Category Archives: Exhibitions & Museums

A Millennium of Glass Mastery at the Correr

“The Adventure of Glass,” a brilliant exhibition of Venetian glass and the largest of its type since 1982, is at the Museo Correr through April 25th.

Most everyone who comes to Venice knows that Murano is famous for art glass production, though not many know why, or even what distinguishes it from any other sort of glass. Too few visitors portion out their limited time to become even mildly informed of the fascinating +1000-year history of Venetian glass — short of taking a “free” taxi ride offered by every lodging and guide in the city to a single commissioning furnace. What a pity.

Fear not, curious visitor: fi you’re traveling to Venice through April 25th, you’ll want to take in “The Adventure of Glass.” It’s a captivating and inspired exhibition at the Museo Correr, a reworked continuation of the one just ended at the Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento.

The exhibition coincides with the imminent celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Museo del Vetro on Murano (a too often overlooked introduction to Murano glass), founded in 1861 by Abbot Zanetti, whose permanent collection houses many of the works on view at the Correr.

One of the most fascinating and surprising portions of the exhibit is the ancient glass recovered from lagoon and canal beds – on display for the first time, and attesting to just how long glass has been an integral part of the Venetian identity. They comprise some of the over three hundred objects you’ll peruse that include archeological glass (Roman and early Venetian), works from the Golden Age of the 15th-16th centuries to the inventive 17th and 18th centuries applying its elaborate, imaginative ingenuity to both form and material composition. After the subsequent decline, the modern renaissance of the 19th-20th centuries demonstrate how designers and glass masters began to collaborate to combine contemporary perspectives with the art form’s rich past to not only revive, but re-invent it with ingenious new techniques.

Note too, that during Carnevale (from the first week in February), over one hundred more items from the Maschietto collection will be added: presented in Venice for the first time, and combined with a selection of 18th century drawings from the Correr collections appropriate to Carnevale.

The Adventure of Glass: A Millennium of Venetian Art
Museo Correr, Piazza San Marco
Through April 25th, 2011
10am – 6pm, last entrance pm
Tickets €8 / €5 reduced

Click the image below to view the slideshow:

Photographs © Nan McElroy

Safet Zec: Powerful Painting at the Correr

Doors and drapes, boats and baskets, paints and potatoes, Venetian façades: silent, radiant objects speak volumes to viewers at the Correr until July 18th.

ZEC 038.jpg

Even though he’s acclaimed internationally, has had an atelier in Venice since 1998, and painted for decades in Sarajevo and Pocitelj (near Mostar), you still may not know the engaging, evocative works of Bosnian artist Safet Zec.

ZEC 04.jpgIf you don’t, this adeptly curated exhibition would be the perfect occasion to make his acquaintance. These engrossing pieces vary widely in subject matter, medium, and presentation; some never before on exhibit. Visitors are routed past intimate watercolor studies and reflective pen and pencil sketches that are not only marvelous in their own right, but as precursors offer insight into the series of rich, almost life-sized watercolor, tempura, and oil depictions that follow.

ZEC 012.jpgThe abundance of natural light filtering through the white mesh panels on the upper floor of the Correr is particularly complementary to a radiance that seems to emanate from almost every painting. Adding another dimension is the frequent and unexpected use of carta intelata: newsprint or other common paper stock treated to serve as canvas. It seeps and peers though images and brush strokes, incorporating itself seamlessly to become an integral part of the whole.

“I like that something discarded, dirty, and  of little apparent value serves as the base for a work with grander intent,” says Zec. The result of his unique approach and intuitive, impressionable eye is a powerful, delicate, fascinating collection of paintings that seem to exude the very essence of their subject matter, making them a pleasure to behold.

Safet Zec: The Power of Painting

Through July 18

Museo Correr

10 – 6 p.m. (last entrance at 5 pm)

Razzle Dazzle

marquis_car_tognon.jpgOn the off years of the art (as opposed to architecture) edition of the Venice Biennale, contemporary art fans can find themselves a bit lost here. There’s the Guggenheim, of course, and Pinault’s collection at Palazzo Grassi plus the works housed his restoration of the Punto della Dogana; and Ca’ Pesaro at the opposite end of the Grand Canal. Come of the smaller private galleries can get overlooked, unfortunately, because they don’t necessarily present Venetian-themed things, but nonetheless exhibit works that at least for contemporary art enthusiast would be worth seeking out.

gallery1.jpg One of these galleries is Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea, located in the luminous Palazzo da Ponte in the Calle del Dose, just off Campo San Maurizio. Caterina, in collaboration with Grainne Sweeney of the National Glass Centre in the UK, is currently hosting works by glass artist Richard Marquis until July 3rd.


photo Allegretto

These two series of marvelous, fanciful works have the unlikely inspirations of wartime razzle-dazzle ship camouflage, and the bubbly race cars that blistered the Bonneville Salt Flats in a bygone era. I wouldn’t dare delve into further explanations; suffice it to say that the show is easy recommendation for anyone from enthusiast to collector.

Richard Marquis – Razzle Dazzle Man

until July 3rd

Tue – Sat, 10 – 1, 3 – 7:30

Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea

Cities, Silk, and Samurai: don’t forget the Fortuny

Doge’s Palace, La Basilica, the Salute, the Frari: the list of Venice must-sees is far too long for most travelers to take them all in during their allotted sightseeing time. Needless to say, the less-famous, must-see-if-you-can-squeeze-them-in venues are too rarely enjoyed by the one-time visitor; for those who return, or become regular Venice devotees, they eventually begin to dot the sightseeing horizon.

One of these gems is the Museo Fortuny, once home and laboratory to the extraordinary Mariano Fortuny — painter, photographer; textile, lamp, and garment designer. Belonging once to the Pesaro family and donated to the city in 1956 by his wife Henriette, the palace has been transformed into a lean, evocative exhibition space and inviting museum. The permanent collection includes lamps, wall hangings, paintings, furniture, and Fortuny’s own laboratory, maintained in a manner that you expect Fortuny himself to return at any moment and start work on some engaging project.

Now is the perfect time to discover the Fortuny if you haven’t yet got around to it: until July 18th, it’s hosting three exhibits that are not only intriguing in their own right, but are also highly complementary each other. The first is City of Cities, by Francesco Candeloro. Wander through city scapes of multicolored, multidimensional floor and wall installations of plexiglass, laser-cut motifs and UV-printed images; a show designed for the space itself.

The floor above houses Silk and Velvet, an intoxicating showcase of Fortuny’s famously sensuous, finely-pleated (plissé) silk Delphos dresses and accompanying garments — all displayed in the space where they were created. The third exhibit on the top floor is Samurai, a fascinating collection of surprisingly varied, intricately decorated, elaborately crafted armor, helmets, and accessories worn by the powerful Japanese Samarai military, of the Koelliker collection in Milan. Scanning the rows of assembled armor and carved masks, admiring the expert workmanship, you almost expect these warrior figures to leap up, with swords raised high, and charge the crowd.

At the Museo Fortuny

  • Until July 18th
  • €9 includes museum entrance and all exhibitions
  • Closed Tuesdays

(And while you’re there, make sure to seek out the open door in the back corner of the second floor…then let us know what you find there. It’s completely unexpected…)




Emerging from Hibernation, Leonardo in Proportion

200910121231.jpgThe Vitruvian Man (1490), perhaps the most famous of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, always resides at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. It is not, however, always on display (five-hundred year-old paper must be preserved). In fact, the last possibility to view this work was over seven years ago.

It’s time has come, however. If you’ll be in Venice between now and just after the first of the year, you’ll be able to view this celebrated study of human proportions envisioned from notes of Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio (…the distance from the bottom of the neck to the hairline is one-sixth of a man’s height, the maximum width of the shoulders is a quarter of a man’s height, the distance from the middle of the chest to the top of the head is a quarter of a man’s height…), with Leonardo’s own notes in his equally-famous mirror writing, through January 10, 2010.

The Vitruvian Man (Uomo vitruviano)

Gallerie dell’Accademia
Dorsoduro 1050 (just off the Accademia Bridge in the Campo della Carità)
041 520 0345

Through January 10, 2010

Mon, 8:15 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Tue – Sun, 8:15 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Last entrance is 45 minutes prior to closing.

€8,50 (+1€ to reserve)
Reservations may be made by phone at the number above, or online.