Palazzo Grimani, Venice

A DAZZLING DROP OF INSPIRATION – the thing about Venice is, that just when you think you’ve had enough and there really can’t be more art to discover, the city proves you wrong. I’m thinking of Palazzo Grimani, a fabulous and highly ornate palace.

PALAZZO GRIMANI – The Palazzo Grimani, with perfect timing, has recreated a unique and very special sculpture gallery called ‘Domus Grimani’. The very clever curators at Palazzo Grimani have managed to reunite the collection of marble sculptures that adorned the palace more than four centuries ago.

Here’s what the official Palazzo Grimani web site has to say:

Daniele Ferrara, director of the Polo museale del Veneto, and Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage, are the curators of DOMUS GRIMANI 1594 – 2019, the exceptional exhibition celebrating the return to Palazzo Grimani of the collection of classical statuary that once belonged to the Patriarch of Aquileia, Giovanni Grimani. Housed in the family palazzo in the parish of Santa Maria Formosa until the end of the sixteenth century—when the Patriarch donated it to the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia on his death—this collection now returns home after more than four centuries.

The result is quite simply breath-taking. The entrance to the palazzo gives the beady-eyed visitor a small clue to what lies inside. The entrance is highly decorated with pillars, plinths, portrait busts and a grand arched portal. Inside the vast classical palace is a room that was created as a sculpture gallery in the 16th century. It has been empty since the 1590s.  To coincide with this year’s Biennale 2019 the sculptures and marbles that decorated this room, carefully collected by Giovanni Grimani over a lifetime, have been reunited. The display of sculptures at multiple levels is quite exceptional. There is even a superb classical sculpture ‘Ganymede and Eagle’ which dates from the second century. It is suspended from the Roman Pantheon inspired ceiling. Ganymede, according to Greek mythology was one of the most handsome young men on Earth. Zeus, king of the gods wanted to kidnap Ganymede and take him to Mount Olympus, where he would be the ‘cup holder to the gods’. Zeus disguised himself as an eagle, sweeping down from the heavens to carry Ganymede away. The overall effect is dramatic, beautiful and really very disconcerting. When you consider the sculpture is 1800 years old, a Roman copy of the Greek original, it serves as a reminder of how art and design in Europe have been profoundly influenced by Greek and Roman ideals for more than two millenia.

Palazzo Grimani - entrance from Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Venezia
Palazzo Grimani – entrance from Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Venezia
Palazzo Grimani - fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery, within the palace, in the original rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani's treasures.
Palazzo Grimani – fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery, within the palace, in the original rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani’s treasures.
Palazzo Grimani - fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery. The sculpture of Ganymede being kidnapped by Zeus (the eagle) is suspended from the ceiling of the rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani's treasures.
Palazzo Grimani – fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery. The sculpture of Ganymede being kidnapped by Zeus (the eagle) is suspended from the ceiling of the rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani’s treasures.
Palazzo Grimani - fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery, within the palace, in the original rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani's treasures.
Palazzo Grimani – fabulous reconstruction of 1590s sculpture gallery, within the palace, in the original rotunda designed to display Giovanni Grimani’s treasures.
Attention to detail in the 'Domus Grimani' sculpture gallery is completely inspired. Just wonderful! www.educated-traveller.com
Attention to detail in the ‘Domus Grimani’ sculpture gallery is completely inspired. Just wonderful! http://www.educated-traveller.com
Magnificent sculpture of Athena, Greek God of War, adjacent to the Palazzo Grimani sculpture gallery - 1st century AD (almost certainly Roman)
Magnificent sculpture of Athena, Greek God of War, adjacent to the Palazzo Grimani sculpture gallery – 1st century AD (almost certainly Roman)
A Classical Palace was incomplete without a Laocoon Sculpture. This sculptural grouping was indicative of power, honour, good triumphing over evil. This is a plaster cast c. 16th century.
A Classical Palace was incomplete without a Laocoon Sculpture. This sculptural grouping was indicative of power, honour, good triumphing over evil. This is a plaster cast c. 16th century.

The joint effort of Palazzo Grimani and Venetian Heritage (a well funded not-for-profit organisation based in Venice and New York) has re-created a small part of Venice’s rich, historical legacy. It is well worth a visit to appreciate the splendour that existed inside the palaces of Venice in the 16th century. Since it’s opening in May, the sculpture gallery has already attracted visits from Brad Pitt and Francis Ford Coppola. In late August and early September, during the Venice Film Festival, there’s bound to be other celebrity visitors. A perfect palace visit to admire an exceptional sculpture gallery and possibly to spot a Hollywood ‘great’. As Lorenzo Quinn recently commented, everyone wants a small piece of Venice. He’s right – they do!

VENICE – LA SERENISSIMA so I suppose the question is, with all this art everywhere, then what or who is the star of the show? Well the answer is quite simple. There’s only one star, there’s only ever been one star. The star is Venice, the city herself. I had been visiting Venice for more than 30 years before I even set foot in the Accademia Art Gallery. Why go into a museum when the entire city around you is a living, breathing, evolving gallery of art. The city of Venice is without doubt the star of the show. The Biennale is a welcome addition, yes of course, however the city trumps the Biennale, every time. For those who notice things Venice is a joy and a delight, a cornucopia of treasures, new discoveries around every corner, too many for a single lifetime. How’s that for an accolade. Perhaps the ultimate accolade.  

 

Venice is the star – the star of the show, a role that she plays effortlessly.

Notes:

Written: 24-05-2019 / Updated: 31-05-2019 / Updated: 10-07-2019

JMS

NOTE – To appreciate the effort that has gone into the recreation of the sculpture gallery at Palazzo Grimani here’s the before and after:

BEFORE:

Palazzo Grimani - sculpture gallery c. 2015
Palazzo Grimani – Sculpture Gallery, empty and devoid of its original collection.
AND AFTER: 
Palazzo Grimani - Sculpture Gallery 2019 'Domus Grimani'
‘Palazzo Grimani, recently reopened Sculpture Gallery, ‘Domus Grimani’ with the original sculpture collection reunited. Bliss!

‘Palazzo Grimani, recently reopened Sculpture Gallery, ‘Domus Grimani’ with the original sculpture collection reunited after 400 years. Bliss!

Enjoy!

www.educated-traveller.com

 

 

4 thoughts on “Palazzo Grimani, Venice

  1. Janet! It is impossible not to be affected…..nay, INfected!…..by your enthusiasm for your subject matter – but when that subject matter is Venice, your enthusiasm goes into overdrive. And how generous of you to share your Italiphilia around in such an informative and exciting way. I thought I knew Venice pretty well, but your last three or four articles about this Queen of the Adriatic have truly opened my eyes to even more of her beauty and majesty – thank you so much for that! Don’t ever hang up your travel-writer’s pen, will you?!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.