IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th March, 2024 Culture


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  • The Venice Biennale, often dubbed as "the Olympics of the art world," is a renowned international art exhibition held every two years.
  • With its 60th edition set to open on April 20, 2024, the event will showcase artworks from 333 artists under the theme "Stranieri Ovunque" or "Foreigners Everywhere."


Origin and Significance

  • The Venice Biennale traces its roots back to 1895 when it was established to commemorate the silver anniversary of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy.
  • Initially showcasing works of both Italian and foreign artists, the Biennale gradually evolved to include a curated selection of contemporary art from around the world.
  • Today, it stands as one of the largest and most prestigious art fairs globally, attracting over six lakh visitors annually, including prominent figures in the art community.

Format and Structure

  • The Biennale spans seven months and comprises three main components: the central pavilion, national pavilions, and collateral events.
  • The central pavilion serves as the focal point, featuring artworks selected by the curator, Adriano Pedrosa, for the 2024 edition.
  • National pavilions, managed by individual countries, showcase their unique artistic expressions, with 29 permanent pavilions currently established.
  • Collateral events, organized independently across Venice, add diversity to the Biennale's cultural landscape.

India's Participation

  • India's involvement in the Venice Biennale dates back to 1954 when the Embassy of India in Rome organized the country's first official exhibition.
  • Over the years, Indian artists such as M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Jamini Roy, and Amrita Sher-Gil have showcased their works at the Biennale, contributing to its diverse artistic tapestry.
  • Despite intermittent participation, India's presence has been marked by exhibitions organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, the Ministry of Culture, and private institutions like Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA).

India's Presence in 2024

  • In the upcoming 2024 Venice Biennale, Indian artists will continue to be represented, with works by iconic modernists and contemporary creators featured in the central exhibition.
  • Notable Indian artists such as Ram Kumar, B Prabha, S.H. Raza, and Amrita Sher-Gil will have their works displayed alongside the Aravani Art Project, a public art collective championing inclusivity and representation.

Introduction to Venice

  • Venice, often referred to as the "City of Canals," is a unique and enchanting destination located in northeastern Italy. Built on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, Venice is renowned for its picturesque waterways, historic architecture, and rich cultural heritage.
  • Foundation: Venice was founded in the 5th century AD by refugees fleeing the barbarian invasions of northern Italy. They sought refuge in the marshy lagoons of the Adriatic Sea and eventually established a prosperous city-state.
  • Rise of the Republic: By the 10th century, Venice had become a powerful maritime republic with a thriving economy based on trade, particularly with the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. The city grew wealthy through commerce and developed a strong naval fleet.
  • Venetian Empire: During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Venice expanded its influence and territory, establishing colonies and trading outposts throughout the Mediterranean region. The city became a major center of art, architecture, and culture, producing renowned artists such as Titian, Tintoretto, and Canaletto.
  • Decline and Modern Era: Venice's fortunes declined in the 18th century due to the rise of competing maritime powers and the silting of its lagoon. The city came under Austrian rule in the 19th century and later became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Today, Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.

Top Attractions in Venice

  • Mark's Basilica: This iconic cathedral, located in the heart of Venice's historic center, is known for its dazzling mosaics, Byzantine architecture, and gilded interior. The adjacent St. Mark's Square is a bustling hub of activity and a must-visit for visitors.
  • Grand Canal: Venice's main waterway, the Grand Canal, meanders through the city, flanked by elegant palaces, historic buildings, and charming bridges. A leisurely gondola ride along the canal offers stunning views of Venice's architectural treasures.
  • Rialto Bridge: One of Venice's most famous landmarks, the Rialto Bridge spans the Grand Canal and is adorned with shops and stalls selling jewelry, souvenirs, and local delicacies. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  • Doge's Palace: This magnificent palace served as the seat of government and residence of the Doge, the ruler of Venice. Visitors can explore its opulent chambers, council rooms, and prison cells, as well as admire works of art by renowned Venetian masters.
  • Venetian Islands: Beyond the main island of Venice, the surrounding islands offer unique attractions such as the colorful houses of Burano, the glassblowing workshops of Murano, and the historic churches of Torcello.


Q. Consider the following statements in reference to Venice:

1. Venice in Austria is often referred to as the "City of Canals."

2. Venice was founded by refugees fleeing the barbarian invasions of northern Italy.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

a.1 only

b.2 only

c.Both 1 and 2

d.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: a