October 30, 2015

The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority are delighted to tell you that "Il Serraglio delle Meraviglie" (A Menagerie of Wonders: the Ancient Roman Lod Mosaic) is now on display in the galleries of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy. A lively opening reception hosted by Professor Pasquale Gagliardi, General Secretary of the Cini Foundation, and attended by Shelby White, Chairman of the Friends of the IAA, Adam Emmerich, President of the Friends of the IAA, friends from the U.S., Europe and Israel, and hundreds of local guests was followed by a viewing of the elegant and highly informative exhibition. This is the first time that an exhibition of archaeological material from Israel has been exhibited in Italy, and the exhibition posters which can be seen throughout Venice are a most delightful sight.

This exhibition in the Cini Foundation is made possible by the wonderful generosity of our friends Patricia and Phillip Frost from Miami, Florida.

The Lod Mosaic in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini
On the occasion of this exhibition, the Fondazione Cini Institute of Art History conceived and produced a photographic exhibition and two videos with the expert advice of Dr. Elisabetta Concina. Selected from the Fondazione Cini's vast Photo Library, the rare images refer to floor mosaics in some of the most important archaeological sites in Italy: Aquileia, Rome, Palestrina and Pompeii. The first video, produced in collaboration with the Archaeological Departments of the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Emilia Romagna is a fascinating journey through images documenting the extraordinary wealth of the Italian archaeological heritage with a specific focus on the northern Adriatic area. The video suggests a travel itinerary to encourage visitors to further explore the themes of the Lod Mosaic exhibition. The second video provides a wide-ranging survey, extending the area of comparison with the Lod Mosaic to the Mediterranean basin, in an attempt to identify stylistic models, thematic affinities and iconographic similarities, but also compositional differences and technical divergences.

This historic exhibition of the Lod Mosaic ancient masterpiece in Venice is a cause for excitement and great pride, providing us with a wonderful opportunity to share the treasures and the archaeological heritage of the Land of Israel with the large number of visitors to Venice and to foster cultural relations between Israel and Italy. The Fondazione Cini's exhibition of the Lod Mosaic joins a multi-city international tour of nine museums, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, the Louvre, the Altes Museum, Waddesdon Manor and the Hermitage Museum. It has been seen by more than 1,200,000 people, making it the most visited traveling exhibition from Israel. We hope that you will have an opportunity to see this masterpiece on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

We are now delighted to tell you that while the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Museum is being constructed by the IAA in the city of Lod at the site where the mosaic was discovered, the Lod Mosaic exhibition will continue its travels and will be exhibited in the​ ​Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum in the Florida International University in Miami fromFebruary 11 - May 15, 2016. Additional information about the Florida exhibition will follow. The exhibition in the Frost Art Museum is made possible by the generosity of Patricia and Phillip Frost.



Special Trip to Venice

To celebrate our historic exhibition in Italy, the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority organized an exclusive trip to Venice for long time friends and supporters of our work. The trip was arranged with the support of our colleagues in the Cini Foundation and close friends in Venice. We had the privilege of private tours with Prof. Galgliardi of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini of the monumental area including the Palladian Cloister, Cipressi Cloister, the Palladian Refectory the wonderful Manica Lunga Library and the Longhena Library. A special visit of the exhibition "Fulvio Bianconi alla Venini" at Le Stanze del Vetro was a great treat. A visit to the Venice Biennale was followed by a wonderfully guided visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation. Toto Bergamo Rossi, President of the Venetian Heritage Group, hosted a welcome drinks reception at his Palazzo Gradenigo and spoke about the restoration projects related to the 500th anniversary of the Jewish ghetto which will take place in 2016.

Dr. David Landau and Marie Rose Kahane hosted a marvelous dinner at their magnificent Palazzo Venier Contarini on the Grand Canal following the exhibition opening.                       

A splendid luncheon hosted by Contessa Marina Gelmi di Caporiacco at her family's 13th century Cloister of Madonna dell'Orto where an ex Biennale exhibition of sculptures by British sculptor Emily Young​ ​is on view, was a memorable conclusion to our visit to Venice.

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