The Palazzo Fortuny was the residence of Mariano Fortuny, who transformed a Gothic Building, in Campo San Beneto in Venice, into his own photography, stage-design and textile design and painting atelier. For a time, the palace was known as the Palazzo Orfei after an 18th-century tenant, a musical society known as the Accademia d’Orfeo. Eventually, it was donated as the Museum Fortuny to the city in 1956 by Henriette, Mariano’s widow.
Now, the Museum holds its permanent collection of around 150 objects and painting by Mariano Fortuny and a contemporary exhibition that rotate twice a year across three floors.
The ground floor, corridor shaped, has exposed brick wall on one side, and earthy tone wall on the other. The lighting gives a very warm atmosphere with a focus on the art works. The wooden floor is said to be raised as a clever way of dealing with the changing water levels of Venice and not having it damage the space. The art works are hanging from the ceiling and floating in front of the exposed brick wall. Each floor and room has a unique clash of art and architecture and once up the stairs, past the bookstore, one fully enters the world of Fortuny.
The museum combines space of theatre – the first floor salone overflowed with paintings, fabrics, and Fortuny’s Famous lamps – with more open spaces – on the second floor, walls and windows , lighting and space recount the history of the palazzo and the atelier it housed. On could also see into the wonderfully intact library, a kaleidoscope “work in progress”, theatre maquettes and textiles.
The curator has an interesting challenge of bringing together pieces by Fortuny and by contemporary artist, in this case it was Venetian artist Ida Barbarigo and her husband Zoran Music.
The exhibition built upon a range of Ida Barbarigo’s inspirations. There was a combination of the artist’s most recent work, the Terrestri series and charting the different moment in the artist’s development, revealing the surprising formal coherence in her work.
Together, the architecture of the Palazzo, Mariano Fortuny’s art and the contemporary exhibition blends superbly together and creates a truly unique and eclectic museum recipe full of warmth, textures, personality, and