Hidden treasures

The ceiling of Vasari in the Grimani Palace in Santa Maria Formosa

Unknown places & works

The ceiling of Vasari in the Grimani Palace in Santa Maria Formosa

The Grimani Palace Museum has recently been enriched by an extraordinary work of art that has returned to Venice after many years: the ceiling painted by the Florentine painter Giorgio Vasari (1511 - 1574) and commissioned by Giovanni Corner in 1542 for his palace on the Grand Canal, (presently Corner Spinelli Palace in Sant'Angelo – housing the historical archive of the Rubelli textile factory).

The paintings, including five main ones with allegorical figures (Charity, Faith, Justice, Patience, Hope) and four smaller ones with pairs of small angels, are one of the first Vasari's series focusing on the representation of allegorical personifications. Vasari later resumed the invention of some of these figures in subsequent frescoes. The paintings on the ceiling of the Corner Spinelli Palace are also an early example, in the Venetian context, of a tradition that would lead to the great mythological and allegorical cycles, through most of the second half of the century, of the Doge's Palace.

The ceiling, of an uncertain date, was dismembered and the nine sections were sent to an antique market. However, since 1987 the Governing Department responsible for historical buildings in Venice began an incredible 'treasure hunt' to recover the sections of the ceiling, and which has just ended with the acquisition of the Faith section. Now you can see the entire ceiling, together again in the splendid setting of the Grimani Palace in Santa Maria Formosa.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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