In the midst of appreciating the collection, be sure to take a look out the windows of the Napoleonic Wing – it offers some great views of the square.
It may not quite enjoy the fame of the great basilica at the other end of St. Mark’s Square, but the Museo Correr is an outstandingly beautiful building itself, both inside and out. The Napoleonic Wing, which overlooks the square, invariably draws the eye with its two-storey double row of gleaming marble arches and its exquisite upper frieze.
A Man on a Mission
The museum was the result of one man’s passion, persistence, keen eye and tremendous financial resources. Teodoro Correr had tirelessly collected paintings, sculptures and articles of any kind that he considered to be important pieces of Venetian heritage, in the process preventing many of them from being auctioned off to foreigners, as cash-strapped old nobility sought to sustain themselves after the fall of the Venetian Republic. On his death in 1830, he bequeathed everything to the city, together with funds for maintenance of the collection, and the museum was finally opened in 1836.
The Ultimate Display of Venetian Art
The first floor (rooms 6-18) presents a history of Venice, including portraits of doges and important aristocrats, rare Venetian printed works and a wide variety of weaponry and armour that showcases the city’s military history. The rest of the museum is dedicated solely to Venetian artwork. Particularly striking is the collection of vivacious statues of saints in room 36, some gorgeous paintings by Giovanni Bellini (including the “Crucifixion” and “The Transfiguration of Christ”), Carpaccio’s quintessentially Renaissance “Two Venetian Ladies” and Jacopo di Barbari’s impossibly intricate woodblock carving depicting the city as it looked in the late 15th century.
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