The Fortuny Museum is housed in Palazzo Pesaro, also known today as Palazzo Fortuny, in the Cannaregio district. The majestic late Gothic palace was partially purchased by Mariano Fortuny in 1899, completing the purchase in 1906.
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, or Don Mariano as he liked to be called, was born in 1871 in Granada. He moved to Venice in 1889.
Known mainly for his fantastic pleated silk dresses, Fortuny was also a painter, sculptor, set designer, photographer and scientist. He lived the worldliness of Venice and Italy to the full, boasting acquaintances such as D'Annunzio, Ojetti and Duse, to name a few. Fortuny's passion for set design led him to invent the Fortuny Dome, used in theatre performances to create the illusion of the sky. But it was his skills in creating textiles that made him famous when he founded the Fortuny factory in Giudecca in 1919. In 1956 his wife Henrietta donated the Palazzo Fortuny and its contents to the city of Venice, becoming the Fortuny Museum.
The spacious Portego rooms are a splendid setting for the precious Fortuny fabrics. The wall cycle of the rooms is in precious fabrics. These were created by the Fortuny king by introducing Renaissance techniques and the use of ancient dyes. The Fortuny Museum houses a collection tracing the life and artistic career of the multifaceted Don Mariano. The collection also includes paintings by Fortuny, almost 150 decorative panels, and some dresses considered milestones in 20th century women's fashion. Here you will find the monochrome Delphos dress from 1909 inspired by the beauty of Greek myths. The Delphos was a type of long, very fine dress with hundreds of pleats. As a scientist, Don Mariano left behind an intriguing series of lamps and chandeliers, which he built to copy the effect of sunlight. The Fortuny Museum's collection also boasts a photography section. Here you will find full details of the collection.
If you manage to visit Giudecca during your Venetian visit, also take a look at the Fortuny textile showroom.
Like for many other great artists, for Mariano Fortuny, Venice was a place of cultural enrichment.