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Bavarian State Painting Collections reopens branch gallery dedicated to the Golden Age of Venetian painting
Staatsgalerie Würzburg, Raumansicht mit Werken von Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Photo: Haydar Koyupinar © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München.

MUNICH.- The now renovated branch gallery of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) in Würzburg, with its new hanging, is dedicated to the Golden Age of Venetian painting.

The Residence of the Prince-Bishops owes its global fame to the magnificent architecture of Balthasar Neumann and especially to the frescoes in the Imperial Hall and above the staircase by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770). With the overwhelming fresco that Tiepolo painted in 1752/53 on the vaulted ceiling spanning the wide staircase area, visitors can experience one of the most significant works of Venetian art from the Late Baroque period. The gallery, housed in the North Wing of the Residence, is therefore devoted entirely to Venetian painting from the 16th to the 18th century. The display has been rearranged and supplemented by important works from the holdings of the Bavarian State Painting Collections. As the result of a comprehensive restoration programme, the works have now regained their original brilliance.

The tour starts with paintings from the workshops of Titian and Veronese, of Palma Giovane and the Bassani that recall Venice’s prestigious tradition as a centre of trade and the arts. With intelligence and humour, with the use of much light and powerful colours, Amigoni, Piazzetta, Pittoni and the two Tiepolos provided a setting for mythological and religious history scenes. In the second section of the gallery their works proclaim the pan-European dominance of Venetian painting in the 18th century.

The devotional and history paintings, allegories and portraits shown provide an insight into the social, political and religious life in the city on the lagoon. Two unusual paintings of scenes by Joseph Heintz the Younger depict Venice as a city of festivals and amusement.

At the centre of the presentation in the former theatre of the Residence are the allegories of the virtues from Veronese’s workshop that face the altarpiece painted by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo in 1754 for Münsterschwarzach Abbey. This juxtaposition gives some idea of how deeply the work of the Venetian masters of the Late Baroque was rooted in the style of the High Renaissance in their native city. At first glance their painting evokes the former glory of Venice. The depiction of the ambassadors’ reception by Luca Carlevarijs is an exemplary documentation of how the city’s elite, with their passion for grandeur, denied the loss of Venice’s economic and political power.

Following the completion of renovation work, financed jointly by the Bavarian State Painting Collections and the Bavarian Department of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, the new silk wall covering has made a considerably improved presentation possible, with texts in German and English providing concise information on artists, subjects and the origin of the paintings. The Staatsgalerie will be open once again to visitors touring the Residence from 2 December 2016 onwards.

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