Sunday at the Museum

The painting of Saint Sebastian by Mantegna in the Ca' d'Oro, Venice.
As the first Sunday in the month is now the day (Domenica al Museo) state museums throw open their doors for free, I thought I would pay a visit to one of my favourites, the Ca' d'OroNot only is it one of the most beautiful palazzi in Venice, it is also home to an exciting collection of works of art. 
A detail of the Polyptych by Antonio Vivarini in the Ca' d'Oro, Venice
The palace was originally built for Marino Contarini, in the first half of the 15th century. However, it soon passed out of the hands of the Contarini family and was sold and resold over the following four centuries.
In 1847 Prince Alexander Trubetskoy gave the palace to his mistress, the ballerina Marie Taglioni. Let us hope Marie knew more about dancing than old buildings, for she vandalised much of the palace in the name of modernisation. In 1894 the Ca' d'Oro was acquired by Baron Giorgio Franchetti, who attempted to correct many of the mistakes made by his predecessor. In 1916 the baron presented both the Ca' d'Oro and his collection to the Italian state. 
A bust of Cardinal Valier by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Ca' d'Oro, Venice
The museum is, perhaps, most famous for the painting of Saint Sebastian by Mantegna, for which Franchetti designed a special niche. But the collection also boasts, in addition to work by the usual suspects (Antonio Vivarini, Tullio Lombardo and Il Riccio), a portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, two busts by Gianlorenzo Bernini and fragments of frescoes by Titian. 

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