The Golden Way: Venice – Perugia, Between Past and Contemporary

The  masterpieces from the National Gallery of Umbria meet contemporary art in Venice

The gold of the d’Oro (Franchetti Gallery) has adorned the Gothic facade for centuries, a luminous feature that gave the palace its name. However, it still gleams within the panels adorned with gold leaf by Gothic painters, which are part of the permanent collection. Starting from April 17, these precious panels are also on display in a small exhibition, a collaboration with the National Gallery of Umbria. The exhibition, titled “The Golden Way: The Path of Gold,” is curated by Alessandra Mammì, Veruska Picchiarelli, and Carla Scagliosi. It occupies a specially created starry space within the blue room on the second floor (note that the first floor is currently closed for restoration). This exhibition serves as a preview of what will take place in Perugia in October 2024.

The new director of the National Gallery of Umbria, Costantino D’Orazio, inaugurates his tenure with an off-site exhibition in Venice. Fragments of Masterpieces with  gold are lent to the Galleria Franchetti in Venice, including works by Gentile da Fabriano, which engage in dialogue with Michelangelo Pistoletto, and three-dimensional pieces by Lucio Fontana. The exhibition also features Carol Rama, an exceptional and unconventional Italian painter, known for her portrait of Massimo Milo. Interestingly, this particular work, executed on jute canvas, was adorned with canine teeth believed to be from Milo himself—a concept that holds intrigue for those who have studied music history- like me on his book. Alongside these historical pieces, contemporary artists such as Alberto Burri, Gino De Dominicis, Lucio Fontana, Marisa Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto are showcased.

The exhibition logo features the beautiful golden reliquary of Saint Giuliana, created by Cataluccio da Todi in the 14th century. While it originally contained a saint’s relic, it now houses an artwork by Marisa Merz—a juxtaposition that resonates with the audience. Additionally, on the ground floor there is the exhibition Naufraghi.

Naufraghi – Cà d’Oro


Naufraghi-Approdi (Shipwrecks-Landings) pays tribute to the memory of the 3,129 migrants who lost their lives in the Mediterranean and along the Balkan route in 2023. This powerful display is a collaboration between the Art Laboratories of the Sant’Egidio Community and artist César Meneghetti.

Artists with disabilities interpret this tragedy through videos, drawings, and mixed-media works. It’s a beautiful exposition! The floor of the Cà d’Oro (Franchetti Gallery) provides the most stunning backdrop with its rich marble chosen by Baron Franchetti, who decided to rest in his house.

Fiorella Pagotto

Venice, 20 April 2024