Artistic and multidisciplinary activities coordinated by I.R.E.

Most of the paintings in this huge collection were donations, bequests, and endowments from governors of charitable institutions or wealthy benefactors. However, important works were also commissioned that would, over time, enrich the beautiful churches attached to the various hospices.

One such example is the Oratorio dei Crociferi, later known as Oratorio Renier Zen. In the 1580s and ’90s Palma the Younger decorated the entire hall with a memorable cycle of large canvases depicting the history of this order of monks, the Cross Bearers, in the city of Venice.

Santa Maria dei Derelitti, also known as the church of the Ospedaletto, became one of the most renowned art galleries in the city over the course of three centuries. It houses a rare example of the work of the late-sixteenth-century artist Damiano Mazza, a favourite pupil of the great Titian, and the following years saw additions by a young Pietro Liberi and many other famous seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painters, including Andrea Celesti, Antonio Molinari, Giovan Battista Tiepolo, and Nicola Grassi, to name just a few. Used as objects for private devotion, these works often depicted patrons as “spectators” within the painting, or their faces are used to portray saints who bear their name.

The painting was therefore a focus for personal and intimate prayer while nevertheless serving the purpose of public devotion.

Hence each painting in the I.R.E. collections is a narrative, taking us back in time, as in a series of photo frames, to discover the story of those who, in different ways and for different reasons, lived in these places, leaving an indelible mark in the history of social care in Venice.

Today I.R.E. organizes, coordinates and hosts many artistic and multidisciplinary activities. It has embarked on a project to expand its already rich collection of artworks by seeking donations on the part of artists and institutions who operate in the field of contemporary art.