Gabriele Bella paintings, Querini Stampalia Foundation

Visit by gondola of the novices to their relations in the convents
Wedding at the church of S. Maria della Salute

About the project

The action-packed scenes of Venetian festivals, ceremonies and customs painted by Gabriel Bella in the 1770s, are one of the highlights of a visit to the richly atmospheric house museum the Querini Stampalia Foundation in a 16th century palace on Campiello Querini.

Giovanni Querini bequeathed his collections and library to the city in 1868 with generous public access provisions. Between 1949-1963 Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa remodelled the ground floor, entrance hall and garden. 

There are 67 paintings in the series which were probably painted for the Giustinian family in the 1770s and which are first recorded in Querini’s collection in 1844.

In 1978, fourteen of the 67 oil paintings and their original gilt frames were cleaned and conserved by the studio of Ferruccio Volpin in Padua. The project was sponsored by the three daughters of Mrs Clive Pearson to commemorate their mother who was a regular visitor to Venice and to the Querini Stampalia.

It followed an initial conservation programme of 16 canvases from the series that focused on scenes of games and contests and was funded by the city of Venice.

Gabriel Bella is a lesser known Venetian artist, who drew on the work of engravers for his inspiration.  His use of colour and the variety of his scenes offer glimpses into the rhythms of Venetian public life in the 18th century.  Bella died when he fell into a canal and drowned in June 1799.

The paintings that were included in this project are:

  1. Pope Pius VI giving a blessing at the church of San Giovanni e Paolo
  2. The new Fair of the Sensa in Piazza San Marco
  3. The Doge distributing coins to the crowd as he is carried round Piazza San Marco  
  4. The Doge thanking the Great Council
  5. The Corpus Domini procession
  6. The Chamber of the Council of Ten
  7. The Supreme Tribunal
  8. Wedding at the church of the Salute
  9. A nun receives her habit at her investiture in the church of San Lorenzo
  10. The visit by gondola of the novices to their relations in the convents
  11. Morning walk to the market at the Rialto
  12. Announcing the result of the public lottery at the Loggetta
  13. A dance in the Campiello

Project location

In brief

  • Thirteen paintings, oil on canvas, with their original gilt frames 
  • Date of project: 1978
  • Further information:  Fondazione Querini Stampalia

More images