An article in this morning’s New York Times caught my eye. It seems that Florence’s legendary Uffizi Gallery, chock full of Botticelli, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and the like and easily one of the top ten classical Western art museums in the world, is trying to jazz things up and appeal to a younger, more diverse crowd by including contemporary artists, including women and people of color.
In my estimation, this is something at which Venice has succeeded brilliantly.
Alongside the brilliant mosaics of San Marco and the Renaissance paintings in the Gallerie dell’Academia is the equally sought-after destination of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Guggenheim, an expat American heiress, was an avid collector of contemporary artists, mostly between 1938 and 1946, and filled her 1750s Venetian palazzo with Pollocks, Miros, Chagalls, Picassos, and the like. It is now open to the public, and is a must-see destination for visitors to the city.
Additionally, the Venice Biennale, a visual art exhibition that has taken place every odd-numbered year since 1895, boasts thirty national pavilions, all displaying their most au courant and provocative artists. During Biennale, the whole city comes alive with art and art lovers. We were fortunate to attend in 2013.
These two great institutions lay the groundwork, I feel, for a general contemporary art vibe in the city, which is filled with galleries and exhibits, even in a non-Biennale year.
Sadly, it is hard to imagine that Peggy Guggenheim derived much personal joy from the great contribution she made to the city and to the artists she sponsored. The recent documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict tells the story of her desperately unhappy life. Her father died on the Titanic. She is said to have had 1000 lovers, and to say she was unlucky in love would be a vast understatement. But what a legacy she left to the rest of us.
2 thoughts on “147. Art in Venice”
Thank you for sharing, Gigi; so hope to get there someday. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie Pollock, Peggy is featured prominently 🙂
Italy’s museums are wonderful. So many treasures to see. Great photos and commentary.