In one small corner of Venice, you can witness art from six centuries.
Relaxing in the shade of a leafy green tree you can sit, quite comfortably, and admire the courtyard garden of Palazzo Venier, the former private home of American heiress Peggy Guggenheim. In this one tiny corner of Venice, just steps from the Grand Canal, you can see art and architecture from six centuries without even moving your seat. Let’s start in the 15th century…
One – In the photograph above you can see the roof tops of Palazzo Dario, dating from 1486. The characteristic tall chimneys and covered outdoor terrace, suggest this was a property of a wealthy aristocrat. Just out of view on the far side of the palace is the magnificent waterfront facade of the palace with direct access to the Grand Canal.
Two – Next there’s the dome of La Salute, the magnificent church built to commemorate Venice’s survival from the plague in 1681. The sparkling white stone work of La Salute (which means health) dominates the lower reaches of the Grand Canal near Punta Dogana (The Customs Point).
Three – Then there’s Peggy’s home Palazzo Venier which dates from the 1760s. The Venetians call it the ‘unfinished palazzo’ because it’s only one storey high.
Four – Peggy herself was of 19th century vintage, born in 1898 and passing away, just outside Venice in 1979. She moved to Venice in the 1940s and made the city her home for the next three decades. Peggy was instrumental in the early days of the Venice Biennale (Art event) lending her collection to be shown in the Greek Pavilion in 1948.
Five – Next there’s the bright red sculptural monolith of Alexander Calder ‘La Vache’ from 1970. Calder’s modernist sculpture adds an air of contemporary humour into the Venetian courtyard garden.
Six – In the middle of the photo (centre) is the rectangular basaltic sculpture of Anish Kapoor from 2007.
That’s six centuries of art and skill found in one small corner of Venice, all clearly visible and juxtaposed one against the other. Art is dynamic and organic, it changes and ages with the passage of time.
Venice is a dynamic and changing city. It is a city that attracts art lovers from all corners of the globe. It’s always worth pausing and just sitting in the courtyard at the Guggenheim, a place to reflect, enjoy and appreciate the beauty of this exceptional city and the impact it has on so many visitors.
This year’s biennale starts on 23rd April and runs through to 27th November, curated by Cecilia Alemani, her inspiration comes from a book by Leonora Carrington ‘The Milk of Dreams’…..
To read more about Peggy Guggenheim – Modern Art in Venice
For numerous articles on Venice – explore my blog: www.educated-traveller.com
The courtyard at Palazzo Venier is also Peggy’s last resting place and the final resting place of her numerous beloved little dogs.
To read more about Leonora Carrington: Leonora Carrington – Surrealist artist
Specialist travel itineraries and journeys in Italy www.grand-tourist.com
12th March 2022