The Accademia is to Venice what the Uffizi is to Florence, comments Anne Hanley in The Telegraph -- “a superb repository of the very best of the city's art,” most of which “ended up in this civic art academy largely as a result of Napoleonic confiscations from churches and guilds.” Picture for picture, asserts Rodney Conway Morris in The Spectator, the Accademia is “perhaps the most concentrated collection of masterpieces anywhere — though its rambling layout may surprise first-time visitors.”
One of my favourites in the gallery is Tintoretto's ghostly Transport of the Body of St Mark, says Anne Hanley in The Telegraph -- but there's so much else to enjoy -- “Titian’s moving last painting, La Pietà; Veronese’s OTT Feast in the House of Levi; Giorgione’s mysterious The Tempest; a brace of exquisite Bellinis; and Carpaccio's Life of St Ursula fresco cycle, packed with fascinating narrative detail.”
“In the days of the Venetian Republic, the city saw no reason to have a public picture gallery. Paintings were everywhere: in the Doge’s Palace, administrative buildings, churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, hospitals, orphanages, confraternity houses and in hundreds of private palazzi. But after Napoleon’s overthrow of La Serenissima in 1797, civic and religious institutions were forcibly closed and their art works pillaged. Out of this catastrophe the Accademia emerged. Founded in 1756, with Giambattista Tiepolo as its first president, the Venetian Academy was now to form the basis of a new multi-disciplinary art school with an educational picture gallery attached (access was originally limited to staff and students). Furnished with spoils from the suppressed institutions, it was first opened to the public in 1817.” - Rodney Conway Morris in The Spectator
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