Correr Museum - Saint Mark Square, San Marco 52 - Venice
The Correr Civic Museum is housed in the so-called Napoleonic Wing, a branch of the Procuratie in front of the Basilica of San Marco, overlooking Piazza San Marco: the building was commissioned by Napoleon for ceremonial needs and was built after the destruction of a church Sansovino that was very dear to the Venetians since the sixteenth century.
The Correr Museum takes its name from Teodoro Correr (1750-1830), the last descendant of the noble family and skilled collector, who decided to leave his works to the city of Venice.
The Correr Museum has been open since 1922 and there are numerous art exhibitions organized throughout the year.
The Correr Museum is divided into the following sections:
- Neoclassical Rooms: they host works by Antonio Canova (1757-1822), including many preparatory gypsums.
- Wunderkammer: hosts 300 works including paintings and precious artifacts.
- Venetian Civilization: aspects of Venetian public and political life are illustrated in the Procuratie Nuove.
- Rooms of Empress Elisabeth: residence in the lagoon of the sovereign on a visit to Venice.
- La Quadreria: on the second floor houses masterpieces of Venetian art from its origins to the sixteenth century.
Masterpieces of Correr Museum
- St. John Baptist by Paolo Veneziano (XIV secolo)
- Crucifixion of San Salvador by Giovanni Bellini (1455-1460)
- Pity by Cosmè Tura (1460)
- Transfiguration by Giovanni Bellini (1455-1460)
- Dead Christ supported by two cherubs (1460)
- Madonna with child by Giovanni Bellini (1470-1475)
- Cristo in pietà sorretto da tre angeli by Antonello da Messina (1474-1476)
- Portrait of Doge Giovanni Mocenigo by Giovanni Bellini (1480)
- Two Venetian ladies by Vittore Carpaccio (1490)
- Man with red cap by Vittore Carpaccio (1490-1493)
- Veduta prospettica di Venezia by Jacopo de' Barbari (1500)
- Ritratto del doge Leonardo Loredan di Vittore Carpaccio (1501-05)
- Orfeo and Euridice by Antonio Canova (1777)
- Dedalo and Icaro by Antonio Canova (1778-79)
Rooms of the Empress Sissi
The decoration of these rooms was built between 1836 and 38 for the arrival of Emperor Ferdinando I and then between 1854 and 1856 for the visit of the state of Francesco Giuseppe and Elisabetta, called "Sissi", which was held between November 1856 and January 1857. Sissi then stayed in this palace between October 1861 and May 1862.
Weekly lunch Room
Unofficial lunches were held here; the decoration is the work of Giuseppe Borsato in 1836 and presents the polychrome paretiaffreschi depicting candelabra in squares framed by linear patterns and colors gray-violet and green-gold and interspersed with winged figures in relief of gilded stucco. The ceiling is vaulted with "grotesque" decorations with a frieze decorated with marine deities. The furniture features furniture dating back to the Neoclassical Age.
Lombardo-Veneto Throne Hall
The next room, always frescoed by Borsato in 1838, was the waiting room of the next Sala delle Udienze of the Empress Sissi. The wallpaper on the walls in red and gold is the work of Rubelli di Venezia and reproduces what was put in 1854 which remains under the current one. The vaulted ceiling, decorated in chiaroscuro with architectural elements made of trompe l'oeil and panels with classical weapons, presents two coats of arms of the Lombard-Venetian Kingdom, with the biscione, symbol of the Visconti of Milan and the lion of San Marco of Venice, with on top of the Iron Crown, a symbol of imperial power, allegorical figures are supported in pairs. The furniture is original in the Empire style, typical of Neoclassicism, while the eighteenth-century chandelier is in Murano glass and presents polychrome floral decoration.
Halls of Audiences
Here the ceiling has stuccoed ceilings and the floor is in wood while on the walls there is a red and cream upholstery, a copy of the original underlying dating back to 1854.
Remains of the original furniture 10 carved and gilded eighteenth-century Venetian armchairs with velvet brocades and a carved and gilded mirror above the fireplace. The Murano glass chandelier dates back to the nineteenth century.
From here you enter the Sissi apartments; this was the bathroom and has a cream-colored decoration. The eighteenth-century chandelier comes from central Europe.
Empress Studio Room
It was private practice where Sissi was dedicated to reading and writing. Here on the walls there are figures of classical-Renaissance inspiration that can also be seen on the ceiling frieze. In this room after 1866 the Savoy made changes covering the squares with the green visible now. The cabinet is in neo-baroque style, and the chandelier is nineteenth-century Murano glass with drops in blown glass.
