Museo di Palazzo Palazzo Mocenigo

Mocenigo Palace

NEW ITINERARIES FOR PALAZZO MOCENIGO. Between fashion and fragrances

Considerations by C. Squarcina


Aristocratic 18th-century life in the Serenissima returns to splendour in Palazzo Mocenigo at San Stae, after a revitalising restyling operation. One of the most significant historic Venetian buildings, lived in since the early 17th century by a cadet branch of the Mocenigo family, one of the city’s most important families, the famous palazzo is now reopening its doors, enriched with an exhibition area that has doubled in size and offers a host of new items and surprises, including an extraordinary new section dedicated to Perfume.

The “voyage” passes through 20 rooms in a layout characterised by the elegance of the articles on view, suggested an “implied” historical setting perceptible thanks to the fine items displayed, which come in part from the museum’s holdings, and in part from others of the Fondazione’s museums, and also from the prestigious treasury of the Scuola Grande Arciconfraternita di San Rocco. Above all, however, it is a project supported by the great ideas of Pier Luigi Pizzi, responsible for the museographical layout, by the patronage of the Vidal (Mavive) family, and by the bold intuition of Gabriella Belli, director of the Fondazione, and of the Fondazione’s President, Walter Hartsarich; they perfectly understood how this major overhaul could contribute fundamentally to the city’s cultural life, in perfect tune with the activities of the Fondazione’s other sites, while at the same time finding a harmonious correspondence with the world of fashion and costume of which the Museum is the expression.

The result of the operation is supported by the desire to support what is currently one of Italy’s most important and strong sectors: that of fashion. Specifically, while the first, nobile floor which has been restyled, will take on the appearance of a historic Venetian residence with the important section dedicated to Perfume, the second floor will be modified to create a ‘white cube’, housing thematic insights, study collections and dossier exhibitions linked to the past and future of fashion and costume in Italy and abroad.

The conservation and study of textiles and garments that will take place here, in part through an iconographic comparison (thanks to the neighbouring Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume), can thus be seen not only as an “act of respect” towards the virtuoso craftsmanship employed in their making, but above all as a dutiful artistic recognition of an extraordinary, exceptional production that still makes Italy stand out in the world today.

Chiara Squarcina (Curator of the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo)