Venice Academy Gallery
History, Permanent Collection Highlights of the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia.

Venice Academy Gallery
Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia


Origins and History
Permanent Collection
Collection Highlights
Other Venetian Paintings
Contact Details
Opening Hours

Further Resources
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One of the best art museums in Europe, the Venice Academy Gallery (Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia) showcases some of the finest pre-19th century painting by Venetian, Florentine, Roman and other European artists. Occupying the Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Carita - which includes the former Canonici Lateranensi monastery complex (designed initially by the great Venetian architect Andrea Palladio) - it stands on the south bank of the Grand Canal, and lends its name to one of the three bridges across the waterway, the Ponte dell' Accademia.

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Origins and History

Despite the glorious achievements of Venetian Painting during the quattrocento (14th century) and cinquecento (15th century) - an era renowned for its promotion of colorito as opposed to disegno, an approach exemplified by a number of famous Venetian Altarpieces as well as countless examples of Venetian Portrait Painting - Venice's painters at the start of the 18th century were still members of a guild of manual workers, unlike painters in Florence and Rome, many of whom were members of their city's prestigious Academy of Art. Steps were taken to remedy this situation, and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia was finally founded in 1750. However, it wasn't until December 1766 that the civic authorities ordered the immediate erection of an Academy of sculpture, painting, and civil architecture, similar to the Academy of Art in Florence (Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno) and the Academy of Art in Rome (Accademia di San Luca). See also: Venetian Drawing (1500-1600).

Giambattista Piazzetta was appointed at the Academy's first President, assisted by officials who included Giambattista Pittoni and Gianmaria Morlaiter. Thirty six artists were elected as founder members of the Academy. Painters included: Giuseppe Angeli, Tomasso Bugoni, Francesco Ceppella, Domenico Fontebasso, Pietro Gradizi, Jacopo Guarana, Antonio Joli, Alessandro Longhi, Pietro Longhi, Domenico Maggiotto, Jacopo Marieschi, Antonio Marinetti, Girolamo Colonna Mingozzi, Michelangelo Morlaiter, Pietro Antonio Novelli, Fortunato Pasquetti, Francesco Pavona, Antonio Visentini, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Francesco Zanchi, Gaetano Zompini, Francesco Zuccarelli, Antonio Zucchi, Francesco Zugno. Founding sculptors included: Giuseppe Bernardi, Francesco Bonassa, Francesco Gai, Carlo Gataipiera, Giovanni Marchiori, Bartolomeo Modulo, Gianmaria Morlaiter and Gaetano Susali.

In 1807, during the city's occupation by Napoleon's army, the Venice Academy was renamed the Accademia Reale di Belle Arti and relocated to its current premises, formerly the home of the Convento dei Canonici Lateranensi, and the Scuola della Carita. The latter was the most ancient of the six Scuole Grande and dates back to 1260 (its building to 1343).



Permanent Collection

The Permanent Collection of the Venice Academy Gallery features an unrivalled assembly of masterpieces by Venetian painters from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The core of the collection was put together in the late 1750s. Works include religious panel paintings and canvases, a wide variety of figure painting - including miniature portrait paintings - as well as historical, landscape and genre works. Artists represented include members of the early Renaissance in Venice such as Gentile Bellini (c.1429-1507), Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), Andrea Mantegna (1430-1506), Antonello da Messina (1430-79) and Carlo Crivelli (c.1430-93); High Renaissance painters such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Carpaccio (c.1465-1525/6), Giorgione (1477-1510) and Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556); Late Renaissance masters like Titian (c.1488-1576), Paris Bordone (1495–1570); Mannerist painters such as Giovanni Savoldo (1506-48), Jacopo Bassano (1515-1592) and Tintoretto (1518-94); decorative artists like Paolo Veronese (1528-1588), and Tiepolo (1696-1770); Venetian view painters (vedutisti) such as Canaletto (1697-1768), Bernardo Bellotto (1721-80) and Francesco Guardi (1712-93); as well as the miniaturist Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757) and the genre painter Pietro Longhi (1701-85), to name but a few.

