GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA

Venice

The Gallerie dell’Accademia is housed in the historic complex of Santa Maria della Carità dating back to the 13th century. It is compromised of a church, monestary, and the first Scuola Grande.
There are a few rooms from the original scuola that have been integerated into the musuem, including the entrance, the albergo (where the governing body met) and the former chapter house.
The church and the monastery underwent several waves of renovation during the fifteenth century. In 1560 Andrea Palladio modified the eastern wing of the monastery again.
The buildings housing the Scuola Grande were renovated in the second half of the eighteenth century.
After the fall of the Republic, the Santa Maria della Carità complex became the property of the state and in 1807, was designated as the site of the Academy of fine arts, following an edict by Napoleon.

 

The Museum Houses the Largest collection of Paintings by Venetian Renaissance Artists in the World

Antonello da Messina, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, Canaletto, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Longhi, Lotto, Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese and many others

I've highlighted my top 10 to keep visit under 1 hour

1   8   10  11  12  13  16  20  21  23

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20. COPY ANNUNCIATION: DE SALIBA (MESSINA NEPHEW) (1490)

This is a radical change for the fifteenth century Annunciation. Normally, the event is depicted as Mary being visited by the angel Gabriel, telling her she will be impregnated by the holy spirit and will bear God's son, Jesus.

This was attributed to Messina during his time in Venice from 1475-76, But it is an almost identical copy, made by his nephew Antonello de Saliba about 25 years later in 1500. The original is in Palermo.

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1. ST GIOBBE ALTARPIECE: GIO BELLINI (1487)

This painting was made for the Church of San Giobbe (Venice). It is called a "sacra conversazione". A group of saints communicating wihthout words.

In 1485, this was considered unique for a number of reasons:
- it was one of the largest sacra conversazione paintings for it's time
-it was designed in situ to fit in with the surrounding architecture of the church (a first for Bellini).
-typical at this time, a group of saints would be portrayed in a heavenly realm, here Bellini brings them right down to earth

The painting would have been surrounded by pillars similar to those in the painting creating the illusion that The Virgin, Christ and all the saints were within reach of the worshipper.

This painting remained in the church until about 1818 when Napaleon stole it and took it to France. When it was returned, it went to the Accademia.

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8. THE TEMPTEST: GIORGIONE (1506-1508)

The scene was painted in the early 1500s and among the first paintings to be labeled a “landscape” in Western art history.

The subject matter remains a mystery, much like Giorgione himself who died in his thirties. He is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are firmly attributed to him. Vasari claims he was Titian’s master. In contrast, another art historian, Ridolfi, says they both were pupils of Giovanni Bellini and lived in his house.

The first known owner of The Tempest was the wealthy Venetian nobleman and soap merchant Gabriele Vendramin (who also was the first owner of The Vecchiata). The Tempest likely expressed it's owner’s personal magnificence & cultured taste.

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13. PIETA: TITIAN (1575-1576)

The Pietà is the very last masterpiece by Titian. The artist painted it for the Chapel of Christ in the Frari in exchange for burial rites inside.

At his death, however, the painting was unfinished and was passed to one of his pupils, Palma il Giovane.

In 1631 the canvas was transferred to the Church of Sant'Angelo, now destroyed, and finally to the Accademia in 1814.

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21. PRESENTATION OF MARY: TITIAN (1534-38)

According to apocryphal gospels Mary was just 3 years old when her parents offered her to the Temple, which was not to be an unusual custom at that time. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Mother of God.

It is thought that some Jews who were especially devoted, would give their daughters for service in the Temple. At a young age, these girls would be dedicated to the High Priest and would care for the linens, the vestments, and other such duties. There is doubt as to whether there were really consecrated Jewish virgins at the Temple.

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14. 10000 MARTYRS: CARPACCIO (1515)

Piled up with figures twisted in torture, Vittore Carpaccio‘s The Crucifixion and Apotheosis of the Ten Thousand Martyrs of Mt Ararat is a narrative cycle condensed into a single altarpiece. The canvas is filled with random episodes from the medieval legend about Roman soldiers who converted to Christianity and were then sent to die in a colonial outpost that once was Armenia.

