The International Gallery of Modern Art Ca’ Pesaro preserves and contains a vast collection of nineteenth and twentieth century works of art. It is located in the neighbourhood Santa Croce and in one of the most representative Venetian Baroque palaces in the city.
The Ca’ Pesaro Palazzo
The Ca’ Pesaro was built during the second half of the seventeenth century. It was commissioned to the most renowned Venetian architect of the period Baldassarre Longhena by the wealthy Pesaro family. The Italian creator was also responsible for the construction of Santa Maria della Salute and Ca’ Rezzonico.
The palace was then owned by the Gradenigo family and then it was passed to the Armenian Mechitarist Fathers who used the building as a school. Years later, it was bought by the Bevilacqua family and inherited by the Duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa. She wanted the building to become a Modern Art Museum and for this purpose donated it to the city.
The palace has three stories and features beautiful frescoes by Bambini, Pittoni, Crosato, Trevisani and Brusaferro. The museum’s most famous fresco is by Tiepolo, called “The Triumph of Zephyr and Flora”. In 1935, it was transferred to the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum.
One of the most striking parts of the museum is its enormous foyer, built around a typical Venetian well.
The International Gallery of Modern Art of Venice was founded by Prince Alberto Giovannelli. In 1897, at the second Biennale in Venice, the prince purchased six works of art by Italian and foreign artists and donated them to the City Council of Venice. Other noble families followed his example and even the King, Vittorio Emanuele III, donated four paintings to the collection. The Gallery of Modern Art was first housed in Ca’ Foscari and was later moved to the Ca’ Pesaro Palazzo in 1899, which was larger and; therefore, could house the large Modern Art collection.
Currently, the Modern Art Gallery of Venice contains nineteenth and twentieth century paintings and sculptures including masterpieces by Klimt, Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee and Moore. Among the most important paintings of the museum, it is worth highlighting the painting “Judith II” by Klimt. It was bought by the Council after its participation in the Biennal in 1910, when the artist exhibited 22 works of art.
The museum houses, as well as works of art by famous international artists, paintings and sculptures by important Italian artists from the twentieth century, like Boccioni, De Pisis, Sironi, Morandi, De Chirico and Burri.
On the museum’s second floor, visitors will find the temporary exhibitions and on the third floor is the Oriental Art Museum. It is one of Europe’s most renowned oriental museums, with traditional Chinese and Japanese objects.
In 2013, the museum inaugurated on the first plant of the building a new and innovative way of exposing the collection called “Colloqui” (Conversations), which show what the biggest influences were for the twentieth century artists. It was inaugurated for La Biennale.
Archives, Library and Photographic Library
Part of Ca’ Pesaro palazzo houses a photographic library and a collection of 6000 films. The library also has many albums which are in alphabetical order.
The Ca’ Pesaro Library is an important library in Venice dedicated to the nineteenth and twentieth-century history of art.
Is it worth visiting?
The Palace that houses the International Gallery of Modern Art is a Venetian Baroque architectural masterpiece and its exterior is well worth seeing. If you take a vaporetto down the Grand Canal, you will be able to see its impressive façade.
If you like modern art, then the museum is definitely worth visiting, especially if you like artists such as Klimt, Kandinsky, Klee and the Italian artists like Boccioni, De Pisis, Sironi, and De Chirico.
Tuesday – Sunday: from 10 am until 6 pm. (Last access at 5 pm).
Children (aged 6 to 14): €8
Children (under 5): Free entrance
With the Rolling Venice Card: €8
Water Bus: San Stae, line 1.