March 15th, 2014
Perfumes, and fashion at Ca’ Mocenigo
Venetian merchants traded far, brought back rare and expensive goods and raw materials of any kind, and, by always traveling with eyes wide open also acquired, much before other States, many sophisticated technologies and exotic if refined habits. Local artisans added their own personal touch of genius, and Venetian deluxe products were since then exported abroad with enormous success. Venice held her prestigious position for long centuries. Wealthy homes in Europe were ornate with lavish and vividly colored velvets and brocades made here in the Lagoon by thousands of handlooms. The tables of the very rich in Paris or in Germany boasted intricate and exquisitely refined Venetian lace tablecloths and sparkled with chalices, dishes and bottles of unsurpassable quality made by the manufacturers on the world famous island of Murano. Mirrors, beads, jewels, garments, books, prints, paintings, perfumes, cosmetics, medicines, and other top quality ‘Made in Venice’ items, produced under the watchful protection of the Venetian Government, hugely contributed to the local economy, and made of Venice a mythical city where all kind of material beauty and pleasure could be bought and enjoyed.
Ca’ Mocenigo, until few decades ago a private noble residence, still in good part furnished with its original items, has just been re freshened to give new life to a splendid collection of textiles and garments, ranging from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and gracefully displaying a surprising number of glass objects and chandeliers whose fragile but glorious beauty has survived intact up to our days.
Perfumes, and fashion at Ca’ Mocenigo: a unique touch is given to this very new display by the invisible but unmistakable presence of perfume ( amber, sandal, linen and orange blossoms are the essences chosen by the curators) that gently pervade the rooms and accompany us during the entire visit. The making of perfumes, soaps and cosmetics in Venice, as always of the uttermost quality and since very early days, is witnessed by the presence of many exotic raw materials (ranging from spices, to precious woods to the ‘mysterious’ grey amber, secreted by certain cetaceans), ancient books of recipes (printed, of course, almost all in Venice), to pieces of white ‘Venetian soap’, an improved version of the ‘Aleppo’ soap, still currently in production. The visitor is invited to touch and smell, adding to the pleasure of the eye the joy of the nose… Munich has provided delightful items from the Storp collection of ancient perfume bottles, starring more than 4,000 pieces.
Perfumes, and fashion at Ca’ Mocenigo: the new perfume section was curated by Vidal family –perfume makers in Venice since 1910. The brand new, more scenic display was conceived by Pier Luigi Pizzi, opera director, scenographer and costume designer. Curtains and wall fabrics by Rubelli. “The Merchant of Venice’’, a line of artisan made perfumes and soaps inspired to the old Venetian spice trade, is available at the gift shop.
Ca’ Mocenigo, Museum of Costume and Perfume opens every day except Mondays from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.