Vicenza’s Palazzo Chiericati houses a stunning collection of Venetian paintings, antique toys and more

''The Death of Sofonisba,'' by Giovanni Battista Pittoni explores the story of a young Carthaginian woman, the daughter of a general in the Punic Wars, whose new husband persuaded her to drink a cup of poison rather than be paraded as war booty by the victorious Romans. It is on display at the Palazzo Chiericati museum in Vicenza.


By NANCY MONTGOMERY | Stars and Stripes | Published: March 6, 2019

One exhibition explores art history through seven rooms of spectacularly sensual 18th-century Venetian paintings. Another explicates a century of European military history with a collection of thousands of tin soldiers.

The Palazzo Chiericati, one of Vicenza’s municipal museums, is home to both exhibitions, which fascinate in very different ways.

“Il Trionfo del Colore” — the triumph of color — shows the development of 18th-century Venetian art and its impact on European art. The paintings, both religious and secular, of biblical and mythical scenes, landscapes, portraits and the city of Venice, are visual feasts by the art stars of their day, including Giambattista Tiepolo, Giambattista Pittoni, Canaletto and Francesco Guardi.

Many of them are famous, many of them are huge, and all of them are a gorgeous riot of color and movement.

The paintings are from Vicenza museum collections — and on loan from the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. The exhibition, which ends May 5, is said to represent “a new level of collaboration” between Italian and Russian museums.

The tin soldiers, on the other hand, are part of an impressive antique toy collection a Vicenza family recently donated to the museum. The exhibition includes a room full of toy trains, too, and other whimsical items that today would probably be considered a choking hazard or likely to put someone’s eye out.

The vast army of tiny tin troops painted in detailed uniforms representing mostly European forces are lined up in at least three rooms of glass cases. The stories of the formation of European armies and the wars in which real humans fought — many of them in imperial conquest — is briefly narrated on wall signs in Italian and English. The war stories start with the Napoleonic period and end with World War I.

And although you wouldn’t expect it, there’s the connection to the Venetian paintings exhibition.

The Venetian school ended along with the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century — at the hands of Napoleon’s armies.

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com Twitter:@montgomerynance


Directions: Palazzo Chiericati, Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 37/39, 36100 Vicenza

Times: 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sundays through Saturdays; closed Mondays

Costs: Museum entry is 7 euros for adults, 5 euros for children older than 6. Free with military ID the first Sunday of the month. Il Trionfo del Colore is a special exhibit costing 12 euros.

Information: Phone: +39 0444222811 Website: museicivicivicenza.it/en/mcp/index.php

This famous Canaletto painting of Venice is among many beautiful works in a blockbuster exhibition at the Palazzo Chiericati of 18th century Venetian painters. Titled "The Triumph of Color," it is at the museum in Vicenza through May 5.

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