Venezia, Palazzo Ducale
From Saturday 25 March 2023
In cooperation with the Venice International Foundation
The ancient rooms of the picture gallery (Quadreria) in Palazzo Ducale are undergoing a major remodelling to house not only the masterpieces of the palace itself, but in addition a group of valuable canvases and panel paintings on long-term loan from a private collection.
The rearrangement of the rooms, whose current layout is from the 1970s, enriches the visitor route by showing part of the history of the Serenissima’s art collection in one of the palace’s most evocative apartments of rooms.
Before the fall of the Republic in 1797, the Palazzo Ducale housed an important group of paintings on canvas and wood collected by the doges, either made on commission or acquired through purchases or donations. Sources refer to works by Giovanni Bellini, Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), Jacopo Tintoretto and Hieronymus Bosch, many of which are now unfortunately lost or have passed to state institutions.
However, a number of fundamental paintings remain, bearing witness to the life of the Serenissima Republic, its symbols and its great artistic tradition, which inspired the arts throughout its thousand-year history, even beyond its borders. Paintings such as Carpaccio’s Leone marciano andante, Giambattista Tiepolo’s Venezia riceve da Nettuno i doni del mare, and Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà are absolute masterpieces by the greatest Venetian painters. Works by Flemish artists, such as Quentin Metsys’ magnificent Cristo deriso, or Inferno by Herri met de Bles (aka Il Civetta’), are rare examples of the Serenissima’s cultural relations with the rest of Europe.
These masterpieces acquire new life as a result of their staging, designed by world-renowned master architect and stage designer Pier Luigi Pizzi. The project provides an opportunity for in-depth scientific research in tracing the history of the doges’ collections and reconstructing the circumstances of the various commissions or purchases, with the aim of creating an archive for scholars and the public.