Collection Highlights

Among the greatest works in the Permanent Collection of the Venice Academy Gallery is Leonardo's drawing known as Vitruvian Man (c.1487), probably the world's best known and most iconic piece of graphic art. This pen and ink drawing, sometimes referred to as the Canon of Proportions, is based on the ideal human measurements as outlined by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in his treatise De Architectura. Other masterpieces include:

The San Giobbe Altarpiece (c.1487) by Giovanni Bellini.
Inspired by the San Cassiano Altarpiece by Antonello da Messina, this work of altarpiece art was painted for the church of San Giobbe in Venice, by the 'Father of Venetian painting'.

Procession in St Mark's Square (c.1496) by Gentile Bellini.
Executed in tempera on canvas, this is the largest in Bellini's series concerning the legend of the relic of the Holy Cross in Venice.

The Legend of Saint Ursula (1497-1498) by Vittore Carpaccio.
A series of large canvas murals in oil, originally created for the Scuola di Sant'Orsola (Ursula) in Venice.

The Tempest (c.1506) by Giorgione.
A highly influential allegorical landscape with figures, commissioned by the Venetian aristocrat Gabriele Vendramin, the meaning of this oil painting remains a mystery.

Fisherman Presenting Ring to Doge Gradenigo (1534) by Paris Bordone.
Painted for the confraternity of St Mark's Basilica in 1540, it shows a gondolier returning the ring of Saint Mark to the Doge Bartolomeo Gradenigo.

St Mark Freeing the Slave (The Miracle of St. Mark) (1548) by Tintoretto.
Commissioned for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, this oil depicts an episode in the life of St. Mark, patron saint of Venice, based on the Jacopo da Varazze's Golden Legend.

The Feast in the House of Levi (c.1573) by Paolo Veronese.
One of the biggest oil paintings of the 16th century (18 x 42 feet), it was originally created as a Last Supper for the Dominican order of SS. Giovanni Paolo, to replace an earlier work by Titian.

Pieta (c.1575) by Titian.
One of the artist's last oil paintings, the Madonna is shown supporting the body of Christ, with the help of Nicodemus. The latter is supposedly a self-portrait of Titian, who forsees his imminent demise in the face of Christ.

Other Venetian Paintings

Other famous works in the Venice Academy Gallery include:

- St. George (c.1460) By Andrea Mantegna.
- Madonna with Child Blessing (1460-1464) By Giovanni Bellini.
- St. Sebastian Triptych (1460-1464) By Giovanni Bellini.
- San Lorenzo Giustiniani (1465) Gentile Bellini.
- Madonna of the Red Angels (1480-1490) By Giovanni Bellini.
- Pieta (1505) By Giovanni Bellini.
- The Deposition (c.1515) By Giovanni Bellini.
- Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross (1494) by Vittore Carpaccio.
- Apparition of the Martyrs of Mount Ararat (1515) by Vittore Carpaccio.
- The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (1534-8) by Titian.
- Adam and Eve (1550) By Tintoretto.
- Portrait of Procurator Antonio Cappello (1551) By Tintoretto.
- The Stealing of the Dead Body of St Mark (1562-66) By Tintoretto.
- San Zaccaria Altapiece (1564) By Paolo Veronese.
- Ceres Renders Homage to Venice (1575) By Paolo Veronese.
- The Rape of Europa (c.1725) By Giambattista Tiepolo.
- Scourge of the Serpents (1732-1735) By Giambattista Tiepolo.
- Discovery of the True Cross (c.1745) By Giambattista Tiepolo.
- Capriccio with Colonnade (1765) By Canaletto.
- Marcoula (1789) By Francesco Guardi.

See also: Legacy of Venetian Painting.

Contact Details

Venice Academy Gallery (Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia)
Campo della Carita, Dorsoduro 1050, Venice, Italy
+39 041 5200345

Opening Hours

Monday: from 8.15AM to 2PM
Tuesday to Sunday: from 8.15AM to 7.15PM.

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