The Accademia is deceptively large, and many visitors linger in the early rooms at the expense of the 17th and 18th century works housed in the later rooms – pace yourself!
If you’re looking something a little more traditional than the art than can be found in the nearby Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Gallerie dell’Accademia is the place to go. Located on the south Bank of the Grand Canal, the gallery showcases art produced prior to the 19th century. Founded in 1807 on the orders of Napoleon, it also has the distinction of being one of the first institutions worldwide to begin formally and methodically developing the process of art restoration.
A Visual Feast
The 24 rooms of the Accademia proceed in approximately chronological order. Things get off to a dramatic start in Room 1, where you can see a lively painting of the whore of Babylon riding a hydra while blood streams from her mouth. Exploring further, you will pass some beautiful pieces by the Venetian masters Bellini and Carpaccio in Room 2, and a large, strikingly contrasted painting of a muscular John the Baptist by Titian in Room 6. Rooms 12-19 are often used for expertly-curated temporary exhibitions, while Room 20 contains a magnificent cycle of works by Carpaccio, including “Cure of a lunatic” and “The Story of St. Ursula”. Don’t miss the relatively rare opportunity to see a large-scale collaboration piece in Room 24 – a large triptych by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d’Alemagna, hanging next to Titian’s “Presentation of the Virgin”.
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