Torcello. At the origins of Venice, between West and East

From 29 August 2009 to 10 January 2010

The light of Byzantium, the colour of Torcello, the gold of Venice. Three particular notes let begin the commemorative exhibition of the thousand years of the B.


M. Assunta in Torcello. The church was build in 1008 in memory of a city founded in the 5th century by the inhabitants of the ancient Altino. As an art casket, the Basilica with its mosaics is the centre of the exhibition which rebuilt the cultural environment from where Torcello had its origin and its great development. Torcello, mainstay of the trades of the Venetia- word that meant the whole lagoon at that time- started its decline in the 16th century because of the stilting up of the area and it became a quarry of archaeological finds reused by the Venetians to enlarge and to embellish the city born in the Rialto islands.

The 100 masterpieces of the exhibition show that the art born in Byzantium, will find the perfect environment in the lagoon where to grow and take root, renewing the shapes and marks doomed to be spread with great success. The journey starts during the 5th century circa when from Ravenna to Pola, through Aquileia and Grado, an artistic civilization characterized by a common language on sea routes makes itself known. Its the age of the 1st Torcello, and from its ancient traces goes on the exhibition by showing the origins of the lagoons sculptures. Here panels and plutei or carved marble slaps with other exceptional objects from the mainland are compared with the sculptural decoration of the Basilica of eastern style. Another stop of the tour is dedicated to the wonderful mosaics of T.: from the monumental Last Judgement of the counterfaade to the Vergine Odigitria decorated in the gold of the apse.

Iconographical themes like the Crucifixion, the Anastasis, the Pantocrat, the Deesis, the Praying Virgin, are the best masterpieces of byzantine art in contemporary works. Some fragments of the Judgement detached in the 800s, are on exhibition, some now in other museums together with other Byzantine and Venetian mosaics, coming from the lagoon, from Greece and the Adriatic coastline. The liturgies celebrated at Torcello in its golden centuries are illustrated in the bindings of some illuminated manuscripts reliquaries and processional crosses, where the brightness of the Divine Beauty is reflected. The last section of the exhibition is devoted to the icons. Many byzantine images of Christ, of the Virgin, of the angels and saints were brought in the lagoon after 1204, the year of the 4th crusade. They shine with light ornate with stones, emails and precious metals or decorated with noble materials like ivory, micro-mosaic and silk with gold and silver threads. At the end of 1200 the production of a new workshop begins the style of a real Venetian painting, shown in a few rare pieces arrived here. Paolo Veneziano will be its undisputed master, by that time in the 1300.Book online now your ticket

By Insidecom Editorial Staff