Gallerie dell’Accademia Travel GuideIntroduction
For art lovers in Venice, one of the places that you can’t afford to miss would be the Gallerie dell’Accademia. It is one of the world’s greatest museums, with some of the finest collections of classical Venetian paintings and artwork that were made by some very famous names in the art world such as Carpaccio, Veronese, Da Vinci, and Bellini.
It is located at the south bank of the Grand Canale, and was formerly the gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia (hence the museum’s name, “Gallery of the Academy”), Venice’s art academy that was founded in 1750. The school opened its galleries to the public in 1817, and in 1879 the museum became independent from the school and came under the jurisdiction of the Italian Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali). The museum and the school occupied the same premises until fairly recently, when in 2004, the school moved to another location within the city.
The main collections of the Gallerie dell’Accademia are divided among 24 rooms and are arranged in chronological order, though certain themes are also noticeable in its presentation. It is composed of masterpieces that were previously in the care of many of Venice’s schools, public institutions, private collectors, and churches, but were later donated or bequeathed to the museum.
The museum is also home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s world-famous Vitruvian Man. Unfortunately, as with most artwork that is on paper, it is only put on display occasionally in order to preserve it.
What to See
Room 1 to 5
Room 1 welcomes all guests to the gallery with its beautiful carved and gilded ceilings, and it works wonderfully to set the mood before you dive into the masterpieces ahead. As mentioned previously, the collections are arranged in chronological order, so the first room contains works by some of the earliest Venetian painters such as Paolo Veneziano and Lorenzo Veneziano who were both from the 1300s. Notable pieces in this room include Apocalypse by Jacobello Alberegno, and Coronation of the Virgin by Catarino Veneziano. There are also paintings by Michele Giambono, Antonio Vivarini and Jacobello del Fiore.
In Room 2, most of the artwork on display hails from the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the must-sees in this room include Carpaccio’s Crucifixion and Glorification of the Ten Thousand Martyrs of Mount Ararat and Portrait of Christ, and Bellini’s Pala di San Giobbe. There’s also The Garden of Gethsemane by Marco Basaiti, and Madonna under the Orange Tree by Conegliano.
Room 3 brings the timeline up a bit, and features 16th century Venetian panel-paintings, and it mostly features early Renaissance artwork.
Room 4 is a room full of portraits, including Hans Memling’s Portrait of a Young Man. Mostly coming from the latter half of the 15th century, other notable paintings would be Andrea Mantegna’s Saint George, and Cosmè Tura’s Madonna and Child.
In Room 5, we have allegorical panels, Bellini’s Sacra Conversazione, and Giorgione’s La Vecchia and Tempesta which is possibly his best-known work.
Rooms 6 to 10
Room 6 is more popularly known as the “Titian Room” as it contains many of this master’s artwork mixed with the work of other equally well-known artists of his time. Here, we can find Titian’s St. John the Baptist, The Creation of the Animals as well as St. Mark Saving a Saracen From Shipwreck by Tintoretto, Fishermen Presenting St Mark’s Ring to the Doge by Paris Bordone, and Banquet of Dives (also known as Dives and Lazarus) by Bonifacio de’ Pitati.
In Room 7, we see Lorenzo Lotto’s Gentleman in His Study, among others.
Rooms 8 and 9 feature artwork from the 16th century, and of note in these rooms would be Sacra Conversazione by Palma the Elder, as well as paintings by Titian’s brother, Francesco Vecellio, and other artwork that follows the Tintoretto school.
Meanwhile, in Room 10, visitors are greeted by the awe-inspiring Pietà, the last painting made by Titian (not to be confused with the sculpture of the same name by Michelangelo). Here, we can also find has Paolo Veronese’s Christ in the House of Levi, as well as other pieces by Tintoretto that focuses on the life of St. Mark, such as The Stealing of the Dead Body of St. Mark, and The Miracle of St. Mark.
Rooms 11 to 15
Starting from Room 11, visitors may notice the slight shift to the baroque style as paintings from the 15th to the 17th centuries make their appearance. Here, we can find paintings by masters such as Giambattista Tiepolo and his Cain and Abel as well as The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto. There is also the Madonna dei Tesorieri by Tintoretto, Santa Chiara by Alvise Vivarini, Marriage of St. Catherine by Veronese, as well as Bellini’s triptychs and works by other artists such as Pietro da Cortona and Luca Giodano.