The Christian legend tells the story of a Roman legion which was sent to fight Armenian rebels during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. After an initial defeat, the soldiers converted to Christianity and afterwards were able to prevail on the battlefield. They were ordered by their commander to worship pagan gods, but the soldiers refused. They were made to march up the holy mountain and were crucified en masse. Despite its dubious veracity, the event was hugely popular in Renaissance art.

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THE PHARMACIST: LONGHI (1752)

Pietro Longhi is khown for his detailed depictions of Venetian society.

This scene takes place inside an apothecary shop. The painter, Longhi also worked as a pharmacist at times, and even as doctor if necessary.

It appears the women is getting a rather public exam.( bad tooth, singer, sore throat?). To the right his apprentice writes a prescription and to the left his young assistant prepares the medication. A friar and nobleman are seated waiting their turn.

The shelves are lined with Majolica vases.

In the background is a copy of The Nativity by Antonio Balestra which was hanging in an apothecary shop in Chioggia. Did Longhi study under him or live in Chioggia?

The shop has shelves full of apothecary jars; a painting of the Nativity hangs above a doorway; an aloe plant (then known for its purification of the blood) is in the foreground along with a small burner and bellows

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18. APPARITION: CARPACCIO (1512)

In 1511, Francesco Ottobon, a prior of the Venetian monastery of St Antonio di Castello, had a dream in which he saw himself at prayer in the monastery church. In the dream, the doors suddenly opened and there was lot's of loud noise outside. He saw a multitude of men, carrying crosses, began to walk up the aisle in procession. At the main altar they knelt, and were blessed by St Peter. They passed through, "two by two, resounding sweetly in hymns and songs". Ottobon recognised the stream of pilgrims in his dream as the 10,000 martyrs of Mount Ararat.

He also commissioned this painting and another one by Carpaccio of the event at Mount Ararat.

Notice the details in the church: dangling ex-votos, thanksgiving offerings, effigies of bones and body-parts and model ships (signifying the donor's delivery from accident, disease or shipwreck?)

Carpaccio animates the procession like a cartoon, putting the advancing figures in a sequence of poses that break down their actions in a stage-by-stage way - gradually sinking to their knees as they approach the altar, rising again, passing on either side of it, and finally moving on.

Ottobon is the little man in white, kneeling at the railing at the left of the painting.

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5. ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL: TITIAN (?1510's)

This piece by Titian illustrates a scene from the Old Testament Book of Tobit. The story follows a young man named Tobias who was sent to a distant land to collect a debt for his blind father. The Archangel Raphael accompanies Tobias on his journey as a guide and companion. The angel helps Tobias catch a large fish with healing properties in order to cure Tobias’ blind father and to defeat an evil spirit that haunts a young women. This tale explains why Archangel Raphael is the patron of healing, travelers and support.

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7. LA VECCHIA: GIORGIONE (about 1508)

This painting is unusual, unlike the idealized female images of the Renaissance. A message written on a scroll is tucked into the cuff of the woman's sleeve: "Col Tempo" -- "With Time." Like the message she seems ravaged with time, wrinkly, worn down teeth, thinning hair and skin.

According to legend, it is said to depict Giorgione's mother, but not much is known about this artist.

It is thought to have been commissioned by Gabriele Vendramin. He was a Venetian collector in the 1500's and the younger brother to Andrea Vendramin, the Doge renowned for jumping into the Rialto to save the Relic of the True Cross.

The original frame has the Vendramin family crest in the bottom centre.

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4. COLONNADE: CANNALETO (1765)

In 1763, Canaletto was accepted as a member of the Venetian Academy. It was the custom for an artist to present the Academy with a painting after he was admitted. Canaletto chose to paint what would be his last capriccio scene. (an architectural fantasy, placing together buildings, archaeological ruins and other architectural elements in fictional and often fantastical combinations)

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12. ABDUCTION OF THE BODY OF ST MARK: TINTORETTO (1566)

Historians believe St Mark went to Alexandria, Egypt, in 49 A.D. and was martyred there 19 years later. In 828 AD, 2 merchants brought his body back to Venice.

