La Biennale di Venezia

2 minutes to read

What is this?

The Venice Biennale is an art exhibition held in Venice. Previously, the name of the organisation that organises this event was also the Venice Biennale, however they’ve now changed it into Biennale Foundation, which means that the confusions during the googling process will hopefully stay in the past. La Biennale di Venezia, for the art admirers, is what FIFA world cup is for the football enthusiasts. If you’re the one that gets butterflies in your stomach by watching motion pictures or by listening to the music, or the one that gets goosebumps while experiencing a painting or a sculpture, then this page will have an astonishing content for you.

How it all started?

In the name of the celebration of the silver anniversary of the King Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy, the Venetian City Council decided to set up a Biennale exhibition of Italian Art. This had first happened in 1893, while the very first exhibition happened in 1895. It was opened by the King and the Queen and it was attended by 224 000 visitors. Big success!

In 1907, the first international pavilion opened in the Giardini di Castello. It was the pavilion representing Belgium (designed by Léon Sneyers). Until the WWI, five other countries followed Belgium and joined this event. Those countries were Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, France, and Russia. Due to both World Wars, understandably there was an interruption of several years in the Biennale. Between the wars, three entirely new events were set: the Biennale Musica in 1930, (International Festival of Contemporary Music), the Venice Film Festival in 1932, (the first film festival in history) and the Biennale Teatro in 1934 (International Theatre Festival). In 1980, the Architectural sector of the Biennale was set up. The director, Paolo Portoghesi, opened the Corderie dell'Arsenale to the public for the first time. In 1999, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance was established and with this, the final structure of the Venice Biennale has been completed.

One of the main goals of the Biennale was to establish a new market for contemporary art. Between 1942 and 1968 a sales office assisted artists in finding clients and in selling their work, a service for which they charged 10% commission. When the Biennale realised that they lack the funds to produce, ship, and install these large-scale works, they tried to involve financially some art dealers. Furthermore, every other year the Venice Biennale collaborated with Art Basel, the world's prime commercial fair for modern and contemporary art.

A festival with things like virtual tours!

The Festivals and exhibitions differ every year. Some of them, like the Art exhibition, are held in every odd-numbered year. The architectural one, on the other hand, is held every even-numbered year. Some of them annually, some irregularly. I recommend you checking the official website for specific information about the section you are interested in. The website of the event is amazing, and often offers a virtual tour through the whole exhibition space. It is no wonder that it’s visited by half a million people every year.


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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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