Cycle of San Giovanni Evangelista by G. Bellini, Carpaccio, and others
Giovanni BelliniSacra Conversazione from San Giobbe
The Tempest by Giorgione
Portrait of a Young Man by Lorenzo Lotto
The Miracle of the Slave by Tintoretto
The Banquet in the House of Levi by Paolo Veronese
THE ACCADEMIA GALLERIES
The Accademia Galleries – a guided visit to the most important collection of Venetian painting in the world.
The museum, located at the foot of the Accademia Bridge, in the district of Dorsoduro, displays a complete overview on Venetian painting, also hosts an important group of drawings (including Leonardo’s ‘Vitruvian Man’) and sculptures (by Antonio Canova in particular).
We start in the first room with Paolo Veneziano’s altar-pieces, precious as jewels, still strongly in debt with the Byzantine tradition. It will be interesting to compare them with the works by Lorenzo Veneziano, stressing the accent on how the political changes in the asset of the Venetian Republic also caused a renovation in the artistic language.
The transition from typically Byzantine to International Gothic style went on between the 14th and the 15th centuries.
We’ll proceed through the Sala dell’Albergo, that boasts The Presentation of Mary in the Temple by Titian, where we’ll admire the fantastic 15th century carved wooden ceiling as well. Save Venice organization has carried on a thorough restoration completed in 2012.
Next room will bring us back to the Venice of the late 15th century: the enchanting tales of Gentile Bellini and Carpaccio, proceeding from the suppressed Scuola Grande of San Giovanni Evangelista, are an extraordinary document on the aspect of architectures, boats, people, objects, textiles, described with almost photographic precision.
Few steps away is another gem of the collection, the Stories of St Ursula by Carpaccio, where the vicissitudes of St Ursula give the occasion to describe the Venetian world itself.
Your guide will narrate the adventurous history of the Saint and will point out some interesting details.
The upper half of the ex-Church of Santa Maria della Carita’ showcases some large canvases, including the spectacular ‘Fisherman presenting a Ring to the Doge’, by Paris Bordone (1534), that came back from the Louvre, and frequently hosts temporary exhibitions.
In this wide space we can also admire some small size masterpieces which are amongst the most famous pieces in the collection.
The Tempest by Giorgione, Hans Memling’s ‘Portrait of a Young Man’, Giovanni Bellini’s ‘Madonna degli Alboretti’ will bring us into the world of Venetian Early Renaissance.
You’ll learn about the world of private collectors in Venice and about the different influences (Tuscan, Flemish, German) that gave birth to Venetian Renaissance painting.
Our journey into the Galleries has now brought us to the Golden Age of Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese. Some of the most spectacular rooms are devoted to these three great artists.
Our guide will sketch their personalities and illustrate the development of Venetian artduring the 16th century, framing it into the historic, socio-political, and economic moment. Attention will be given to peculiarities of Venetian painting as compared to other Italian and European schools.
Not to be missed Veronese’s ‘Banquet in the House of Levi’, ‘The Miracle of the Slave’ by Tintoretto and Titian’s last work, the’ Pieta’.
The great majority of the artworks come from churches, monasteries, confraternities (known as ‘Scuole’ or ‘Scuole grandi’ in Venice) that had suffered suppression, and in many cases also demolishing, under Napoleon.
The enlightened idea that the artistic production had to be accessible to anyone in large public museums was used to justify the massive Napoleonic spoliations and the transfer of a consistent number of top masterpieces to the Louvre.
Works such as ‘The Banquet in the House of Levi’ by Paolo Veronese or the ‘Sacra Conversazione’ painted by Giovanni Bellini for San Zaccaria, reputed to have international relevance, took their way to Paris, suffering serious damage during transportation.
Artworks that were considered of national interest were instead sent to the Brera Academy in Milan and were never returned.
The huge cycle of canvases that once decorated the walls of Scuola Grande San Marco was dismembered, part of the paintings in Milan, part of them here at the Galleries.
The works of art that were left in Venice were kept mostly for didactic purposes to be used by the Fine Arts Academy students.
The two institutions, the Fine Arts Academy and the Art Galleries where moved to the present complex of buildings (Church and Scuola Grande della Carita’, Monastery of the Lateran Canons by Andrea Palladio) in 1807 and the Accademia Galleries opened to the public for the first time in 1817.
Those were the years in which, thanks to Antonio Canova and to Leopoldo Cicognara, that directed the Academy for many years, some of the items looted by
Napoleon had been given back. Venice was at that moment under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The collection grew constantly through the years: some pieces arrived through private donations and others, including the Tempest by Giorgione, were acquired by the Academy mostly during the 20th century.
At this moment the Accademia Galleries are undergoing a long process of restoration and enlargement, that started in 2005 and not yet concluded (end of 2017).
As the Fine Arts Academy could be moved to another building, the area on the ground floor previously occupied by the classrooms was restored and partly opened to the public in 2015.
The new wing, coinciding with what’s left of the Palladian Monastery of the Lateran Canons displays the 18th and 19th centuriescollections, including works by Giambattista Tiepolo, Rosalba Carriera, Canaletto, Bellotto, Francesco Guardi, Francesco Hayez, Antonio Canova and more.
Cost of this tour
This tour lasts three hours and costs 280 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.