Ca’ Rezzonico: Venice’s Most Sumptuous Palace with Dr. Susan Steer

Ca’ Rezzonico: Venice’s Most Sumptuous Palace with Dr. Susan Steer


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Join art historian Susan Steer to explore this lavish palace and admire not only the splendid furnishings and art collections, but also to reveal the messages embedded in the gorgeous frescoes, which herald the rise of a wealthy, arriviste family and their acceptance into the Venetian nobility.

With its setting on the Grand Canal, its imposing architecture, and sumptuous decorations, Ca’ Rezzonico is among the most impressive former private palaces in Venice. It is open to the public, yet it remains one of the hidden gems of the city. Decorated with gorgeous frescoes, including several ceilings by Giambattista Tiepolo, Europe’s most celebrated eighteenth-century decorator, and brimming with innumerable artworks, luxury furnishings, and objets d’art, the palace was once home to one of Venice’s wealthiest families, the Rezzonicos. Arrivistes from elsewhere in Italy, the Rezzonico family had to work to gain acceptance among Venice’s ruling élite, and this palace was part of that project. Designed originally for another owner in the seventeenth century by the leading Baroque architect of Venice, Baldassare Longhena, and enlarged ambitiously for the Rezzonicos a century later, the palace incorporates a spectacular and luminous ballroom, where the marriage of a young couple was celebrated in magnificent style in 1757.

This seminar will take us through the palace to admire the imposing architecture, the prodigious decorations, and exquisite furnishings, many of which were rehomed from other Venetian collections. We will also discover the messages embedded in the gorgeous frescoes, celebrating the rise of the Rezzonicos, take in paintings by some of the greatest artists of eighteenth-century Venice, like Giambattista Tiepolo, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, and Pietro Longhi, as well as the bizarrely unique decorations created by Giandomenico Tiepolo for his villa on the mainland. Finally, we will take a peek at a perfectly preserved eighteenth-century pharmacy, now housed on the top floor of the museum.

Led by Dr. Susan Steer, an expert on Venetian art, this interactive seminar will uncover one of Venice’s most surprising and glorious museums. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Venice and its art in the eighteenth century and a desire to put this palace at the top of their must-see list when they next visit the city.

Susan Steer PhD is an art historian specializing in Medieval and Renaissance Venice. Susan has an extensive teaching background, lecturing on Italian art for universities in the UK and in Italy. She has also worked as a paintings researcher at museums in the UK, and has published on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art in leading specialist journals. She has lived in Venice for over 20 years.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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