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The Library’s Antique Collection

The library’s primary nucleus is that belonging to the Querini family. Enhanced over the centuries, today it is a collection of great significance. It contains approximately 1,300 manuscripts, 42,000 antique printed books, including 100 works from the fifteenth century, some of them rare or unique, 3000 prints, atlases, more than 350 geographical maps and cadastral maps. The family’s private archive holds documents, drawings and letters, and is a source of great interest because it sheds light, also from a private perspective, of how politics and business was carried out by the Venetian patrician class from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.  To consult the archival collection, write to: biblioteca@querinistampalia.org

Joseph Kosuth’s unexpected relationships

The American artist Joseph Kosuth’s neon lights illuminate the palace façade. An exponent of conceptual art, he has shaped the neon tubes to trace primordial words: Abstract lines, Forms of earth (crystals), Forms of water (waves), Forms of air (clouds), Organic forms (shells). The installation totals twelve illuminated signs placed at different heights: this is The Material of the Ornament, 1997. Kosuth was inspired by John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice (1851 – 1853). The classification of decorative architectural elements into categories devised by the English art critic thus becomes an ornament itself, activating unexpected relationships.

The Creative Energy of the Tintorettos

Jacopo Robusti, better known as Tintoretto, was already in his 70s when he started to paint Paradise in the Doge’s Palace in 1588. He had won a competition held by the Serenissima Republic after a fire had broken out in 1577. The huge canvas hangs in the Great Council Hall. Jacopo was helped by his son Domenico (Venice, 1560 - 1635) and his workshop. Numerous models of it exist. The one in the Collezione Intesa Sanpaolo at the Querini is attributed to him by general consensus. Following in his father’s wake, he breaks up the heavenly assembly, which is no longer set out in a semicircle in contemplation but in tumultuous groups. The work was finished in 1594, the year of the old master’s death.

Experiencing history

What was for centuries the Querini Stampalia family residence is now a house museum. It is one of the most charming house museums in Europe, recreating the style and authentic atmospheres – both private and sumptuous – of a Venetian palace between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, whilst also depicting the everyday life of the palace. It contains art collections and furnishings belonging to one of the most illustrious and long-standing families in Venice: furniture, paintings, Murano glass chandeliers, globes, clocks, musical instruments, porcelain, sculptures, tapestries. Jacopo Guarana frescoed the ceilings in 1790 for the wedding of Alvise Querini and Maria Teresa Lippomano. It is considered one of the painter’s largest and most important cycles

Carlo Scarpa, the poet of architecture

The surprising modernity of the Scarpa Area has not been obfuscated by its more than fifty-year lifespan. Carlo Scarpa (Venice, 1906 - Sendai, Japan, 1978) is one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. Between 1959 and 1963 he redesigned the ground floor of the Fondazione, creating a space for exhibitions and meetings, as well as designing a garden in the courtyard. It was a design that broke with the tradition of those times, a work of constant research and experimentation. There are two main elements: water, which reflects the palace outside, enters the building and is also found in the garden; light, reverberating on the water, vibrates and is refracted on the ceilings, dematerialising the contours and creating colour.

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The Museum’s Antique Collection

The collection contains: sculptures and paintings, including works by Luca Giordano e Federico Cervelli, drawings from the school of Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Jacopo Tintoretto, Ludovico Carracci, and Marco Ricci; Flemish wall hangings (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries); tapestries, drapes, trimmings, ropes, curtain tiebacks (eighteenth century); a coin collection with Greek, Roman and Venetian coins, as well as modern Italian and foreign coins and medals, including the dogaressa Elisabetta Querini Valier osella, or coin. Some members of the Querini family were Superintendents of the Artilleries and the Arsenal. To them we owe the collection of artillery models (seventeenth and eighteenth century). To consult the collection, write to: museo@querinistampalia.org

Remo Salvadori’s time and space

'Nel momento [In the Moment]' is a gift from Remo Salvadori and was part of his exhibition 'L’osservatore non l’oggetto osservato [The observer not the object observed]' of 2005. The work dates from 1973 and is created from the cutting and folding of three lead sheets. The act of cutting, following numeric and harmonic relationships, is an act of discipline for the artist. The aim is to open up the substance to the force of light and free it from the obtusity of its own dark and deaf nature. The lead sheets spread on the ground trace a path, marked by the way they relate ‘in the moment’ with the architecture of different times and spaces.

Canaletto: Postcards from Venice

Cantankerous and greedy: witness accounts agree on these character traits, but this did not deter clientele of Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. The wealthy from all parts of Europe wanted his landscapes, particularly those of Venice. The English loved them most of all, suffering from a sort of ‘Canalettomania’. The Intesa Sanpaolo paintings at the Querini, two views of the Grand Canal, are replicas of a series of fourteen canvases that Canaletto (Venice, 1697 - 1748) painted in the 1730s. He sold an image of the Venice of his day. With the fall of the Republic shortly afterwards this image remained fixed in the eighteenth century for years to come.

Giovanni Bellini’s Masterpiece

The 'Presentation at the Temple' is one of Giovanni Bellini’s (Venice, ca. 1438/40 - 1516) masterpieces. Painted in about 1470, it represents a private form of devotion: these kinds of subjects are often found in family chapels, bedrooms and studies. The figures stand out against a dark background. The intensity of their gaze, Mary’s gesture of holding baby Jesus as if to protect him, the way he is swaddled as if he is already in the sepulchre, the parapet that alludes to a sarcophagus: all these elements foretell death and the Calvary. Its resounding modernity makes it a symbol of the Renaissance.

Modern Collections

Since the death of Count Giovanni Querini, the collections have been further enriched thanks to donations and acquisitions, becoming increasingly rich and interesting. To consult the collections, write to: museo@querinistampalia.org

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Pietro Longhi’s Venice

In painting, Pietro Longhi (Venice, ca. 1701 - 1785) is the interpreter par excellence of eighteenth-century Venetian society and customs, just as Goldoni is in terms of theatre. The Querini possesses one of the largest and most interesting collections of his works: no fewer than thirty perceptive and playful ‘snapshots’ that depict the domestic and socialite world of Venice. Longhi captures the atmospheres, customs and moods with a hint of irony. The documentary value of these illustrated chronicles is exceptional while the artistic quality in the detail is noteworthy: a noblewoman’s dress, the furnishings in a room, an atlas lying open on the floor.

Valeriano Pastor’s architectural work

Valeriano Pastor is responsible for significant improvements to the palace, which were carried out between 1982 and 1997. A lecturer in architectural planning and head of the eponymous department at the IUAV, the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, he reimagined the functions and services of the whole complex. The clearest sign of his work is the new staircase, a strategic link that directly connects the spaces throughout the palace.

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Venerdì 26 gennaio 2024 la Biblioteca resterà chiusa.

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