Boudoir of the Empress
The Sisssi bathroom has a Giovanni Rossi decoration with gray-blue marmorino walls and ceiling with crystal inserts. White stuccos and polychrome flowers decorate the hall together with stucco eagles bearing the coats of arms of the kingdoms of Austria and Bavaria. At the center of the ceiling is the protective goddess of the arts and in a wall there is the Venus' toilet. The nineteenth-century chandelier is from Bohemia.
Here Sissi slept from 1856. The ceiling remains a neoclassical decoration (1810) with fresco figures by Giovanni Bevilacqua depicting with the presence of Jupiter, Judgment of Paris, Toeletta of Venus, Venus and Peristera with Cupid). On the walls there is a neo-baroque wallpaper in blue and gold which is a reproduction of the original preserved below, by Rubelli, Venice.
It preserves a bed in pure Empire style of Napoleon's stepson, Eugenio Beauharnais who was viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy (1806-1814). There are portraits of Sissi and Francesco Giuseppe, by Georg Martin Raab (Vienna 1821-1885) and an altarpiece depicting La Trinità, by Carletto Caliari, son of Paolo Veronese.
Anteroom of the apartments
The room linked the rooms of Sissi with those of Francesco Giuseppe and presents a decoration in neoclassical sitle, by Giuseppe Borsato (1810-11), coffered with rounds and octagons with mythological figures that are inspired by archaeological finds from Herculaneum . Here too the red tapestry is a copy of the original that is kept underneath and the nineteenth-century chandelier is neoclassical.
Oval room, "Daily lunch room"
The oval-shaped room in neoclassical style combines the royal apartments, with a beautiful view of the gardens and the San Marco basin. and the halls of representation and was also used for private dinners of the imperial couple. The decorations are always by Giuseppe Borsato with interventions by Giovanni Rossi (1854). There are mythological representations among stucco pilasters with geometric patterns and polychrome flowers with gold and chiaroscuro decorations. In the room there are two busts of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Maria Luisa of Austria by the artist Luigi Pizzi (1810).
The Ballroom, designed by Lorenzo Santi (1822) and decorated by Giuseppe Borsato (1837), presents a ceiling depicting La Pace surrounded by Virtues and Geni dell'Olimpo, by Odorico Politi (1785-1846).
In these rooms are preserved drawings by Antonio Canova in pencil and ink, projects that only in some cases resulted in a final statuary realization. In addition to the terracotta models, the sculptural groups Orfeo and Euridice (1777) and Dedalo and Icaro made by a very young Antonio Canova (1778-79) are also conserved here. The subsequent coronation as a sculptor took place in Rome thanks to the papal funerary monuments of which plaster casts can be seen here. Exposed are also three bas-reliefs that Canova (1787) inspired by the Iliad and the Aeneid that were never translated into marble but contributed to make Canova the protagonist of the neoclassical culture that will dominate the art scene for decades.
Rooms of Venetian Civilization
The museum section is developed in the Procuratie Nove wing, designed by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552-1616), and illustrates various aspects of Venetian society at the time of the Serenissima. In the Library Hall of Palazzo San Vidal, which belonged to the Pisans, manuscripts and prints dating from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries are preserved. In the Halls of the Magistrates you can see portraits of the Procurators of San Marco and the Senators of the Republic in official clothes. Both this room and the previous one features an 18th-century Murano glass chandelier.
The Hall of Coins preserves the rich numismatic collection that includes pieces from 820 up to 1797, the year of the end of the Serenissima arranged in chronological order; from the first imperial coins, passing to the duchy of silver (XIII century) and the duchy of gold coined in 1285 which then changed its name into a golden sequin, a coin that was always identical for three centuries.
The Hall Venice and the Sea presents two models of jail and navigational instruments of the time testify to the Venetian thalassocracy in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. On the walls some paintings depict the naval battles of Venice that took place against the Turks in 1571, 1690 and 1698.
The Hall of the Arsenal, dedicated to the shipyards of the Serenissima and their specialized workers, and the Bucintoro, the famous representation ship used by the Doge in the annual ceremony of the Wedding with the Sea or Sensa. The 37-meter long ship was transformed into a prison at the end of the Serenissima and finally destroyed in 1824. Even today, the reconstruction that would be very expensive is still discussed.
