The exhibition is part of the initiatives promoted and financed by the Veneto Regional Authorities, coordinated by the Regional Committee for the celebrations marking the five hundredth anniversary of Palladio’s birth. Organized in collaboration with the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, it goes back over Palladio’s steps in Venice and his not always univocal relations with the Venetian world, its government, intellectuals, clergymen, religious orders, charitable and devotional organisations and publishers. It includes over 300 works – printed publications, manuscripts, documents and drawings – that are testimony of Palladio’s Venetian surroundings and his work in the city (on the one hand his theoretical work, on the other, his designs, carried out, disappeared). Particular importance is given to Palladio’s intervention on the redefinition of the symbolic and unique urban fabric of Venice, Saint Mark’s Basin, with the façades of San Giorgio Maggiore and the votive Church of the Redentore and the Zitelle complex on the island of the Giudecca, creating an effect that was of extraordinary renovative strength.
Thanks to the collaboration with the Venice IUAV – Workshop System, one section of the exhibition includes new photogrammetric reliefs that, for the first time, allow a comparison between Palladio’s numerous façades, thus creating an extensive collection of technical, historical and scientific data that allow the comparison and visualisation of information that had not previously been available; it also documents how the way in which Palladio’s work was seen and portrayed has changed over the years.
Scientific curators of the exhibition: Lionello Puppi, Giandomenico Romanelli, Andrea Bellieni.
Although one might think that Palladio’s work has already been treated exhaustively, libraries and archives still contain a good deal of fresh or unexplored information and objective data that can help to create a fuller picture of Andrea’s activities and personality, his contacts and his milieu, his dramas and his triumphs, his doubts, crises and uncertainties, including those of his insidious Venetian adventures. A rich selection of material from the Biblioteca Correr, the Marciana, the Querini Stampalia in Venice, from the Bertoliana in Vicenza and from the Biblioteca Civica Treviso, forms the nucleus of this exhibition, which follows Palladio’s career in Venice, focusing on his shifting relations with the city, with its governing class, its intellectuals, its clergy and religious orders, its assistential and devotional organizations and its publishers. The six sections of the exhibition contain over 300 works – including printed editions, manuscripts, documents and drawings –which allow the viewer to explore Palladio’s Venetian milieu and his activities in the city (both his theoretical research and the numerous works he planned and created, including some that no longer exist).
The exhibition emphasises Palladio’s intellectual accomplishments: in Venice he published works of a philological and archaeological nature, in addition to the successful treatiseI Quattro Libri dell’Architettura of 1570. Although he was part of circles of extremely high cultural, social and political profile, he was never to become a resident of Venice and neither was he to become one of her ‘citizens’; perhaps it was because of some profound incompatibility between his ties with the nobility around Vicenza and the higher powers of Venice; or perhaps it was because of his natural disposition that was unyielding towards compromise and a rigour that might have seemed unrestrainable. This is what the exhibition in Venice has strived to appraise with the greatest attention and significant originality.