Palazzo Grimani (VE)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets

A true "Domus" in which the Venetian Renaissance meets classical art, a cultural syncretism that is told in the scenographic Antiquarium inspired by the Pantheon in Rome and exceptionally restore to the public in 2019 just as it appeared in 1594.

Palazzo Grimani was built as the residence of the Doge Antonio Grimani and then expanded between 1532 and 1569 by his heirs, Vittore, procurator of San Marco, and Giovanni, patriarch of Aquileia.

The Grimani family is known not only for the important institutional positions held during the reign of the Serenissima but also for their passion for collecting, in particular linked to the cult of ancient Greece and Rome, which also increased following the artefacts found in their property at the Quirinale in the Eternal City.

Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets
Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets

It is the only case in the world in which the visitor can immerse himself in one of the most important collections of classical art exactly in its original sixteenth-century layout.

(Daniele Ferrara, Direttore Polo Museale del Veneto)

The palace is, in fact, unique in Veneto, an architectural and artistic synthesis between the Venetian tradition and that of the Roman domus, which finds its apotheosis in the Tribune with a pyramidal skylight which seems to have been built on the precise indications of Giovanni Grimani to contain his Antiquarium.

Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome and designed for personal enjoyment but also to “impress” guests as a symbol of the family’s “grandeur”, the room was to house the patron of the arts’ collection, one of the most important in the world of Greek and Roman finds with effigies of the great characters and myths of classical history.

Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets

Upon his death, Giovanni Grimani donated more than 200 sculptures to the Serenissima which were then removed from the Palace in 1594 to find a new home partly in the anteroom of the Marciana Library, later called Statuario della Repubblica, where they remained until 2019.

The need for a restoration of this room offered the intuition to Daniele Ferrara, director of the Polo Museale del Veneto and Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage, to attempt the miracle: the return after 4 centuries to Palazzo Grimani of his collection of classical statues, relocating them in the Tribune exactly as they were at the time.

Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets

Produced by Civita Tre Venezie, the operation was made possible thanks to the support of Venetian Heritage, an anonymous donor, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation of New York and Gagosian, the Michelangelo Foundation and Lady Monika del Campo Bacardi, and the curators, Ferrara and Bergamo Rossi who, by studying antique texts and drawings of the time, were able to reposition most of the statues exactly where they were in the 16th century.

When you reach the Tribune, it is impossible not to be moved by an architecture designed to allow over 200 statues to communicate with each other, including Greek originals and Roman statues from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, in an array of glances, marbles of different colors and of a beauty capable of even defeating the mortal laws of time.

Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets
Palazzo Grimani (VE) — Veneto Secrets

There are many masterpieces from the Public Statuary and the National Archaeological Museum of Venice such as the red marble bust of Antinous as an Isiac priest from 130-138 AD. or the splendid Bacchae from 150 BC. And, looking at the sky, it seems incredible to think that the sculpture of Ganymede kidnapped by the eagle, suspended towards infinity, has been relocated precisely where Giovanni Grimani had conceived it in the 16th century and which, today as then, still makes us our heart beating.

The Secret

It seems that the first nucleus of the Grimani classical art collection came from the finds found following the construction of the family palace in the Vigna Grimani on the slopes of the Quirinale, today’s Piazza Barberini.

Useful Info utili

Museo di Palazzo Grimani
Rugagiuffa 4858
30122 Venezia
Tel. + 39 041 2411507

Ticket: 14 euro
Reduced: 7  euro

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