Gallerie or Museum of the Academy is the largest art museum in Venice, holds the largest collection of paintings by artists of the Venetian school of painting, who worked in XIV-XVIII centuries. The museum building is located on the southern bank of the Grand Canal, and its visit seeks to include in the cultural program of most tourists who come to the city on the water.
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Video: Galleria Accademia in Venice
Venice has always been considered a special place that inspires artists. And it has at all times had enough money to pay for the work of the most famous masters of the brush. Academy Gallery owes its birth to a famous Italian painter Giovanni Batista Piazzetta. It was his initiative in 1750, the Senate of Venice established the Academy of Fine Arts in the city, which was to make the city one of the centers of art education in the country. Within the walls of the new Academy talented Italian young people were trained in painting, sculpture and architecture. It is interesting to note that the Academy was the first institution in Italy to seriously train restorers. Fifty-seven years later the Academy of Art received the status of a Royal Academy.
A significant increase in the artistic collection of the Gallery was due to Napoleon Bonaparte. One of the main customers for the paintings of the famous Venetian artists were the brotherhood of artisans who produced glass. They decorated the churches of their parishes with the paintings. Napoleon destroyed glass production in Murano and closed most of the local churches. Some of the treasures collected in the Venetian churches were taken to Paris, and some were moved to the Venice Academy of Art. Over the years, the collection of paintings grew, and gradually the institution was transformed into a museum.
Even those who are not great connoisseurs of Italian painting take great pleasure in visiting the Gallery of the Academy. Many of the paintings on display here depict old Venice. Looking at canvases that are several centuries old, tourists are surprised to realize that the beautiful Italian city has not changed much over that time.
Building of the Gallery
Museum collection of Venetian painters of the Middle Ages is located in a former monastery, which was built in the 16th century. In addition, the Venetian Academy Gallery occupies part of the building of the Christian church of Santa Maria della Carita, which appeared there even earlier – in the 15th century. The church hall is number 23 in the museum and is intended for temporary exhibitions.
One of the four bridges across the Grand Canal is named after the Art Academy. It connects the buildings of the old convent and the San Marco area.
The collection of the museum, rightfully considered one of the best in Europe, is housed in 25 rooms. Originally there were only five museum rooms, but thanks to the efforts of patrons, the unique collection has greatly expanded over more than two centuries.
It takes from 2 to 3 hours to have a leisurely tour around the works of art exhibited here. It is interesting, that neither chronological, nor thematic canons are observed in the arrangement of the richest art collection. And this peculiarity of the Venetian Academy Gallery at first confuses the viewers.
Today in the museum halls you can see the paintings of all the recognized masters of the brush in Venice. The outstanding painter Giovanni Bellini occupies a special place among them. He was able to create very delicate images in his paintings, and the masterful work of the artist with light is considered a classic of Venetian painting. His style gained many followers, who called themselves “Bellinists.” Bellini’s created images of the Madonna became a real decoration of the Venetian Academy Gallery.
In addition to the works of the artist himself, the museum collection holds the works of his father and brother. Gentile Bellini’s historic painting “Procession in Piazza San Marco” always attracts many visitors, who linger long at this picture.
Of the masters of the brush of the XV-XVII centuries, the museum presents Giorgione, Cima da Conegliano, Titian and Tintoretto. Of the artists of the eighteenth century, one can see the works of Canaletto and Tiepolo.
Many of the paintings were painted by artists to decorate the halls of palaces, and therefore are large in size. A huge canvas by Veronese “Feast in the House of Levi” occupies a whole wall of one of the museum halls. Another pride of the Academy is Carpaccio’s cycle of paintings, The Story of Saint Ursula.
In each of the halls of the Academy Gallery it is worthwhile to use the information sheets, on which, in English and Italian, the names of the paintings, the years of creation of the paintings and information about their authors – the years and places of birth and death are indicated.
Opening hours and prices
Due to the constant flow of visitors, the Accademia Museum is open on all days of the week and has only two days off each year, December 25 and January 1. On Monday it only accepts visitors on the morning hours of 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 7:25 p.m.
Visitors under 18 years can enter the gallery for free. For all others the ticket costs 9 euros. It is convenient that for 6 euros you can use the audio guide in Russian.
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, there is a discount. Each couple in love or family can get one free ticket. In addition, free admission is available on the first Sunday of each month and on days of special museum events, such as the European Heritage Days.
You should also keep in mind that the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice is a very popular tourist attraction. So it is almost always crowded, and in front of the entrance there is a long line.
All visitors to the Gallery note the politeness and correctness of its staff. The staff working in the halls speaks English and German and at visitors’ request they help them orient in the museum collection.
How to get there
The famous Venetian Gallery of the Accademia is located at Ponte dell’Accademia, Campo della Carita, 1050. You can reach this place by vaporetto along the Grand Canal. The stop is the Ponte dell’Accademia. Also, from Piazza San Marco you can walk to the Gallery in 15-20 minutes.
Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice
Le Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia is one of the most important museums in Italy. It houses an outstanding collection of the Venetian school of painting from the 1300s to the 1700s. Bellini, Giorgione, Carpaccio, Titian, Tiepolo, Hayes, Longi, Tintoretto, and Veronese are the names of the artists whose works are represented in the gallery. The museum also has in its collection Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing “Vitruvian Man”. Although it is rarely exhibited. But it’s not just the works of art that attract the gallery. The complex, which houses the museum, represents an important architectural heritage. The museum consists of several historic buildings:
- the church of Santa Maria della Carita,
- its convent, part of which, of the 16th century, belongs to the genius of Palladio
- and the premises of the Scuola Grande of the same name.
