|Architect:||Baldassare Longhena, Giorgio Massari|
|Current use:||Museum of 18th century Venice|
In 1649, Filippo Bon decided to replace two old houses of his family with a new large palace, designed by Baldassarre Longhena. While the influence of Jacopo Sansovino and his Palazzo Corner della Ca'Granda on the Venetian palace architecture and especially on the Rezzonico palace is unmistakable, Longhena's plastic design of the upper floors goes a step further. The Venetian tripartite floor plan still dominates much of the building, but is not invisible on the façade any more, as all nine window axis with their independent balconies are of equal dimensions and design. Above a bossed ground floor with a portico rise two upper floors with the ionic respectively corinthian order, a mezzanine floor and a massive cornice. After Longhena's death in 1682, his scholar Giorgio Massari continued the building. Several incisions by Vincenzo Maria Coronelli and Visentini (after a painting by Canaletto) show the front of the Ca'Rezzonico unfinished, while the rear part was already completed. After Bon's bankruptcy, the Rezzonico brothers Quintiliano, Abbondio, and Giovanni Battista, who had acquired the Venetian nobility in 1687, bought the unfinished palace in 1751. In 1756, the building was finished. Two years later, Giambattista Rezzonico was elected as Pope Clement XIII. The Rezzonico S. Barnaba also had the Villa Rezzonico Borella in Bassano del Grappa.
While the forepart of the palace has a tripartite plan and a staircase for the second floor, the part behind the courtyard consists of a huge ballroom, taking up the height of two floors and the width of the entire building. The largest representative staircase of a Venetian private palace gives access to this hall. A chapel protrudes on the Rio di San Barnaba on the left. Giambattista Crosato frescoed the ceiling of the ballroom with 'Apollo riding his carriage between Europe, Asia, Africa and The Americas'. Another room in the left wing shows a allegory of marriage, created by Giambattista Tiepolo in 1758, when Lodovico Rezzonico married Faustina Savorgnan.
In 1810, the Rezzonico died out with Abbondio. During the following changes of ownership, the mobile interior decoration was sold. In the 1880s, tha painter Robert Barrett Browning acquired Palazzo Rezzonico. The City of Venice bought the palace finally in 1936 and established the Museum of the "Settecento Veneziano". While the ostentatious architecture of the Rezzonico surely is the most adequate to demonstrate 18th century Venice, many of the exhibits have been carried together from other Venetian palaces. A wooden alcove originally was in the Palazzo Carminati, a ceiling fresco by Giambattista Tiepolo in the Palazzo Minotto Barbarigo, and several pieces of furniture in the Palazzo Calbo Crotta. Officially, the works were "salvaged". The atmosphere in the Rezzonico palace is to some extent artificial. For a nearly perfectly preserved 18th century interior of a patrician home, see Palazzo Mocenigo a San Stae.
courtyard towards the garden
© 1999-2007 J.-Ch. Rößler
Venice architecture - palaces