Museo Correr

Museo Correr

SAN MICHELE IN ISOLA. An Island of Knowledge.


Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico and Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
From May 12th to September 2nd 2012

San Michele in Isola. An Island of Knowledge.
800 years of history and Camaldolese culture in the Venice lagoon

The year 2012 sees the millenary of the foundation of the Camoldolese Order, and the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Venetian Camoldolese monastery of San Michele in Isola, the centre for a fervent religious life and intense cultural activity that exercised considerable influence and played a leading role in the humanist culture of Venice.

To commemorate this special chapter in the cultural life of the city, in close collaboration with Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana and Polo Museale Veneziano, an exhibition will be held in the main rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, illustrating the many aspects of the centuries of Camoldelese life in Venice, starting with a reconstruction of the monastery, collections and prestigious library of San Michele in Isola, and of the equally important Camoldelese Venetian centres of San Maffio di Murano, San Giovanni Battista della Giudecca and San Clemente in Isola.

The exhibition will present valuable historic, artistic and documentary items, for the most part not displayed before; some of them from Venetian collections and some from the Eremo di Camaldoli, where they were sent to protect them from the dispersal of religious collections that took place in the 19th century.

Among the works of greatest worth and interest is the extraordinary Mappamondo (Globe) of Fra’Mauro, a geographic “monument” made in San Michele in the mid-15th century and now conserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. It has recently undergone a complex restoration and is now on public display once more. On show too will be the large organ shutters by Bernardino and Giovanni d’Asola from the chancel of the church of San Michele and now in the Correr Museum, together with some fine and very rare illuminated manuscripts from the libraries of the Venetian Camoldelese monasteries.

A significant number of liturgical objects of great artistic value will arrive from the Eremo di Camaldoli. In some sense, they will be returning to Venice, as San Michele was their former home. An extraordinary series of ecclesiastical drapes formerly belonging to the Camaldolese Pope Gregory XVI will also be on display.

The exhibition will provide an opportunity to rediscover the history and development of Isola di San Michele up to the 19th century, when it became state property and became Venice’s main cemetery. During the exhibition, there will be visits to San Michele, organised in collaboration with the Municipality of Venice, the owner of the monumental complex. A catalogue of about 500 pages, including a comprehensive series of illustrations, entries for the articles on display and texts by the finest experts in the field will be published and distributed by UTET publishing house.


Exhibition co-produced with: Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
Curators: Marcello Brusegan, Matteo Ceriana, Camillo Tonini
Scientific coordination: Paolo Eleuteri, Gianfranco Fiaccadori, Maria Letizia Sebastiani