Individual Ambition and Collective Participation

Allegoria Nuziale of Ludovico Rezzonico and Faustina Savorgnan, 1758,

Stories of Individual Ambition and Collective Participation: Ca’ Rezzonico and the Scuola Grande dei Carmini

Detail of the Ball room ceiling of Ca' Rezzonico

G.B. Crosato – Ballroom fresco

In order to pay for the considerable military expenses needed to fight the Turks during the seventeenth century, the Serenissima Republic conferred the noble rank to over a hundred families willing to donate conspicuous sums of money to the state coffers.
The new patricians set about creating a display of splendour which was translated into grandiose architectural and decorative works. Consequently, the city became full of new palaces and innumerable works of art.

The Rezzonico family, originally from Como, bought their noble title in 1687. In 1750 they bought and completed the monumental palace on the Grand Canal, which would become one of the most extraordinary outcomes of the encounter between ambitious clients and excellent artists. This can be seen today in the frescoes by Tiepolo, Guarana and other figures of the Venetian Baroque.

However, the most famous Venetian architects and artists did not just work for the important Venetian patrician families. Baldassare Longhena and Giovan Battista Tiepolo also played a major role in building and decorating the Scuola Grande di Santa Maria del Carmelo. This prestigious confraternity, founded in 1597, was given the title Scuola Grande by the Venetian state in 1767 just decades before the fall of the Republic, thanks to a capital and income that reached the sum of over 230,000 ducats.

Sala del Capitolo of the Scuola Grande dei Carmini

Scuola Grande dei Carmini

Since the fifteenth century, these large Venetian institutions were considered valid sources of financial aid and represented a useful support to the state. The majestic headquarters of the confraternities and their decorative elements contributed tangibly to spreading a particular image of the city. Investing in their decoration was deemed necessary in order to highlight the concreteness and continuity of their charitable work, affirm their religious devotion and communicate the public honour of the state and the Venetian community.

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: 150,00 €

The tour includes entering the following:

  • Ca’ Rezzonico Adults 10,00 € – Students 7,50 €
  • Scuola Grande dei Carmini: Adults 5,00 € – Students 4,00 €

In accordance with the aims of our statute, a percentage of the tour fee will go towards a fund dedicated to the safeguarding and restoration of minor art in Venice.