Suggestions for an artistic itinerary through collections and masterpieces
The furniture in the room comprises carved and gilded pieces that date from the early 18th century. Among the masterpieces exhibited in this room, there is a small painting by Pietro Longhi which shows Pope Clement XIII (Carlo Rezzonico) granting an audience to his nephews Carlo and Lodovico and his niece Faustina and a portrait of the same pope by Anton Raphael Mengs; it was produced in the period July-December 1758, during the months immediately after the pope’s election (on July 16).
Among the masterpieces that can be admired in these rooms there is the New World, signed and dated 1791. The scene is striking: it represents, seen from the rear, a small crowd waiting to peer into a kind of “cosmorama” or “diorama” to see pictures and scenes of a distant world. To modern eyes the painting has an unsettling power: the air of expectation, the lack of faces, the metaphysical simplicity of the landscape and the huckster’s booth all make this painting an emblematic and moving testimony to a state of foreboding, mingled with curiosity and amazement aroused by a new world still unknown.
On the ceiling, the canvas by Tiepolo comes from Ca’ Pesaro and belongs to an early phase of the artist’s career, in the 1730s. The combined presence of Zephyr – one of the four winds – and the goddess of flowers alludes to spring and thus to fecundity. The colours are brilliant and transparent; the virtuoso skill of the brushwork brings out the sensuous flesh-tones and emphasises pleasing contrasts in the colour effects.
The series of paintings by Pietro Longhi on the walls presents amorous encounters and scenes from everyday life: he shows us patricians and peasants, a visit to the painter’s study, a barber at work, scenes of domestic conversation, “exotic and monstrous” curiosities, family-groups and concerts; a whole repertoire of ordinary situations, events and entertainments.
In his paintings, Longhi’s investigative eye seeks out the modes and manners of a highly cultivated civilisation but is far from being indulgent with the world he represents: he almost ruthlessly dissects the empty customs and pompous foibles of his characters and their world. He excels above all in domestic interiors, as lucid and rational in their own way as Canaletto’s exterior views.
The pharmacy consists of three intercommunicating rooms. The first one is the shop itself and has 183 vases in decorated majolica,coming from the Venetian Cozzi factory. The second room contains the laboratory, with a fire-place and stove, in addition to alembics in fine glass, from the Murano furnaces.
FONDAZIONE MUSEI CIVICI DI VENEZIA
Bruno Bernardi, Barbara Nino, Roberto Zuccato
Google Cultural Institute Exhibition curated by
Alessandro Paolinelli, Silvia Catani