Saturday, June 11, 2016

Among the Treasures of the Accademia

A detail from one of the great large works by one of the giants of Venetian painting on display in the Accademia--which I won't identify in case any one wants a bit of a challenge
I visit the Accademia far too infrequently, as I was reminded once again by a visit a few days ago. The attendance at the city's museums has come nowhere close to keeping pace with the rise in tourists to the city as so many of the tourists (a full 75%) are in town for only a few hours, and spend that time traipsing along behind the elevated little flag or closed umbrella or some other ersatz staff of office in the hand of a tour guide.

This is a shame, as my visit to the Accademia Gallery the other day made me think that to visit Venice without visiting the Accademia is to miss out on one of the most striking overviews of the history and culture of the city--and of the West.

And for another week, until June 19, this overview includes a nicely curated exhibit devoted to the great Venice-based printer Aldo Manuzio (or Aldus Manutius), whose efforts at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th Century not only exerted a profound influence upon his own era, but continue into the present day: (I've been told the available audio guide to the exhibit is quite good, too, but didn't have a chance to try it myself.)

But regardless of when you visit the Accademia Gallery, and no matter what temporary exhibit is up, there are single works among the permanent collection that in themselves are worth the price of admission.

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