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Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Venetian Art Makes History at the Denver Art Museum

The DAM's first-ever full exhibit of Venetian Renaissance Art borrows from some of the most famous galleries in Italy. 

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Denver and Venice may have certain, well, dissimilarities—but if Angelica Daneo, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, has her way, you’d never know it while walking through the halls of the Denver museum this fall.

Glory of Venice, entering its second month at the DAM, brings some of Venice’s finest works of art to the U.S.—including pieces by Titian, Giorgione, and Giovanni Bellini. The exhibit is the first show dedicated to Venetian Renaissance art in DAM’s history, and aims to transport viewers directly to the cobbled streets of Venice. “It’s a constant visual surprise,” Daneo says. “The design of the layout really doesn’t want to give you a view of the works altogether, but rather make you discover them as you progress, as you would when you stroll through Venice.”

Featuring 50-plus works from Italian and American galleries, including 19 from Venice’s historic Gallerie dell’Accademia, the exhibit will visit only one other American city—Raleigh, N.C.—before it heads back to Europe. Part of what sets the exhibit apart, Daneo says, is that it tells a different story of Italian Renaissance art. “Of all the Renaissances in Italy, … Florentine is always analyzed and studied, but Venice was the other great Renaissance,” she says. “So this was a great opportunity, and I’m thrilled, because the director [of the Accademia] was telling me these works will not travel again anytime soon.”

One of the highlights of the exhibit is “Christ Carrying the Cross,” an early-16th century painting that is making its first-ever appearance in the U.S. Daneo says the work is famous for its supposed miraculous powers, which historically resulted in substantial donations to the Catholic Church after it was completed and viewed by the Italian public. Art historians are still uncertain whether Titian or Giorgione painted it. “You can’t go wrong either way—they’re two giants,” Daneo says.

In a show of support for the new exhibit, the director of the Accademia and the curator of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco—the gallery that loaned “Christ Carrying the Cross”—attended the opening in early August. Daneo says she has been pleased with the public’s interest so far, and hopes Denverites will recognize the important historical narrative of the exhibit’s pieces.

If You Go: Glory of Venice is included in the standard admission price of the Denver Art Museum, and is free for museum members and youth 18 and under. The exhibit is available for viewing through February 12, 2017.

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