ACCADEMIA GALLERY, Scuola Della Carita'

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English / USA Language: English / USA

As I mentioned, the Academy of Fine Arts and its subsequent Gallery were established in a building with extensive history, and during this tour you passed through many ancient rooms which have been properly enhanced by the museum's set-up.

The most fascinating room, coincidentally also at the end of the tour, is the 15th century Sala dell'Albergo of the ancient Scuola della Carità: these schools were typical Venetian welfare associations. Even after being incorporated into the Academy, this room kept its original features including its furnishings: admire the beautiful carved and gilded ceiling, the paintings along the walls, and the woodwork. It's a kind of grand finale for the museum that underlines its connection with Venice's artistic history.

Look closely at the reliquary made by Venetian goldsmiths. It is a fine assembly of parts made in Constantinople in the 14th century; you can see four caskets made of rock crystal with fragments of the cross and the Robe of Christ, mounted in a frame with enamels depicting scenes from the Passion. The reliquary was so famous that you can find it very precisely reproduced in a painting by Gentile Bellini.

As you can see, one wall is entirely covered by a large pictorial composition by Antonio Vivarini that is divided into three parts. It shows the Madonna enthroned among angels and saints, and deserves your attention because it is one of the first Venetian paintings made on canvas. The vast scenery is filled with gold and decorations, according to late Gothic style.

Look at the wall with two doors, where you'll see the large Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, painted by Titian in 1538. In the master's long career, this is the only painting he did for the Schools, and it is different from all of his other works. The action is developed lengthwise and set in a theatrical fashion, with numerous figures that seem to be more actors than real characters. Regardless, if you compare Vivarini's work with the canvas by Titian, you can get a really good idea of the evolution Venetian painting underwent in less than a century.


FUN FACT: you can see mountains in the background of Titian's painting, which have been identified as the Marmarole Mountains, a group of the Dolomites in his homeland, Cadore. On nice days, Titian could even see their silhouette from his Venetian workshop that was located where the Fondamena Nuova neighborhood can now be found.

And with this we have finished our tour of the Accademia Gallery: MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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