Venetian Domus Grimani in London

Domus Grimani 1594-2019. Venice, Museo di Palazzo Grimani. Tribuna. Courtesy of Ministero per i beni le attivita e culturali e per il turismo - Polo museale del Veneto. Matteo De Fina

 ROME – 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, was one of the protagonists of an important focus on collecting at London Art Week, on Dec. 2. 

 Taking place at the Sainsbury Wing Theatre of the National Gallery in London, the symposium Returning Home: the significance and challenges of exhibitions that reunite historic collections in their original setting highlights the importance of the return to their original places of historic collections.  Among the international curators invited to the panel, Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage and co-curator, together with Daniele Ferrara – director of the Polo Museale del Veneto – of the show dedicated to Giovanni Grimani’s collection, on view until May 30th, 2021.

 “It is an honour for me to share the experience of Domus Grimani 1594 – 2019 in such a unique occasion,” said Toto Bergamo Rossi. “The huge success of the exhibition at Palazzo Grimani, with both general public and professionals, highlights the importance of initiatives to increase awareness on the Venetian cultural heritage, and to develop the positive impact of the collaboration between public and private institutions in Italy, so to support high quality projects.”

 Produced by Civita Tre Venezie, the exhibition—under the patronage of the Veneto Region and in collaboration with Unesco—has been awarded the Medal of the President of the Italian Republic.  It was made possible through the support of Venetian Heritage, an anonymous donor, the New York based Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and Gagosian. Additional support has been provided by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship and Lady Monika del Campo Bacardi.

 The centerpiece of Domus Grimani 1594 – 2019 is the reconstruction of one of the most significant exemplars of European museology, the Tribuna of Patriarch Giovanni, its architecture surviving nearly intact to this day. As they approach the Tribuna through a sequence of rooms, visitors are also be able to admire furnishings and artworks recreating the atmosphere of a sixteenth-century aristocratic Venetian residence, with an arrangement inspired by the aesthetic of the house-museum.

 The exhibition, opened during the preview of the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, has been the chance for Palazzo Grimani to reaffirm its role in the cultural offerings of the city: between January and October 2019, in fact, more than 35.000 people visited the museum, a rare gem for its architectural configuration, which echoes the domus of ancient Rome and the Renaissance models of the Papal city.

 A cultural destination frequented by scholars, writers, artists, monarchs, and other notables who visited Venice, the palazzo owes its current configuration to extensive remodeling work undertaken by Vittore Grimani and his brother Giovanni in the sixteenth century. They also introduced decorations in Tuscan-Roman mannerist style, with frescoes and stuccowork by Francesco Salviati, Federico Zuccari, and Giovanni da Udine, an apprentice to Raphael.

 The second floor of the Palazzo Grimani featured, until November 17th, another special exhibition, Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952-1992. Organized by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and Venetian Heritage, in association with Gagosian, the exhibition has been curated by John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Covering a forty-year span of the artist’s career, this has been the first presentation of Frankenthaler’s work in Venice since it was included in the American Pavilion for the 1966 Venice Art Biennale.

 “We are very proud of the great success of the exhibitions at Palazzo Grimani,” Daniele Ferrara, director of the Polo Museale del Veneto, explains. “The participation to the symposium during the London Art Week confirms, once more, how much the museum and its programme, now enriched by DOMUS GRIMANI 1594 – 2019, are appreciated by those who visit Venice and Venetians alike.”

 DOMUS GRIMANI 1594 – 2019 is curated by Daniele Ferrara and Toto Bergamo Rossi and runs until May 30th, 2021