The Gallery has 37 rooms divided into thematic exhibition routes starting from the paintings of the XIV until the XVIII century.
History of the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice
As in other similar cases in Italy, the main purpose of creating an art gallery in an academic complex dedicated to art, was purely didactic. Thus, the works of local and foreign artists began to be collected in order to inspire young people to choose artistic professions.
In 1750 the Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Fondaco della Farina, not far from St. Mark’s Square, where today the Port Authority is located, with regular classes in painting, sculpture and architecture.
With the arrival of Napoleon and the fall of the Serenissima Republic of Venice (1797), first the terrible pillage of the paintings that found their way mainly to the Louvre Museum in Paris or to the Brera Museum in Milan and then the general reorganisation of the structure, which by decree of 1807 was transferred to the convent and school of Santa Maria della Carità.
Performing the role of both school and museum, it was soon decided to abandon the idea of a “universal museum” in favor of the history of local painting . It is thanks to this choice that today the Galleria dell’Accademia houses one of the most important collections of the Venetian school of painting in the world.
In 2004 the museum acquired an independent status, separating it from the Academy of Arts.
The most famous masterpieces of the Accademia Gallery
Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese (Verona, 1528 – Venice, 1588), Banquet at the House of Levi, 1573, oil on canvas, 560 x 1309 cm, Venice, Galleria Accademia
Today the museum consists of 37 exhibition halls that house the greatest masterpieces of Western culture, from Giorgione’s famous Tempest to Giovanni Bellini and Titian’s Pietà, from Canova’s sculptures to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
An extraordinary collection that was enriched over time by important acquisitions such as Andrea Mantegna’s Saint George or works by foreign artists such as Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch.
One of the main and most popular works is undoubtedly Convito in casa Levi (Feast in the House of Levi) by the painter Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese. It is a large canvas over thirteen meters long, originally painted for the refectory of the Basilica of Saints John and Paul in 1573. The scene was supposed to depict the Last Supper, a theme that has traditionally adorned many refectories, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.But it was condemned by the Inquisition and the artist had to answer for it personally. He changed the title of the painting to Convito in casa Levi (Banquet in the House of Levi), but did not abandon the freedom of pictorial expression and the depiction of characters in solemn poses.
Giorgione (Castelfranco Veneto, c. 1478 – Venice, 1510), The Tempest, 1502-1503, tempera and oil on canvas, 83 x 73 cm, Venice, Galleria Accademia.
Giorgione’s The Tempest is of great historical and artistic significance. Probably painted at the beginning of the 16th century . The mysterious and emblematic scene, set against a natural landscape, depicts a naked woman breastfeeding her child and a reddish guardsman. Lightning pierces the sky, the incredible natural power conveyed through simple veils of color is extraordinary.
Jacopo Tintoretto (Venice, 1518 – Venice, 1594), Saint Mark Freeing a Slave from Torture (also called The Miracle of Saint Mark), 1547-1548, Venice, Academy Gallery
Sixteenth-century Venetian painting is represented by the paintings of Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto . His most famous masterpiece in the gallery is Il Miracolo di San Marco (The Miracle of St. Mark), in which a saint manages to save a slave lying on the ground from unjust martyrdom. The emotionality of the moment, the singularity of the composition, and the vividness of the colors make this painting representative of the entire direction of the Venetian school of painting.
Although Venice is the leading city of “color” and “colorism,” the Gallery of the Academy contains a most valuable collection of drawings, engravings, and preparatory sketches of the great artists of the past. The collection of fragile and unusual drawings, which the museum carefully preserves from light and microclimatic damage, includes several sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello Sanzio, Canaletto, Hayes and a very important drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti depicting an episode related to Greek mythology, the fall of Phaeton.
Leonardo da Vinci, Proportions of the Human Body by Vitruvius – “Vitruvian Man” (c. 1490; metal point, pen and ink, watercolor strokes on white paper, 34.4 x 24.5 cm; Venice, Galleria Accademia)
Also in this section is Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic masterpiece Vitruvian Man. in which the Florentine master depicted the ideal proportions of the human body, inscribing a man with outstretched arms in both a circle and a square. This small pen-and-ink drawing on paper dates from about 1490 and has been in the Gallery since 1822, when it was acquired by the artist, poet, and art collector Giuseppe Bossi.
How to get there, schedules, and ticket prices for the Galleria dell’Accademia
The Galleria dell’Accademia is located along the Grand Canal in front of the Accademia Bridge. It is a 30-40 minute walk from Piazzale Roma (parking) or from the Venezia Santa Lucia train station.
From Piazzale Roma or the railway station
River Tram Line 2, direction Lido, stop Accademia (total 6 stops, duration 20 minutes) River Tram Line 1, direction Lido, stop Accademia (total 11 stops, duration 28 minutes)
From St. Mark’s Square
River streetcar line 2, direction P.le Roma, stop Accademia (3 stops, duration 8 minutes) River streetcar line 1, direction p.le Roma, stop Accademia (3 stops, duration 8 minutes)
Monday: 8.15 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closing begins on the first floor at 1.30 p.m.) Tuesday through Sunday: 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m. (closing begins on the first floor at 6.45 p.m.) Ticket sales close Monday at 1 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday at 6:15 p.m. Closed: January 1, December 25 and May 1
The combined ticket price for the Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia + Palazzo Grimani is: