“Themes & Variations. The Empire of Light” at the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice: February 1 – April 14, 2014

René Magritte, "The Empire of Light" series (L'Empire des lumières)

René Magritte, “The Empire of Light” series (L’Empire des lumières)

Themes & Variations. The Empire of Light

February 1 – April 14, 2014

First conceived in 2002 by Curator, Luca Massimo Barbero, this is the third edition of an innovative exhibition concept that offers visitors fresh perceptions of the museum’s collections. Works from the early 20th century avant-garde connect thematically in a confrontation and comparison with post war and contemporary works, tracing the evolution of forms of visual expression as they change with time. The curatorial narrative represents an opportunity to explore evolving themes such as light, twilight and darkness, in a repeated confrontation between Day and Night.

Based on the theme of light, synthesized by René Magritte’s celebrated painting Empire of Light, which gives its name to the subtitle of the exhibition and which is one of Peggy Guggenheim’s most celebrated masterpieces, the exhibition combines a wide variety of images and media in a multi-layered dialogue touching three centuries of the history of art.

On display are works by Gabriele Basilico, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Agostino Bonalumi, Victor Brauner, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Leonora Carrington, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Willem de Kooning, Edgar Degas, Paul Delvaux, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Philippe Halsman, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Marcel Jean, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor, Ellsworth Kelly, Rita Kernn-Larsen, André Kertész, Nate Lowman, René Magritte, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray, Germaine Richier, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Thomas Ruff, Mario Sironi, Kiki Smith, Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Antoni Tàpies, Cy Twombly, and Piotr Uklański.

Venice’s Guggenheim Museum opened in 1980 and houses the personal collection of wealthy patron and collector Peggy Guggenheim, which was donated by its owner to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in the mid-1970’s. Installed in her former residence — an 18th century palace — the museum has become a major centre for modern and contemporary art.

Also in the Museum is the exhibition HOMAGE TO FAUSTO MELOTTI, Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, February 1–April 14, 2014. The final section of the exhibition is a tribute to Fausto Melotti (1901–1986), with works by this poetic sculptor such as Counterpoint II, Forgetful Orpheus, and Treble Clef. Appropriately Melotti titled several of his sculptures Theme and Variations, whence derives the title of this series of exhibitions.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
Dorsoduro 701 – Venice, ITALY

Opening hours
Daily 10 am – 6 pm
Closed Tuesdays

Tickets (See website for discounted and free admissions)
Adults: €14
Senior visitors over 65 yrs.: €12
Students under 26 yrs.: €8 (with current student ID)
Children under 10 yrs., members: free


About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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