The most important museum in Venice is, no doubt, the Galleria dell’Accademia, a monumental museum with an incredibly rich collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, starting in the 14th Century.
As I mentioned earlier, being predominantly interested in 19th and 20th Century modern art, I didn’t expect to be impressed much with Italian Renaissance art, but I was wrong. Where I had anticipated to be confronted with religious images in dark shades, I in fact greatly enjoyed the lively, colourful paintings – indeed mostly depicting religious scenes, of which no doubt lots of the symbolism has evaded me, but showing enough variation and technical ability to also entertain a layman like me.
Some of the paintings are huge, filling an entire wall. Gentile Bellini’s painting Procession in the Piazza San Marco is almost 4 x 7.5 meters. What is nice, of course, is that being in Venice, one immediately recognises the Basilica of San Marco, and the square in front of it, it hasn’t changed much since (perhaps a few more terraces, these days). But was strikes me most with this work, and many others, is the amount of detail present. I am the first to admit that such an enormous painting baffles me at first sight, but take your time, look close up, and you start discovering all kinds of fine details, paintings within the painting, so to speak. I have tried to illustrate that with some of the photos in this entry, a small selection of the almost 400 works that are, apparently, exhibited here – I didn’t count them. Of course, in such a rich collection there is much more to admire, too, like portraits that seem timeless – just look at Antonello da Messina’s blue Madonna in the ‘Annunciata’, or the bright, slightly naive ‘Madonna col Bambino’ byan unknown painter from the Venetian-Byzantine school.
Hours I spent here…