This painting recounts the moment when the merchants saved his body from being burned by the pagans. Thanks to a sudden miraculous hailstorm, the persecutors flee from the scene and the merchants carry St Mark away.

The scene in this painting is supposed to take place in Alexandria, Egypt. However, the architecture in this painting is quite similar to the Piazza San Marco in 16th-century Venice.

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10. FEAST OF LEVI: VERONNESE (1573)

This is a great story!!!

Originally, the subject of the painting was the "Last Supper". Unfortunately, Veronese's interpretation of this Biblical event was highly controversial.

In July 1573, Veronese finished his last supper but the painting was found to be distasteful. After a trial from the inquisition, Veronese was told he had 3 months to make changes to his painting and get rid of the disturbing parts. Instead, he simply changed the title from the Last Supper to the Feast in the House of Levi, still an episode from the gospels but less doctrinally central, and one in which the gospels specified sinners as present.

This solution satisfied the Inquisition.

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6. LION OF ST MARK: CONEGLIANO (1518)

The painting hung in the Palazzo Camerlenghi, which was the headquarters for several financial magistrates in the 1500's. It comes from the Messetaria magistrate responsible for collecting duty on all commercial contracts.

The winged lion, one paw on the Gospels, stands on the seashore between SS. John the Baptist (holding a tiny lamb on a book), John the Evangelist (with his Gospel), Mary Magdalene (with her jar of ointment) and Jerome (studying the scriptures).

The inscription reads:
"Peace be unto you, Mark, my evangelist." According to legend, this is what an angel in the form of a winged lion said to St Mark who was shipwrecked in the lagoons near Venice, announcing that his body would rest there.

The lion stands on both land and water
reflecting Venice's amphibious nature and its power both on land and water.

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15. MIRACLE OF TRUE CROSS: CARPACCIO (1496)

In 1366 the Patriarch of Constantinople gave a fragment of the True Cross (small piece of wood from the Cross on which Jesus was crucified) to Philippe de Mézières of Cyprus, who in turn donated it in 1369 to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, a charitable confraternity founded in Venice in 1261. This soon became the most celebrated relic in Venice.

To commemorate the many miracles that the relic was credited with performing, the scuola commissioned a cycle of 9 paintings. They were to be displayed in the Scuola's great hall and depict the miracles that were attributed to this fragment of wood. All but 1 are now housed here in room XX.

-Vittore Carpaccio, Miracle of the Holy Cross at the Rialto Bridge (The Healing of the Madman) (1494)
-Giovanni di Niccolò Mansueti, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio (c. 1494)
-Lazzaro Bastiani, The Relic of the Holy Cross is offered to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista (c. 1494)
-Gentile Bellini, Procession of the True Cross in piazza San Marco (1496)
-Gentile Bellini, Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo (1500)
-Gentile Bellini, Healing of Pietro dei Ludovici (1501)
-Giovanni Mansueti, The Miraculous Healing of the Daughter of Benvegnudo of San Polo (c. 1505)
-Benedetto Diana, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross (1505–1510)

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3. MADONNA OF SMALL TREE: GIO BELLINI (1487)

The two small trees on either side of the Virgin give the painting its name. They contrast with the dead bushes next to them, maybe like the Old and New Testaments.

Bellini often placed the Virgin in front of a green curtain when in standing. Maybe because when the Virgin is portrayed on a throne, sometimes she is seen sitting on a green tapestry.

The lighting in the foreground vs background is different. In the foreground, the light comes from the right and the Virgin's shadow is visible on the fabric. In contrast, the background light is diffuse and spreads no shadow.

The panel, the first known work by Bellini to bear a date, is signed and dated under the feet of the Child: IOANNES.BELLINUS.P. / 1487

Bellini often portrayed the VM standing behind a ledge.