The exploration of the Venetian Civilization concludes with the rooms dedicated to the Feasts, the Arts and the Crafts and the Games. The first room exhibits beautiful paintings by Joseph Heinz the Younger (1600-1678), German painter author of the Entrance of the patriarch Federico Corner to San Pietro di Castello (once the patriarchal Basilica of Venice), La Caccia ai tori in campo San Polo (was held at Carnival and was offered by the beakers or butchers to the citizenship) and Il fresco by boat, or the boat part during the Ascension Day in which was celebrated the Marriage of Venice with the Sea.
In the Halls of Arts and Crafts the role of the working corporations in the city is illustrated starting from the year 200, when the lay schools of confreres belonging to the bourgeois class began, and therefore excluded from the administration of the city patrician prerogative, regulated by the mariegola or capitular card. Some of these decades acquired such a wealth as to be able to build sumptuous homes decorated with the works of the greatest artists since the Renaissance, so as to convert into Scuole Grandi.
Two rooms are dedicated to the Games that in the city, at least in the eighteenth century, played an important role between the people and the nobles; the former practiced outdoors in the fields while the latter gathered in the reduced, real gambling houses belonging to the Serenissima where they played at Sbaraglino (Blackjack), at Biribissi (Roulette), with cards and dice. The people instead dedicated themselves to boxing with epic challenges between Nicolotti (San Polo, Santa Croce and Canaregio) and Castellani (Castello, San Marco, Doroduro) who made an appointment on the bridges as on the Ponte dei Pugni at San Barnaba; or with the construction of great human pyramids as it is still used today in many Spanish cities. On the walls there are paintings depicting the winners of the famous Venetians regattas that have always marked the lagoon calendar.
Here are the masterpieces of the museum that are on the second floor of the Procuratie Nove in the exhibition created by Carlo Scarpa (1957-60); of the 140 works on display, many come from the first nucleus of the collection formed by Teodoro Correr (1750-1830), the last descendant of the patrician family and skilled collector in a moment, the Napoleonic and Austrian, in which many patrician families tended to dispose of testimonies of an era that seemed irretrievably lost.
The route winds in a chronological sense starting from the fourteenth century with paintings by Paolo and Lorenzo Veneziano, the first witnesses of that Venetian school that practiced the first caesura by Byzantine traits, passing by their followers who were protagonists of the Gothic period that took influences from Venetian mainland, following the territorial expansion of the Serenissima.
On this part of Piazza San Marco up to the end of the eighteenth century stood the Church of San Geminiano erected on a project by Jacopo Sansovino in the middle of the sixteenth century. On its sides there were today the Procuratie Vecchie e Nuove, which were with the Serenissima administrative and residential offices of the highest political offices of the Venetian government after the Doge or the Procurators of San Marco.
With the arrival of Napoleon in the lagoon (1797), the end of the Republic on May 12 sanctioned by the Maggior Consiglio and the factual passage of power in the hands of the French, it was decided to demolish the church of Sansovino to allocate the Napoleonic Wing to residence of the new sovereign. The project was completed only after the Restoration (1815) and therefore the building was destined to welcome the Hapsburg rulers visiting Venice and their retinue of ambassadors and courtiers. The so-called Royal Palace therefore extended throughout the wing belonging to the Procuratie Nuove to the current headquarters of the Marciana, opposite Palazzo Ducale. His style has a strongly monumental and Neoclassical imprint according to the dominant taste of the time.
The project that handed over the building to posterity as it is now was signed by the architects GA Antolini, Giuseppe Soli and Lorenzo Santi who oversaw the construction of the double façade, the portico and the interior: the famous staircase leading to the rich ballroom. For the pictorial decoration the Venetian Giuseppe Borsato was called.
The Venetian nobleman Teodoro Correr, dying in 1830, bequeathed to the city of Venice his collection of books and works of art to which were added later and in the twentieth century other important legacies (Emmanuele Antonio Cicogna in 1865 and Pompeo Molmenti in the years '20). After an initial period of allocation of the collection to the current Fondaco dei Turchi (from 1887), now home to the Museum of Natural History, the collection began to be translated into the Napoleonic Wing from the late nineteenth century and the Museum opened its doors to the public in 1922.
How to reach the Correr Museum
The Correr Museum is located in San Marco in Piazza San Marco. From Rialto it can be reached in 5 minutes on foot.
From Rialto, from the Railway Station and from Piazzale Roma, take line 1 with Vallaresso or San Zaccaria stop. Or the line 2 (fastest) with San Zaccaria stop.
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