Art in Venice
For centuries, Venice has been attracting great writers, musicians and artists. Today, Venice is virtually upholstered with masterpieces. By the year 1500, artists and craftsmen living in the city had developed their own artistic style that differed from that of Florence or Rome, and during the Renaissance, Venice gave birth to a distinct school of painting. Venice's isolation made it less susceptible to outside influences; being a port-of-entry for exotic pigments and dyes made the Venetian artists use them extravagantly. Finally, Venice is uniquely situated in a lagoon. Light over water, falling from every direction in a lagoon, produces dramatic optical effects and these have heightened the sensitivity of Venetian artists to color. Four hundred years prior to Impressionism, the Venetian painters were keenly interested in the relationship between light and color and their canvases clearly explore this interplay through smooth brushwork, making for a velvety surface texture. Because tempera and fresco were unstable in the humid sea air of Venice, oil paints became popular and allowed for more subtle colors.
The Biennale Arte takes place from mid-June to early November in odd-numbered years. The Giardini della Biennale, located in the Castello sestiere, was developed specifically for the event. In this park like setting overlooking the lagoon, 30 countries have permanent pavilions to exhibit works by their native artists. In the neighboring Arsenale's Corderie, a long, beautiful building holds works by artists from smaller nations, as well as some more avant-garde installations. Numerous palaces, warehouses, and churches all over town also hold exhibits, often allowing for access to buildings not normally open to the public.
Scheduling is similar for the newest addition to the cultural family, Biennale Danza, as well as the Biennale Teatro, both of which stage some performances in the city's campi. The Theatro Verde, an outdoor amphitheater on the island of San Giorgio, was restored for Biennale use, and can't beat the Venetian lagoon as a backdrop. The least established of the Biennale events, the Biennale of Architecture, began in 1980.