November between art and tradition

The languid gaze of two lovers, Rinaldo and Armida, the characters of a famous passage in Italian literature, the one in “Gerusalemme liberata” by Torquato Tasso.

They are depicted in their lovers’ imagery by Francesco Hayez, who was very young at the time, a Venetian painter who would go down in history as an innovative and multifaceted artist. Preserved at the Galleries of the Accademia in Venice, this painting is the symbol of an exhibition which embodies an important value for the city nowadays: it marks the bicentennial celebrations year for this Venetian museum, the Gallerie of the Accademia themselves.

Canova, Hayez, Cicognara. The final glory of Venice”, the title of this exhibition that will be open until 2nd April 2018, is flooring the intention to reassert a revival of the millennial history of the city through a new cultural season, following the end of the Serene Republic (1797), starting from a great museum with an important collection of works. The initiators of this reassertion, springing from an important episode such as the return on the part of France of the famous equestrian quadriga of St. Mark’s (1815), were three men: Antonio Canova, an absolute master of neoclassicism and mentor of the project; count Leopoldo Cicognara, an intellectual and the first president of the Academy of Fine Arts and Francesco Hayez himself, the spearhead of Italian Romantic painting, who was able to impart a character, between the values of historic heritage and the art of his period, to this new museum.

The exhibition, set out in nine themed sections, is presenting about one hundred artworks to the public and, for the first time after 200 years, of the series of artefacts sent in 1818 to the Viennese court for the fourth wedding of emperor Francis I, known as the “Veneto Provinces Tribute”: including the famous Polymnia Muse by Canova. One single ticket will also offer the opportunity of exploring the wonderful collections at the museum.

This is one of the many opportunities offered by the Venetian exhibitions scene of this period. Among the other ones, we may recall the Art Biennale, still for this month, spread out over the vast spaces at the Giardini and the Arsenal, but also in many venues scattered throughout the town (until the 27th); The Captain Lied, a complex exhibition project by the Prada Foundation at Ca’ Corner della Regina (until the 26th); Intuition, an exhibition between the past and the contemporary, with artworks from the Vervoordt collection, at Palazzo Fortuny (until the 27th); Magister Giotto, a spectacular story in words, music and images dedicated to one of the masters of Italian medieval painting (until the 23rd).


Instead, the great exhibition project by Damien Hirst, set up between the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi is continuing; the first exhibition ever to be have been dedicated to Mystical Symbolism, TheSalon de la Rose+Croixin Paris 1892–1898, presented by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection; the sparkling exhibition on the “Treasures of the Moghuls and Maharajas” from the Al Thani Collections at the Doge’s Palace; the Gold art masterpieces by Buccellati at the monumental Salons in the Marciana Library; the sophisticated Transparent glass by Vittorio Zecchin at the Cini Foundation, the reportage photographs by Werner Bischof at the Casa dei tre Oci at the Giudecca.

A particularly heartfelt event in town may be added to the November scenario of exhibitions and shows, all or almost all of them featured in the following pages: the Fête of the Madonna della Salute or Health. This recurrence, scheduled on Tuesday 21st November, will feature the construction of a floating bridge between the two quays of the Grand Canal to allow the pilgrimage of a crowd going to perform its traditional act of worship to the Madonna. A different opportunity for getting to know the city…