Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

While the wife and children were napping on our first day in Venice, I went to the Gallerie dell'Accademia to see great Venetian art from the 14th to the 18th centuries. It was an amazing experience.

The ticket office is downstairs. Following a twisting staircase, the visitor comes to the art on the first floor.

Unmarked statue at the staircase landing

The first room is quite striking, with an amazingly decorated ceiling. Most of the art here is from the 14th century and follows a more Byzantine style.

Art from churches--altar pieces, frescoes, etc.

Original decor of the room

A painting of mendicants admiring a Gethsemane fresco!

Our Lady with child and admirers, including angels with instruments

After the first room I lit upon the idea of taking a picture of the little title cards that go with the paintings, so I will be able to provide a little more information on subsequent paintings. How come this has never occurred to me before?

First up is this interesting crossing of the Red Sea from the book of Exodus.The Jews are dressed in contemporary 16th century garb, which I always find interesting.

Andrea Previtali's Passaggio del Mar Rosso (Passage through the Red Sea), 16th c.

Next we have Tintoretto's Creation of the Animals, with God whisking through creation making all sorts of nifty creatures. I like the playfulness of the divine being at work.

Jacopo Robusti detto Tintoretto's La Creazione delgi animali, 16th c.

Here's a Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth from the Venetian school. My favorite part of this is the suggestion that their meeting is building a new creation, embodied by the new building being constructed right above them.

Visitatzione from the Venetian School, 16th c.

Later, I saw an inspiring ceiling. Most ceilings just have paintings on them, but this one includes a lot of sculpted bits that are also painted. The work must have been extremely difficult.

God with four evangelists

I like this Madonna and Child, not just because it has the unusual sleeping child. The serenity on the mother's face is quite touching.

Giovanni Bellini's Madonna with Sleeping Jesus, 15th c.

Further on was a nice, large altarpiece.

Altarpiece by Bartolomeo Giolfino, 15th c.

This huge painting took up a whole wall. I love the use of depth through the placement of the columns and the use of sunlight. The painting looks like you could just step into it. Unfortunately the natural light in the museum is shining on the top left corner which ruins the effect in my picture. I don't know anything about the story behind the painting other than it is the Evangelist Mark (patron of Venice) healing Aniano.

Giovanni Mansueti's San Marco risana Aniano, 16th c.

Another topic you don't see too often is Saint Peter's crucifixion upside down. When he was sentenced to death by the Romans, Peter asked that he be crucified that way because he felt unworthy to die the same way that Jesus did.

Luca Giordano's Crocifissione di san Pietro, 17th c.

This round painting is another rare topic, the discovery of the True Cross by St. Helen (Constantine's mom!).

Giambattista Tiepolo's La scoperta della vera Croce e sant'Elena, 18th c.

The above artist, Tiepolo, seems to be a genius at filling unusual spots. There were four different corner pieces like the one below, all depicting different people looking down into a gallery.

Tiepolo's Devoti affacciati ad una loggia, 18th c.

This next one is another bit of whimsy from an unknown artist.

Musical Family by unknown artist, 16th c.

Jacob's favorite part of the museum probably would have been the staircase that was not in use, so it's lucky that he was napping instead.

Winding stairs, artist unknown

After this visit to the Gallery, I headed back for a quick rest before everyone else woke up.

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