After all those religious themes, Room 12 gives a quick break from the subject as the pieces in this room focuses on 18th century Venetian landscapes.
Room 13, meanwhile, brings us face to face with more artwork by Venetian painters Tintoretto and Bassano, but in Room 14, 17th century Italian painters take the stage with the likes of Strozzi, Fetti and the German artist Johann Liss. Moving into Room 15 afterwards, we can then enjoy more artwork from various artists, including those from Giandomenico Tiepolo who was the son of Giambattista Tiepolo.
Rooms 16 to 20
Rooms 16 to 19 mostly feature works by Antonio Canova, along with paintings by Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Rosalba Carriera, Giovanni Antonio, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, as well as early works by Giambattista Tiepolo from the 18th century.
Room 20 is one of the major points of interest within the museum, as it contains artwork that was originally commissioned by the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. The Scuola, was a 13th century organization who was known for keeping pieces of the cross upon which Christ was crucified as religious relics. The paintings that they commissioned from well-known Venetian artists over the centuries all revolve around the subject of the True Cross. Among these paintings are works by Lazzaro Bastiani, Giovanni Mansueti, Carpaccio, and Bellini.
Rooms 21 to 24
In Room 21, we would find a series of paintings by Carpaccio which tell the story of the life of the martyred Breton princess, Saint Ursula. Afterwards, visitors move on to Room 22, which is actually a corridor that is filled with artwork from the Neo-Classical period.
Room 23 was formerly a part of the Monastery Church of Santa Maria della Carità which was then restored and now houses a part of the museum’s collection. In this room can be found an altarpiece by Bellini, as well as artwork by other artists such as Cima da Conegliano, Alvise, and Bartolomeo Vivarini. Temporary exhibits are also usually placed here.
Finally, in Room 24, we can find the magnificent Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple and Mourning of Christ by Titian. There is also a triptych by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d’Alemagna, as well as a Byzantine-Venetian reliquary.
Tips and Advice
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia is right beside a vaporetto stop.
- Ticket prices are EUR 6.50 for adults, EUR 3.25 for children 12 to 18 years of age, and free for children under 12 years old. Take note, however, that special exhibitions being held at the time of your visit may affect the ticket price, so check the schedule first, or ask your tour operator about it.
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia is open on Mondays, from 8:15 am to 2:00 pm, with last admission at 1:15 pm, and will remain closed for the rest of the day. It is open again from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:15 am to 7:15 pm, with admission allowed until 6:30 pm. It is closed on holidays such as Christmas and New Year.
- The museum is a tourist hotspot, so be prepared to brave the crowds. Also, the museum only allows up to 300 visitors within the premises at any one time, so to save yourself some time from having to queue for tickets AND waiting in queue to get inside, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. Ask your tour organizer for assistance.
- Please note that taking photos is not allowed inside the gallery and you will have to leave your cameras at the baggage counter at the museum.
- The baggage office charges EUR 0.50 per piece of luggage that are 20x30x15 cm in size or less. Larger bags or bulky objects may be subject to additional charges, while items that jut out such as umbrellas may be asked to be deposited at the baggage office, upon discretion of the staff. There are also safety deposit boxes available where you can temporarily store valuables or cameras, for a charge of EUR 1.00. So if you’re visiting the gallery, leave your bags at the hotel.
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
- For groups of at least 10 and at most 25 people, guided tours are available for EUR 100.00. The tour last an hour and a half, and is available in either Italian or English.
- For those who wish to take their time touring, there are also audio guides available at the museum. The rental of the headset is EUR 6.00 each, and the audio guide is available in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, and Japanese.
- Don’t worry if you can’t take photos in the museum, as there is a bookshop on the premises which has catalogues, guides, brochures, museum-related multimedia products, as well as various souvenirs and gift items such as posters, post cards, coffee mugs, et cetera.
- Sometimes, not all 24 rooms may be open to the public at the same time, but even if this is the case, rest assured that there is a LOT to see at the gallery, and a single day might not even be enough to take everything in.