The collection of drawings from the Venetian 19th century at the Museo Correr is one of the biggest on the graphic scene of that century. It consists in several hundred sheets of different quality and kinds that – maybe because they have been obscured by the fame of the vast collections of drawings from the 18th century – have never received the attention they deserved and were thus considered a ‘lesser’ patrimony’ for years and therefore mainly used as a source of documentation. However, the outstanding importance of these collections gradually became clear from various points of view. As part of the programme of developing the vast patrimony of its collections, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia is presenting a vast exhibition of these drawings at the Correr, most of which are on display for the very first time, including works by artists such as Caffi, Pividor, Guardi, Moro, Bosa, Vervloet to name but a few.
Curated by Giandomenico Romanelli, Filippo Pedrocco, Andrea Bellieni, the exhibition is installed in the Hall of Honour and the Museum’s large exhibition area on the second floor. The works on display all in some way connected to Venice: either the subject of the works is Venetian, or they were conceived and completed in Venice, or they are about Venice, inspired by the city and its monumental and social aspects as a subject of exercise or poetical sensations.
The Venice that appears in the nineteenth-century drawings of the Correr is surprising: both modern and ancient, distracted and suffering, secret and well-known; it reveals the nerves and muscles of a body in suffering that refuses to yield, full of life and dynamic. Above all, there are outbursts of reality, of what is true, going beyond rhetoric and regrets, beyond nostalgia and laments. A Venice that is unusual and full of fascination during the years of Ruskin and the first big, controversial restoration projects, the affirmation of tourists seeking sensations that differ from those of the Grand Tour of the Enlightenment. It is a season of studies and research; a nineteenth century that is starving for history and industry, contradictory and fragile, unsure and headstrong. In a word, Modern.