Venice City Museums
The Musei Civici Veneziani brings together museums and collections of immense artistic and historical importance.
It is responsible for providing various cultural services and, at an institutional level, for overseeing the conservation, study and promotion of the city's vast cultural and artistic heritage, thus contributing to the city's sense of identity.
The museums are grouped around various areas of interest: St Mark's Square; 18th-century Venice; modern and contemporary art; natural history and ethnography. Each one of these attracts a sizeable public from among tourists and young people, offering a wide range of innovative and modern services to facilitate full educational exploitation of the material on display. The museums also hold special exhibitions of material contained in their individual collections, as well as art and historical exhibitions of international importance.
Ca' Pesaro - International Gallery of Modern Art
The International Gallery of Modern Art contains important nineteenth- and twentieth-century collections of paintings and sculptures, including masterpieces by Klimt, Chagall and remarkable works by such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse and Moore, as well as a rich selection of works by Italian artists and an important section of graphic art.
Ca' Rezzonico - Museum of 18th century art
The visit to the Museum Collection proper begins at Giorgio Massari's large ceremonial staircase on the side of the palace opposite the Grand Canal. On the first floor a total of eleven rooms contain paintings, sculptures, frescoed ceilings and collections of eighteenth-century furnishings.
The second floor opens with the portego (the long central hall typical of Venetian palaces) in which there are two early works by Canaletto; the rooms dedicated to the work of Pietro Longhi and the Giandomenico Tieopolo frescoes originally on the walls of Villa Zianigo are not to be missed. The third floor contains not only the three rooms of an old pharmacy (Farmacia Ai do San Marchi) but also the noteworthy collection of paintings bequeathed by Egidio Martini. The layout takes the visitor through the various rooms of the piano nobile, with an ample selection of clothing, garments and other accessories which are part of the permanent collection.
Carlo Goldoni's house
Ca' Centani, or Centanni - now better known as Casa di Carlo Goldoni - was built in the fifteenth century and has maintained all the features of Venetian Gothic architecture of that period. The famous Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni was born here in 1707 (25 February), and the building would remain to the Goldoni family home until 1719.
The three rooms of the first floor are dedicated to the main themes in the theatre of Carlo Goldoni (entrance salon); the puppet theatre from Palazzo Grimani ai Servi (formerly in Ca' Rezzonico) and the position of Carlo Goldoni and his work within eighteenth-century Venice. Original period paintings and furnishings appear in carefully-created settings that are built around the illustrations from the first editions of Goldoni's works.
Museum of Natural History
There are numerous zoological collections dedicated, for example, to birds, molluscs and insects (the hymenoptera collection is one of the most important in the world). In the field of botany, the most important material is to be found in the ancient herbaria, the algarium and in the mycology collection.
The Museum is laid out in various sections that offer a fascinating insight into the Art and History of Venice. The first section occupies the Napoleonic Wing itself, a nineteenth-century palace for kings and emperors; here the sumptuous Neo-classical Rooms house a noteworthy collection of works by the greatest sculptor of the age, Antonio Canova (1757-1822). Then, one passes into the Procuratie Nuove, which were designed by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552-1616) and once housed some of the most important civic authorities within the Republic of Venice. The spacious rooms now contain collections that document various aspects of Venetian History - from daily life to public instutions, from naval achievements to local festivities.
Beyond these rooms begins the exhibition of the Art Collection, which continues on the second floor. The period covered ranges from the very earliest days of Venetian painting right up to the sixteenth century, with many of the works on display being incomparable masterpieces.
The museum, which opened in 1981, is situated in the old Lace-School of Burano, founded in 1871 with the aim of revitalising a centuries-old tradition. After the School was closed, its archives, full of important documents and drawings, were re-ordered and catalogued; the building was restructured and transformed into an exhibition site. This was the beginning of the Lace Museum. It contains many valuable pieces of the School's rich collection, together with important examples of Venetian products from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.
Incorporated in 1995 into the Venetian Civic Museums, this building today offers not only items of great value, but also the chance to observe lace-makers at work, keeping up the traditions of the island. It is also possible to consult the archives, an important source of historical and artistic documentation, with drawings, photographs and other iconographic testimony.
The collections housed in the Murano Glass Museum are laid out chronologically on the first floor. Starting from an archaeological section (ground floor), which contains noteworthy Roman works dating from the 1st-3rd centuries AD, the Museum then progresses to the largest historical collection of Murano glass in the world, with pieces dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, many of them world-famous masterpieces.
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