To celebrate the centenary of the foundation of the Davia Bargellini Museum (May 30, 1920), the Civic Museums of Ancient Art, in collaboration with the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, organize an exhibition dedicated to the art of the Venetian eighteenth century.
“Le plaisir de vivre. Venetian eighteenth-century art and fashion ”can be visited until 12 September 2021, in compliance with anti-covid measures.
The exhibition, curated by Mark Gregory D’Apuzzo, Massimo Medica and Chiara Squarcina, takes up one of the themes that had supported the museographic project of the founder and first director of the Museum, Francesco Malaguzzi Valeri. The idea of recalling the “sumptuous eighteenth century”, with its set of “rich furniture”, “corrupt golds”, objects linked to the habits of life of knights and ladies busy in the rituals of worldliness, had in fact guided his choice of works and it had been reflected in the layout of the rooms, especially in the so-called “Salone delle Feste”: «a vanished world» could thus «relive in the imagination» of visitors.
The presence in the heritage of the Davia Bargellini Museum of numerous testimonies resulting from the skill of cabinetmakers, glassmakers, craftsmen working in the Venetian workshops of the eighteenth century – consoles, frames, furniture, table services in Murano glass, in addition to the famous Puppet Theater – has motivated the design of the exhibition, which brings together in the rooms of the Senatorial Palace of Strada Maggiore precious works preserved at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo (Study Center of the History of Textiles and Costume): from the Venetian Museum comes a selected sample of clothing models and fashion accessories for both women and men (clothes, footwear and vintage headgear), which documents the splendor of secular society, but also the solemnity of ecclesiastical power (planet), represented by sacred vestments of refined textile manufacture produced in the Serenissima.
Finally, some paintings by Pietro Longhi and his school return the most authentic image of the daily life of the Venetian patrician, also captured in his domestic dimension: the presence of “costume scenes” by the Venetian painter illustrates, with sensitivity for the “true” similar to that of the contemporary playwright Carlo Goldoni, the “pleasure of living”, which was a mirror of the times.
The principle of “setting”, adopted by Malaguzzi Valeri in setting up the Museum with the aim of facilitating the understanding of the works within their context, is also followed in this exhibition. As if to revive a past past, the costumes borrowed from the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo will in fact dialogue with the works belonging to the Bolognese museum collections, among which the intention is to highlight above all furniture and luxury objects of Venetian production: also to visitors today «it seems so less difficult to recall the ancient comings and goings of the dressed-up ladies and gentlemen in swords», as Malaguzzi Valeri would have liked.