey, Brussels and Russia, following the one in Suzhou, in China, and a cycle of masterclass lectures held by seven “Nobel laureates” in the disciplines that characterise the University.

 

So far we have spoken of Ca’ Foscari, neglecting the usual presentation of other events this month. Let us end then, at least by recalling the art exhibitions.

At the Ca’ Pesaro museum of modern art, attention is focused on Gino Rossi, an extraordinary and dramatic figure of Twentieth century painting; at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection the protagonist is Marino Marini, a leader of Italian sculpture, always in the Twentieth century; the Monumental Rooms at the Marciana Library feature the cosmographer friar Vincenzo Coronelli, who offers us what the image of the world used to be in the 1600s; at the Galleries of the Accademia visitors may admire The final glory of Venice, a great exhibition organised for this institution’s bicentenary, with a few famous masterpieces, among other ones, by Antonio Canova.

And also… an exhibition tribute to the famed Venetian photographer Fulvio Roiter will open from the 16th of the month at the Casa dei Tre Oci, on the Giudecca; from the 18th, a great exhibition on the finalist works for the Arte Laguna Prize, in the scenographic spaces at the Tese, in the Arsenal; from the 21st, the sophisticated exhibition on Bellini/Mantegna presented by the Querini Stampalia Foundation, focusing on two “twin” artworks painted respectively by two great masters in the second half of the Fifteenth century.

 

Finally, the month of March will be closed on Easter Saturday (the 31st), by the inauguration of a new important exhibition project presented in the renewed spaces at Palazzo Zaguri (near campo San Maurizio), Venice Secrets, Crime and Justice, an appealing research with original items, reconstructions and documents, on an almost novel theme, at least for the wider public, regarding torture, the death penalty and the inquisition in the age of the Serene Republic.

Regarding this and all other occurrences, we are listing details on the following pages featuring events.

D.R.

X