Secondo blocco

Gabriel Bella and Scenes from Venetian Life

This ‘immersive room’ transports you back to eighteenth-century Venice, the most intriguing of the major European cities of the age. Parades and processions, state ceremonies and sacred liturgies in places of power and faith, holidays and games all take place in a spectacular documentary about the institutions, rituals and customs of the Serenissima Republic. Gabriel Bella’s (Venice, 1730 - 1799) paintings portray an entire community and its popular events. For the backgrounds, Bella draws inspiration from the landscape artists, in particular Canaletto. However, the life spilling out of each painting is all his own.

Elisabetta Di Maggio’s Contemporary Grafting

"In 2004 Elisabetta Di Maggio used a scalpel to engrave the plaster of a corner of the first room of the house museum, bringing to light layers of previous paintwork: a meticulous, patient, daily work. The result is 'Senza titolo - Muro #5 [Untitled – Wall #5]', an elegant contemporary wall lacework. The artist was inspired by some fragments of fabric which had once adorned the palace rooms and that are now conserved in the Fondazione archives. Burgeoning memories trace connections between past and present, evoking a reflection on time, a theme dear to the artist and to ‘Conserving the Future’, the Fondazione’s contemporary art project. "

Mario Botta’s restitching

"Mario Botta graduated in 1969 from IUAV, the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, under Giuseppe Mazzariol and Carlo Scarpa. During his studies, the Fondazione – along with the library and the recently completed Scarpa Area – was an important reference point for him. When redefining part of the spaces, Botta also referred to that experience and to the teachings of the master architect. From the new entrance to the covered courtyard to the auditorium, the Swiss architect’s references to Scarpa are explicit in the essential lines, and in the combination or juxtaposition of materials and colours: stone and metal, black and white, grey and red. "

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Kiki Smith’s game of seduction

The sculpture 'Io (seated)' in the museum home is a small, seated statue, donated by the American artist as a memento of her 2005 exhibition 'Homespun Tales: Stories of Domestic Occupation'. The sculpture revisits the Greek myth of Io, a priestess of the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus. Enchanted by the woman, Zeus falls back on one of his usual stratagems to seduce her whilst protecting himself from Hera’s jealousy: he transforms himself into a cloud. In Kiki Smith’s contemporary interpretation, it appears that the young priestess is playing with a bright and mysterious bundle: the cloud. Is it actually she who is leading this game of seduction?

Ippolito Caffi’s Moon

A reporter of Italian unification: Ippolito Caffi (Belluno, 1809 - Lissa, 1866) experienced 1848 and the ‘Expedition of the Thousand’ with Garibaldi, but he was also a painter of journeys: Italy, Greece, Egypt, Paris, Constantinople. The Collezione Intesa Sanpaolo has two beautiful paintings by Caffi: 'Nocturne' (Venice) and a bold 'Self-portrait'. Pietro Selvatico said of him that he was ‘the artist who knows nocturnal effects the best’, as is clear in the work in the collection. The moonlight beams onto the water and floods the square. This nocturne is a classic of late-eighteenth century and nineteenth-century landscape painting.

Recent donations

The artists involved in the decades-long Conserving the Future project often decide to donate a work to the Fondazione, as a souvenir of their participation and as testimony to the way they dialogued with the spaces, collections and architecture. Recent donations include works by George Adéagbo, Margherita Andreu, Stefano Arienti, Giuseppe Caccavale, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Mona Hatoum, Haris Epaminonda, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Joseph Kosuth, Maria Morganti, Giulio Paolini, Remo Salvadori, Mariateresa Sartori, Anita Sieff, Kiki Smith, and Qiu Zhijie. 

Maria Morganti’s chromatic diary

Maria Morganti describes her work thus: ‘I don’t make colour, I find it.’ The artist conceived her 'Sedimentation' painting for the nineteenth-century room in the museum home for her personal exhibition in 2008. Taking her cue from objects and paintings displayed in the room, particularly the colours of the flower in the hair of Alessandro Milesi’s 'La modella [The Model]' (1910), Morganti’s work absorbs the various hues. The creative process is clear on the upper edge of the canvas, where a history of the stratifications accumulates in thin layers: it is a chromatic diary, an accumulation of the experience, a trace of the artist’s work.

The World of Arturo Martini

The Querini houses two large cement paste sculptures and eight bronze bas-reliefs by Arturo Martini (Treviso, 1889 - Milano, 1947). The sculptures probably depict an Allegory of the Sea and an Allegory of the Earth. They are early works that recall early Greek statuary. With those stylised forms, the artist opened the path towards a renaissance in Italian sculpture. This can also be seen in his bas-reliefs of 1917: they capture life in the trenches during the Great War. Martini presented them in a competition for a monument. He did not win. His works were considered too dramatically sincere and not patriotic enough.

Michele De Lucchi’s visual telescope

"In 2015 the architect Michele De Lucchi was asked to restore the rooms chosen to house the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia collections (entrusted to the Fondazione by Intesa Sanpaolo). The project, completed in 2018, leaves a new, indelible architectural mark that dialogues with the history of the palace. De Lucchi knocked down a series of partition walls, thus reinstating the spectacular visual effect of the doors, which are aligned to create a single visual telescope. The colour chosen for the walls gradually fades from one room to the next, delineating a chronological and visual emotional journey from the sixteenth century of Tintoretto to the twentieth century of Arturo Martini. "

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Collezione Intesa Sanpaolo

The Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia collection, now known as the Collezione Intesa Sanpaolo, contains three nuclei. As well as the collection of artworks displayed to the public, the collection also contains the ‘Venetian Library’, which consists of bibliographical material concerning the history, economics and art of the city of Venice. The works were collected to document the great Venetian publishing tradition, with rare editions printed in Venice between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The third nucleus is the coin collection, which includes an important collection of coins from the Venetian mint: it documents the history of the Serenissima Republic from the second half of the thirteenth century until 1866. To consult the Intesa Sanpaolo collection, write to:

Photographic Archives

The Fondazione is also a place of photography: a centre of photographic documentation about Venice in particular and the study of the history of photography. Its photographic collections are a history of the world and of perhaps the most depicted city in the world. Approximately 2,800,000 ‘digital objects’ entered the collections between 2017 and 2021 thanks to three important donations: the Graziano Arici archive, the Luigi Ferrigno archive and the Mark Smith archive. Added to these are the Fondo Luigi Ghirri [Luigi Ghirri Archival Collection] and the Querini Archival Collection. To consult the photographic archives, write to: A platform is being developed which will soon allow visitors to consult all the photos digitally.

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Stefano Arienti’s past and present

Stefano Arienti’s work is entitled 'Porte tagliafuoco [Fire Doors']. It was part of his 2008 exhibition 'Disegni dimessi' [Discarded Drawings]. The artist transformed two fire doors situated in the Portego – the salon – of the museum home, blending them in with their eighteenth-century surroundings. Arienti applied adhesive plastic film, which imitates wood and can usually be found in DIY stores, to the doors. He cut the film into lozenge shapes, creating an inlaid effect of various types of wood that imitates the antique inlaid doors present in the space. The doors thus take on a new value and become a symbolic threshold between past and present.

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