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11. MIRACLE OF THE SLAVE: TINORETTO (1548)

The Miracle of the Slave was commissioned by the Scuola Grande di San Marco in 1548 to decorate their Chapter Hall.

It represents the story of a slave subjected to torture by his master because he was caught praying on the tomb of St Mark. The torturer attempted to blind him and fracture his legs. The miraculous intervention of St Mark, patron of the city, broke the instruments used to torture the slave and spared him.

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16. MIRACLE OF TRUE CROSS: GEN BELLINI (1500)

In 1366 the Patriarch of Constantinople gave a fragment of the True Cross (fragment of wood from the Cross on which Jesus was crucified) Philippe de Mézières of Cyprus, who in turn donated it in 1369 to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, a charitable confraternity founded in Venice in 1261. This soon became the most celebrated relic in Venice.

To commemorate the many miracles that the relic was credited with performing, the scuola commissioned a cycle of 9 paintings. They were to be displayed in the Scuola's great hall and depict the miracles that were attributed to this fragment of wood. All but 1 are now housed here in room XX.

Vittore Carpaccio, Miracle of the Holy Cross at the Rialto Bridge (The Healing of the Madman) (1494)
Giovanni di Niccolò Mansueti, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio (c. 1494)
Lazzaro Bastiani, The Relic of the Holy Cross is offered to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista (c. 1494)
Gentile Bellini, Procession of the True Cross in piazza San Marco (1496)
Gentile Bellini, Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo (1500)
Gentile Bellini, Healing of Pietro dei Ludovici (1501)
Giovanni Mansueti, The Miraculous Healing of the Daughter of Benvegnudo of San Polo (c. 1505)
Benedetto Diana, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross (1505–1510)

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9. PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN: LOTTO (1530)

The young man, dressed in an elegant, elaborate dark suit is shown standing while he leans against a large table viewed side-on and leafs through a large book with a mournful/serious expression. It has been interpreted to show the contrast of his movement in life from youth to adulthood and all he is leaving behind, including lost love.

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4. MADONNA & SAINT CATHERINE & MARY MAGDALENE: GIO BELLINI (ABT 1490)

This sacra conversazione is different from Bellini's others. It takes place in an indistinct setting, a darkened room where the figures seems to glow.

The work was intended for private devotion and Bellini may have portrayed 2 Venetian patrician women, dressed and posing as St Catherine of Alexandria and young Mary Magdalene.

Bellini depicted the Saints without their usual characteristic attributes. St Catherine without her crown, sword, palm, or wheel. Mary Magdalene,without a skull, long hair, palm branch or a pot for unguent. He used other elements to indicate their identity. Saint Catherine has pearls in her hair, which symbolizes purity, delight, health, wealth, belief, and happiness in marriage; all of these refer to her virtues. Mary-Magdalene has a black garment, symbolizing immorality, wrongness, humility, and penance.

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17. PROCESSION TRUE CROSS IN ST MARK SQUARE: GEN BELLINI (1496)

In 1366 the Patriarch of Constantinople gave a fragment of the True Cross (fragment of wood from the Cross on which Jesus was crucified) to Philippe de Mézières of Cyprus, who in turn donated it in 1369 to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, a charitable confraternity founded in Venice in 1261. This soon became the most celebrated relic in Venice.

To commemorate the many miracles that the relic was credited with performing, the scuola commissioned a cycle of 9 paintings. They were to be displayed in the Scuola's great hall and depict the miracles that were attributed to this fragment of wood. All but 1 are now housed here in room XX.

