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Museum of Palazzo Grimani opens 'The Room of the Doge and 'Georg Baselitz: Archinto'
Georg Baselitz: Archinto. Installation view. Ph. Matteo De Fina. Courtesy: Gagosian.



VENICE.- The Museum of Palazzo Grimani in Santa Maria Formosa is presenting Domus Grimani. The Room of the Doge - the new set-up of one of the palace’s most spectacular and evocative rooms returning to its Renaissance splendour – and Archinto, the show dedicated to German artist Georg Baselitz’s new works, twelve of which conceived especially for Palazzo Grimani, will remain on long-term loan to the museum from the artist thanks to an exceptional agreement.

Palazzo Grimani, thus, confirms its leading role in the Venetian cultural scene with two new projects highlighting the dialogue between Ancient and Contemporary art, in a unique place which represents an exception in the city’s architectural and artistic landscape.

The result of the collaboration between Veneto’s Regional Directorate for Museums (Direzione regionale Musei Veneto) and the Venetian Heritage Foundation, the relocation of the Greek and Roman sculptures of the Grimani collection is part of a wide strategy to enhance and promote Palazzo Grimani and its history, following the rearrangement of the Tribuna of Patriarch Giovanni Grimani with the exhibition DOMUS GRIMANI 1594-2019, opened in May 2019.




The Room of the Doge was created at the same time as the extension works of the palace completed in 1568 and commissioned by Giovanni Grimani, patriarch of Aquileia, after a first set of works realised together with his brother Vettore. This space, an ideal counterpart to the Tribuna and probably also designed by Giovanni himself, wanted to celebrate Antonio Grimani, skilled spice merchant and first doge of the family. Decorated with ancient and precious marbles such as yellow alabaster, green serpentine and red porphyry – all from the eastern Mediterranean where their grandfather acquired wealth and fame as spice merchant and military man – the room creates a spectacular setting in which to exhibit part of the classical sculptures from the family collection.

Through a thorough study of historical sources - including the inventory of Giovanni Grimani's possessions, historical descriptions of the time and late 19th century photographs recently discovered in the library of the National Gallery in Washington - the curators Daniele Ferrara, director of Veneto’s Regional Directorate for Museums, and Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage, were able to relocate twenty sculptures inside the room, including the imperial Roman era Dionysus leaning on a satyr in the niche of the front wall. Eleven more sculptures are placed in the adjoining rooms: six in the chapel’s vestibule, one in the Camerino di Callisto and four in the Sala di Psiche.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book published by Marsilio which includes a wide range of images documenting the operation, completing the editorial research on the Museum started with the show Domus Grimani 1594-2019.

This new project — produced by Civita Tre Venezie and financed by Venetian Heritage and the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with Gagosian, the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art, Fondazione Violetta Caprotti, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Michelangelo Foundation and with the support of many donors—confirms the virtuous collaboration between public and private sector in the safeguarding and enhancement of Venice’s historical-artistic heritage. On the occasion of the set-up of the Doge's Room it has been also possible to carry out important maintenance works of the museum, in addition to the restoration of the Room of Psyche, the creation of a new heating system and a new lighting system for the entire noble floor.

Simultaneously with the rearrangement of the Doge’s Room, the Museum of Palazzo Grimani hosts an exhibition, curated by Mario Codognato, of new and recent works by German artist Georg Baselitz. Born in 1938, he is one of the most significant artists of his generation. Titled Archinto, the exhibition, produced by Gagosian in collaboration with Venetian Heritage, has been installed at the museum’s piano nobile, and twelve paintings made expressly for the Sala del Portego hang on eighteenth-century stucco-framed that, until the end of the nineteenth century, were occupied by portraits of members of the Grimani family. In a highly unusual commitment, these works will remain on long-term loan to the museum from the artist. This is the first time that such an intervention by a contemporary artist has occurred in a State museum in Venice to date.

In Archinto, Baselitz pays homage to Venice and its rich artistic tradition, re-establishing historical continuity while also signalling a rupture between the Renaissance portrait tradition and its contemporary equivalents. The title of the exhibition and its works allude to Titian’s enigmatic 1558 portrait of a partially veiled Cardinal Filippo Archinto. Bringing the Old Master’s sensibility into a present-day context, Baselitz’s spectral paintings continue his exploration of printmaking techniques and allude to the perennial artistic theme of human mortality.










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