Paolo Veronese, Judith mit dem Haupt des Holofernes, KHM, Gemäldegalerie

A comprehensive show that paints a portrait of the city of Venice and its society

The focus will be on the fundamental developments in Venetian art from the Renaissance to the rococo. Selected paintings will be shown, as well as examples from other genres, such as bronzes, suits of armour and virtuoso artefacts from the former imperial family’s legendary cabinet of curiosities – the most outstanding of its kind in the world.

The colours of la Serenissima is the first exclusive exhibition in Salzburg from the inventories of the former imperial collections. The visiting exhibition of the Vienna History of Art Museum is also the first exhibition produced under the direction of Andrea Stockhammer, the DomQuartier’s new director.

“I am delighted at the collaboration with the Vienna History of Art Museum  and the exhibition, which is in keeping with the profile of the Residenzgalerie and its outstanding collection of European painting. The total exhibition area of 750m² offers a multi-dimensional insight into the secrets of the successful development and the special characteristics of Venetian art production.“ Andrea Stockhammer, director, DomQuartier Salzburg.

For Sabine Haag, director-general of the Vienna History of Art Museum, this fulfils a long-cherished dream: “Salzburg played an important part in the cultural exchange  between Germany and Italy. Since 16th-18th-century Venetian art represents a core area of the Museum’s extensive collection, all the more reason  to look forward to visiting the Residenzgalerie Salzburg in 2024 with masterworks from this period.”

For Provincial Governor Wilfried Haslauer, “the first, magnificent visiting exhibition from the Vienna History of Art Museum prior to the opening of the Belvedere branch [in Salzburg] is a clear demonstration of Salzburg’s eminent suitability as a museum location.”


Venetian art from the Renaissance to the rococo, and its special features

The title of the exhibition, “The colours of  la Serenissima”, refers on the one hand to the specific colouration in the painting, and on the other to the actual colours of Venice, as it appears to the visitor in its diverse mood lighting and in the opulence of its luxury goods.
The comprehensive exhibition shows various aspects of Venice: portraits of elegant Venetian ladies and gentlemen reflect the self-perception of a successful trading power, and evocative landscape painting  invites contemplation. New types of representation in religious painting bring the saints and biblical figures up close, enhancing the emotional effect on the viewer.

Success lasting into the 18th century

The success of the Venetian Renaissance was one of the most lasting in European art. A prosperous social class had emerged in the town, keen to show off their wealth and status by means of art-works. With such favourable conditions, “la Serenissima” (as Venice was called) attracted many artists from the region.
The style of Titian and his colleagues soon influenced the conception of Venetian painting well beyond the borders of Venice itself. Right into the 18th century, artists drew inspiration from the colorito alla veneziana, and art collectors strove to acquire 16th-century Venetian paintings in order to be en vogue.

The wealth of Venice and its rise to becoming the commercial hub in the Mediterranean

Until well into the 16th century, Venice was one of the principal trading ports. Palaces and art treasures still testify to the town’s former wealth. Ruled by the Doges, Venice had been expanding into the eastern Mediterranean since the Middle Ages. The harbour saw imports of many luxury goods, including silk, carpets and special pigments, which, along with costly textiles, glass vessels and printed books, were resold in the north.
With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, however, Venice lost more and more Mediterranean territories. The conquest of America by other European powers and the loss of Crete in 1669 diminished the power of the patrician republic. However, Venice managed to defend its territories in the 16th-century wars, and the Venetian patriciate turned its attention more towards the land empire, the terra ferma.