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Palazzo Fortuny

Built on the initiative of Benedetto Pesaro starting from the mid-fifteenth century, Palazzo Fortuny, formerly Pesaro degli Orfei, today presents itself in its imposing bulk with a facade facing the Rio di Ca 'Michiel and with a larger one, and one of the most complex in the Venetian Gothic, on the Campo di San Beneto. The building, whose architectural structure fully responds to the Venetian tradition, boasts some solutions of significant value such as the two heptaphorae on the first and second noble floors and an unusual depth of the porteghi. The interiors present some particularly relevant and refined architectural elements, such as the wooden architraves and the sculpted marble pillars of the first noble floor. Developed on a complex built with the characteristics of a commercial warehouse, the building was enlarged and transformed over the centuries. It was in a state of decay and decay that, in 1898, Mariano Fortuny occupied the huge room in the attic, establishing a studio there for his artistic and scenographic experiments. Over the years, having acquired the other parts of the property, he began the restoration work of the structure, restoring balance and proportion and elected Palazzo Pesaro Orfei as his home. In 1907, together with his companion and inspiring muse Henriette Nigrin, he installed the first laboratory for printing on fabric. After a few years two entire floors of the building were occupied by the extraordinary atelier for the creation of dresses and fabrics in printed silk and velvet. In 1956, after Fortuny's death (in 1949), the building was donated to the Municipality of Venice to be "used perpetually as a center of culture in relation to art". The city administration took full possession of the building in 1965, the date of Henriette's death and, in 1975, opened the doors of the unique house-museum to the public.

The Museum of Palazzo Fortuny has characterized itself over the years as a center of exhibition activities dedicated to the visual arts, while preserving intact the characteristics of what was once Mariano Fortuny's atelier. On the first floor, precious fabrics in silk velvet and cotton completely cover the walls. The space, structured in theatrical scenes, houses a rich collection of works that testify well to the different fields of investigation in which Fortuny ventured: paintings, photographs, drawings, engravings, sculptures, technical and furnishing lamps, theatrical models, fabrics prints and dresses, from the famous Delphos to stage costumes. The sources of inspiration of this eclectic artist can still be found in the extraordinary private library, on the second floor, full of furnishings, art objects and rare volumes of art and technique. Palazzo Fortuny is still evidence of this artist's brilliant creative ability between reworking, experimentation and innovation, and of his presence on the international intellectual and artistic scene at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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