Project Description

Set-up of the Tribuna Grimani
Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice

Set-up of the Tribuna Grimani

Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice

Project Director
Daniele Ferrara

Alvise Boccanegra
Grafiche Veneziane
Gruppo Fallani
Percorsi di Luce
Salgaro snc

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Michelangelo Foundation
Regione Veneto
Civita Tre Venezie
Lady Monika del Campo Bacardi
Roger Thomas and Arthur Libera
Venetian Heritage

Start date
January 2019

End date
May 2019

527.243,00 €

In May 2019, at the State Museum of Palazzo Grimani, the exhibition “Domus Grimani: The Collection of Classical Sculptures at the Palace After Four Centuries” was inaugurated. This special exhibition, organized and funded by Venetian Heritage, allowed for the reinstallation of the Greek and Roman sculptures from the renowned Grimani collection in the Tribuna, or Antiquities Chamber of Patriarch Giovanni Grimani, after more than four hundred years. At the same time, it aimed to promote and enhance the existing national artistic heritage.
This project was the result of collaboration between the Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto and Venetian Heritage. It marked the first step in a strategy to promote and enhance the Museo di Palazzo Grimani. The palace has once again become one of the city’s cultural centers, thanks to a robust program of public events and the development of exhibitions featuring contemporary artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Georg Baselitz, and Mary Weatherford.
The project was initiated with the return of some of the most precious sculptures from Giovanni Grimani’s collection, which were placed back in the Tribuna, a chamber designed by Giovanni to house the most valuable marbles in his collection. Simultaneously, the rooms leading to the Tribuna, such as Camaron d’Oro, Sala a Fogliami, and Antitribuna, were rearranged to recreate the atmosphere of a Renaissance Venetian collector’s home.
Over the centuries, the Tribuna underwent several changes, including the installation of a large window and a second door leading to the so-called Neoclassical room, which served as a bedroom during the second half of the 18th century. By installing two architectural niches, reconstructed for the occasion to match the existing ones, the original appearance of the space was restored.
The “Domus Grimani: 1594-2019” exhibition was not merely an attempt to reconstruct the famous collection, but rather a key to access the world of Venetian collecting and the civic significance it could assume in the case of the Grimani family, who served the Republic through their collection. As is well known, none of the great collections of the Venetian patriciate survived the dramatic political events of the late 18th century that reduced the Republic of Venice from the “Queen of the Adriatic,” albeit greatly weakened, to a province of the Empire.
With the aim of making this lesser-known aspect of Venetian art and culture accessible to all and promoting it, an exhibition path was designed to consider the connection between the artwork and the context for which it was intended. Even the exhibition layout, intentionally not signed by an architect, clearly expressed the preference for the aesthetics of a house-museum.
In addition to a selection of the ancient statuary collection, some furnishings were exhibited to evoke the decoration of a 16th-century aristocratic residence, thereby engaging the visitor more deeply. Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, some 16th-century furnishings stored in the deposits of the Correr Museum were displayed, restored for the occasion with the support of the Michelangelo Foundation.
At the end of the exhibition, the Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto decided to transform the arrangement of the Grimani Tribuna from temporary to permanent, and the collection of statuary will remain on display within the museum. This operation fully combines the protection and promotion of the national artistic heritage and serves as an example of a virtuous collaboration between the public and private sectors, involving the Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto and Venetian Heritage.