With the blossoming of spring and the arrival of the Easter holidays, Venice opens its doors to its great season at last. In addition to the pleasures suggested by the possibility of experiencing the city outdoors, perhaps seeking hidden corners or natural surroundings like the ones offered by the lagoon and the sea, there is an opportunity, even more so during this period, to discover the city through the events it offers in art, history, music, sport and traditions.
An example of this is the important exhibition recently opened in the Ducal Palace that the Venice City Museums Foundation wished to dedicate to Vittore Carpaccio, one of the great figureheads of the Venetian Renaissance during the era of a Republic, the Serenissima, at its economic and cultural zenith.
Born from a close partnership with the prestigious Washington National Gallery of Art (where it was recently hosted), thanks to a substantial core of drawings this Venetian exhibition focuses on the reconstruction of the painter’s artistic and creative path, from his first youthful artworks to the highest ones of his maturity. In addition to a thematic itinerary, there are two special city circuits, an essential chapter in the painter’s famed narrative cycles: the Sant’Orsola one, visible at the Galleries of the Accademia, and the one depicting the episodes in the lives of Saints George, Jerome and Tryphon, preserved at the Dalmatian School.
The exhibition scenario does not however end here, as other important exhibitions, open this month, confirm Venice amongst the most sought-after art cities of the moment, interlacing ancient art with the modern and the contemporary.
Then (from 1st April), the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is presenting its exhibition on Edmondo Bacci entitled Energy and Light, a showcase ideally continuing the cycle dedicated to figures of the Italian art scene after World War II, who so attracted the famous American patron.
The exhibition, packed with about eighty works, many of which have never been exhibited before, is offered as an insight into the most lyrical part of the Venetian artist’s work, the one focused on the evolution of that language of colour-and-light which led him to the apex of his career towards the Fifties.
Immediately afterwards, on 2 April, still along the Grand Canal, the focus will shift a few paces towards the scene of another interesting exhibition held at Punta della Dogana, a spectacular space dedicated to the artworks belonging to the Pinault Collection. Icons, this is the title, will focus on all image dimensions, between figuration and abstraction, that represent the current artistic context.
The other major exhibition, Chronorama, presented by the Pinault Foundation, in the prestigious headquarters of Palazzo Grassi, has already been open since mid-March. Featuring photography, it is presenting a world-premiere selection of 400 pictures on themes, phenomena and figureheads who characterised the past century. This collection comes from the famous Condé Nast archive, recently acquired in part by the Pinault Foundation.
Other exhibitions confirm photography as the queen of the moment. Fans, and not only, may choose between two important retrospectives dedicated to as many famous women: Swiss photographer Inge Morath, a correspondent of the famous Magnum Agency, and iconic 1900 woman Lee Miller, a model, photographer and war reporter, and among other things, the companion of Man Ray. Two great opportunities, presented respectively at Palazzo Grimani and Palazzo Franchetti.
In addition to those, still for photography, are the first exhibition in Italy dedicated to Graziano Arici and his vast archive, recently purchased by the Venetian Querini Stampalia Foundation and presented here in part, and the one dedicated instead to Ugo Mulas, in tribute to fifty years from his demise, inaugurating the new “Photography Rooms” at the Giorgio Cini Foundation.
Completing the exhibition panorama, at least for the larger institutions, is the “Of Monstrous Faces and Caricatures.” from Leonardo da Vinci to Bacon collection of drawings presented at Palazzo Loredan by the Ligabue Foundation; the Arte Laguna Prize finalists’ exhibition, the award dedicated to new contemporary trends, hosted within the evocative Arsenal spaces; the exhibition dedicated to lagoon painting represented by the historic Burano Prize, at the Bevilacqua La Masa Gallery. Finally, different from all others and everything, is A World of Potential, an engaging interactive exhibition focusing on the potential of the human mind in the new headquarters at the Procuratie Vecchie.
Of course there are many other opportunities in addition to exhibitions. Regarding music there is La Fenice Theatre packed programme; for sport, the suggestive Venice Night Trail night run and the festive non-competitive march Up and Down Bridges; for fashion, the Venice Fashion Week is dedicated to excellence in the territory; regarding culture, the Civilization Crossroads International Literature Festival promoted by Ca’ Foscari University and finally, for traditions, Fête of Saint Mark dedicated to the patron saint of the town, on 25 April.