-Vittore Carpaccio, Miracle of the Holy Cross at the Rialto Bridge (The Healing of the Madman) (1494)
-Giovanni di Niccolò Mansueti, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio (c. 1494)
-Lazzaro Bastiani, The Relic of the Holy Cross is offered to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista (c. 1494)
-Gentile Bellini, Procession of the True Cross in piazza San Marco (1496)
-Gentile Bellini, Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo (1500)
-Gentile Bellini, Healing of Pietro dei Ludovici (1501)
-Giovanni Mansueti, The Miraculous Healing of the Daughter of Benvegnudo of San Polo (c. 1505)
-Benedetto Diana, Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross (1505–1510)

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ST GEORGE: MANTEGNA (1460)

George was born to a Christian family in Cappadocia around 280 AD. After moving to Palestine, he joined the army of Diocletian. When the emperor issued the edict of persecution against Christians in 303, George gave all his belongings to the poor and, in front of Diocletian himself, tore the document apart and professed his faith in Christ. For this he suffered terrible torture and was eventually beheaded.

The most famous story of St George is about him slaying a dragon. However this story didn't become popular until the 12 century, long after he had died.

A horrible dragon was demanding human victims from a city. They were selected by drawing lots, and when the King's daughter was chosen, she was brought near the lake where the dragon lived. Before the dragon could tear her apart, George appeared and subdued it with his sword.

George is shown here in armour and with the broken lance. The dragon has the point stuck in his jaw. George's elbow and the dragon's head protrude outside the border, which is typical of Mantegna's style. The garland is a typical motive of the Squarcione school, which Mantegna was a pupil of in his youth in Padua. The city is in the background.

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20. ROOM XX: LEGEND OF ST URSULA: CARPACCIO (1490 &1497-1498)

This is a series of 9 large canvases by Venetian Renaissance master Vittore Carpaccio. Painted in the 1490s for the Scuola di Sant’Orsola, a devotional confraternity in Venice. The cycle is based on the story of Ursula, a heroine in Jacopo da Varagine’s Golden Legend.

The paintings were commissioned by the Loredan family, who had the Scuola of St. Ursula under their patronage and who had been distinguished for their military deeds against the "infidel" Ottomans, which are repeatedly echoed in the panels of the cycle.

According to legend, Saint Ursula was the daughter of the Christian king of Brittany, who was betrothed to a pagan prince. Before agreeing to marry him she demanded his conversion to Christianity and a pilgrimage to Rome. On her way back home from Rome, she stopped in Cologne. There she was martyred by the Huns, together with her following of 10,000 virgins, after she had refused to become the wife of (according to legend) Atilla the Hun.

The link below has descriptions of all 9 paintings in room XX

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22. THE APOTHECARY: LONGHI (1752)

Pietro Longhi is known for his detailed depictions of Venetian society.

This scene takes place inside an apothecary shop. The painter, Longhi ,also worked as a pharmacist at times, and even as doctor if necessary.

It appears the women is getting a rather public exam.( bad tooth, singer, sore throat?). To the right his apprentice writes a prescription and to the left his young assistant prepares the medication. A friar and nobleman are seated waiting their turn.

The shelves are lined with Majolica vases and a painting that appears to be a copy of The Nativity by Antonio Balestra which was hanging in an apothecary shop in Chioggia. Did Longhi study under him or live in Chioggia?

An aloe plant (then known for its purification of the blood) is in the foreground along with a small burner and bellows.

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23. CAPPRICCIO: CANNALETTO (1765)

Canaletto donated this to the Accademia in 1765. Canaletto was elected to the Venetian Academy in 1763 and appointed prior of the Collegio dei Pittori.

In 1763, Canaletto was accepted as a member of the Venetian Academy. It was the custom for an artist to present the Academy with a painting after he was admitted. Canaletto chose to paint what would be his last capriccio scene. (an architectural fantasy, placing together buildings, archaeological ruins and other architectural elements in fictional and often fantastical combinations)

USEFUL INFORMATION

Museum Pass: NO
visitmuve.it

The pass can be picked up in any of the museums included on the list. It’s good for 6 months from the date of purchase.

 

Chorus Pass: NO
chorusvenezia.org

12 euro includes over 12 churches
can buy online or at one of the church entrances.
normal entrance 1-3 Euros per church

 

Museum Website:
gallerieaccademia.it

Cost: 13 (reduced: 3) book tickets directly on website above, choose date and time at booking
Mon: 8:15-2:00
Tues-Sun: 8:15-7:15