Guggenheim Art Classes 2017
Nuovi sguardi /New Prospects
Art History Classes by Alessandra Montalbetti.
The monumental halls of the Biblioteca Marciana
and Palazzo Grimani in Santa Maria Formosa
Sculpture Abandons its Home
Patriarch Giovanni Grimani collected, over a long period of time and with care, a precious collection of antiquities, privileging Greek originals over Hellenistic copies, creating one of the most important collections of its kind in Europe. In 1587 the collection was donated to the Republic of Venice and placed in the Biblioteca Marciana, with a special display, crowded and inventive, planned by Grimani himself and by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. The display was intended not merely to exhibit the sculptures, representing the “real” Mediterranean so much loved and toured by Winckelmann, but also to excite the eyes of the viewer. An appropriate conclusion will be a visit to Palazzo Grimani, the first home of the Grimani Statuary, decorated by the Roman painter Federico Zuccari, lover of allegories inspired by the virtues of his patrons and enriched with grotesques and stucco reliefs.
The Basilica dei Frari and Palazzo Albrizzi in San Polo
The Space of Heaven and the Space of Earth
The Basilica dei Frari has the aura of a dream of lost perfection, to be sought among the drapery folds in “Titian red” of the Assumption, to which the Basilica is dedicated, as well as the brooding tomb of Canova, an inspirational incunabula time and again, and the works of Bellini and Donatello. Its intensity seeks an ever-renewing sense of the sacred. By contrast, the domestic architecture of Palazzo Albrizzi, with its Serlian and mullioned windows and molded stone cornices, expresses a lavish secular richness, mirrored inside by the stucchi of Abbondio Stazio.
The Church of San Giorgio dei Greci,
the Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
and the Church of San Giovanni Battista del Sovrano
The Church of San Giorgio dei Greci, home to the most important foreign community in the late Renaissance, houses Byzantine icons from the schools of Constantinople and Crete, notable for their hieratic, sacred stillness that, through the use of colors, expresses detachment from the everyday world. At a short distance, the Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni displays the cycle of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio, with saints immersed in contemporary settings of Venetian architectural forms, inducing a kind of topographical disorientation. Finally, a few steps away, we visit the Church of St. John of Malta, built in 1187 by the Templars.
Vicenza, Villa Valmarana Ai Nani
and Villa Almerico Capra ‘La Rotonda’
Villa Valmarana Ai Nani displays the virtuosity of Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo’s fresco painting, and their skill in establishing a dialogue with the architecture. Villa Rotonda is the universal icon of Palladio, of his “white” architecture, his measure and poetics.
The Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato, Murano,
and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Torcello
The Cathedral of Murano, a fascinating and rare example of Veneto-Byzantine architecture, is distinctive for its main apse that evokes an embroidery abounding with grace, for its balance between solids and voids. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta was founded in Torcello in the 7th century, and is the oldest ‘document’ in Venetian history.
The Basilica of SS. Giovanni
e Paolo and the Scuola Grande di San Marco
The Basilica of SS. Giovanni e Paolo is the pantheon of the sculptural glory of the Most Serene Republic, from the Mocenigo Doges to Doge Andrea Vendramin, with works by the Lombardo that create a dialogue with magnificent paintings in the nearby Scuola Grande di San Marco by, among others, Palma il Giovane and Tintoretto.
The Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore
and Fondazione Giorgio Cini
The Enlightened Tradition of Patronage
The Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore is a masterpiece by Palladio. It also includes a number of important paintings, such as the revolutionary Last Supper by Tintoretto and the Adoration of Shepherds by Bassano. No less numerous are the wonders to be found in the Monastery, the Cloister of the Cypresses by Buora, the ‘Manica Lunga’, and the grand stairway by Longhena. None of these would be accessible today without the invaluable work of the Fondazione Cini, which has helped to renew the noble Venetian art of preservation for the future.
The Basilica of San Marco
The Glittering Art of Mosaic
The Basilica of San Marco is undeniably the most iconic symbol of Venice. Although we may have ‘seen’ it dozen of times, we will have the opportunity this time to admire it with the appropriate calm, and to view its art and history in an unforgettable private evening tour.
Venice is a city where we may live, walk and breathe, but never find the time to pause. It takes time to notice the silent “wonders” always around us, keeping pace with our steps, Ruskin’s beloved “Stones of Venice”, intriguing presences in the city that Calvino called Esmeralda, where no line is straight, all are mellow zigzags that branch in meandering variants.
In 2017 we abandon the lecture room and set off on a voyage, Proust’s “true voyage of discovery that consists not in seeking new lands, but in opening new eyes”, eyes ready to rediscover what, in our daily lives, we have overlooked … but not for long.
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