Hidden treasures

The collections of the Convent of St. John in Verdara in Padua

Unknown places & works
eremitani-padova

The collections of the Convent of St. John in Verdara in Padua

The most beautiful museum in Padua is undoubtedly the Eremitani museum, created in 1895 to house the city's collections.

The original section of the Municipal Museum of the Hermits consists of an incredible collection from the monastery of St. John in Verdara.

In the hands of the Laterani since the 1200s, the church boasts an incredible collection of objects created by the monks over the centuries: in addition to the library, there was also a valuable collection of ‘portraits of distinguished men made in metal, marble, ivory and wax'; a rich collection of ancient ivories; both ancient and modern bronzes; a precious art gallery; antique vases, idols and statues of various ancient and modern nations; many cameos and carved stones; lamps and burial urns and finally weights and ancient seals.

The collection also included minerals, fossils and crustaceans, corals and sea fruits... mathematical, astronomical and optical tools; and an abundant collection of medals.

Among the wax busts the one of Titian stands out and among the canvas paintings, the Emmaus Supper by Piazzetta (now in Cleveland) and works by Girolamo Forabosco and Andrea Vicentino. The peak of the collection was added in 1711 when the church received the sixteenth-century collection of Marco Mantova Bonavides.

In 1782 the Venetian Republic abolished the monastery and the collections began to be dispersed.

The most valuable assets of the library were taken to St Mark’s in Venice while the city of Padua kept the others, adding them to the collections of the University Library of Padua, while the antique classical objects passed to the collections of the St Mark’s Library (now the Archaeological Museum in St Mark’s Square).

The rest remained in Padua at the Natural History Museum and the Public Museum, established as early as 1736, and also at the Physics Laboratory and the Observatory, while the paintings and sculptures became civic collections and hence reached the Museum of the Hermits.

To see the works that are now kept in Venice you can conveniently buy online a ticket for ‘St Mark's Square Museums' - which includes a visit to the Doge’s Palace and the integrated Correr Museum itinerary, the Archaeological Museum and State Rooms of St Mark’s National Library - whereas if you wish to admire those preserved at the Eremitani Museum we suggest you to book a private guided visit of Padua with our expert guides!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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