Archaeological museum, inside the Procuratie Nuove in St Mark...">
Hidden treasures

The Ara Grimani at the Venice Archaeological Museum

Unknown places & works

The Ara Grimani at the Venice Archaeological Museum

The city of Venice is home to an incredible Archaeological museum, inside the Procuratie Nuove in St Mark's Square, with pieces of Greek and Roman art of inestimable value.

The objects do not come from the archaeological excavations in the city - Venice was founded no earlier than the 5th century A.D.  - but they are the result of the collections of Venetian nobles with a passion for the ancient world, especially the Cardinal Domenico Grimani (1461-1523) and his nephew, Giovanni Grimani (1500-1593).

Among the many pieces that can be seen in the exhibition halls, the most striking is certainly the 'Ara Grimani', a Greek masterpiece of the 1st century BC, so called because for centuries it has been mistakenly considered an altar. In fact, it is the base of a sculpture (there are signs of the bolts that supported the top), perhaps representing a divinity related to the world of wine and inebriation, considering the reliefs that decorate its four faces, including a passionate kiss between a satyr and a maenad. The female figure represented from behind in the kissing scene was depicted several times in the paintings by Titian, Veronese and Correggio.

The Venice Archaeological Museum houses this wonderful masterpiece and other incredible pieces of antique art. The ticket to enter the museum - 'Museums of St. Mark's Square' - also includes a visit to the Doges Palace, the Correr Museum and the Monumental Halls of the Marciana National Library.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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