Venice, The Accademia Galleries
Duration: 2 hours
The Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice are one of the most important Italian museums. They host an extraordinary collection of Venetian and Venetian works from 1300 to 1700: Bellini, Giorgione, Carpaccio, Tiziano, Tiepolo, Hayez, Longhi, Tintoretto and Veronese, are some of the artists present with their works in the Gallery. Here is the famous drawing of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. But it is not only the works that deserve admiration: the same complex in which the museum is housed is an extraordinary architectural work made up of the Church of Santa Maria della Carità, the Convent of the Lateran Canons and the Scuola Grande della Carità.
Founded in 1750 for educational purposes, the Academy of Fine Arts was the art school of Venice and was involved in teaching painting, sculpture and architecture. As had happened with other Italian Academies (Brera and Bologna), the Academy also had the task of collecting and conserving works of art that would serve as an example and inspiration for students. At the fall of the Serenissima Republic of Venice and with the invasion by French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797, religious orders were abolished and many churches were sacked and razed to the ground. A huge number of extraordinary masterpieces took the Louvre street in Paris and another part enriched the Pinacoteca of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. A number of works that could never be calculated went missing and were sold to private individuals. It was in this context that the Pinacoteca of the Academy of Fine Arts became a defense against the further theft of Venetian works.
With a Napoleonic decree of 1807, the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice was founded (evolution of the pre-existing Academy of Painters and Sculptors already active since 1750) which is housed in the Charity complex.
After a first attempt to collect works representative of the major Italian and foreign pictorial schools, it was decided to favor Venetian pictorial production: the choice was right, because today the Accademia Galleries are the most important collection of masterpieces of the Venetian and Venetian school.