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La Divina Marchesa at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice

Evening Gown - John Galliano for Dior

At the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice from October 4th 2014 till March 8th 2015, this long awaited international exhibition is the first exclusively dedicated to Marquise Luisa Casati Stampa di Soncino. She was one of the most extravagant characters of european belle époque, female personification of the dandy. Her enormous wealth, inherited from her father, made her and her sister the wealthiest women in italy of the time, living in extravagance and style in their hometown Milan. However, the full esplendor of this exotic flower was still to be unveiled. Luisa was still to become the art muse and patroness, as well as the  enigmatic and envied woman that signed a pact with the devil.

Painting - Augustus Edwin John 

From the marriage with Camillo, Marquis Casati Stampa di Soncino, a child was produced. Though this union endured until the death of the marquis, they lead separate lives from the beginning. She rather spent her time entertaining the most celebrated people of the time with bals masqués that challenged everyone's fantasy. As for her love for art, maybe more remarkable than her private collection was the works of art she inspired.  Sculpture, painting, photography, jewelry. Many of the greatest artists of the tame have represented the divine marquise. Augustus John, Man Ray and Cecil Beaton were merely three of these names. More recently she has also inspired works of Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and an entire iconic collection of the designer John Galliano for Dior in 1998.

Dress - John Galliano for Dior/Photograph - Anne-Karin Furunes
In 1910 Luisa Casati moved to the palazzo Venier dei Leoni at the Grand Canal in Venice, later acquired by Peggy Guggenheim where still today resides her collection of art. At the palazzo Casati held an exotic menagerie of animals, including pet cheetahs with which she was often seen and photographed, walking them on the streets by the leach, having become an iconic image of the modern woman and directly inspiring the famous panther design of Cartier jewelry.

Bracelet - Cartier

Through exceptional works of art, the exhibition conceived by Daniela Ferretti and curated by Fabio Benzi and Gioia Mori invites us to the life and time of Luisa Casati, from her childhood in Milan, to her masquerade parties, from a life of extreme exuberance and colour in Venice to her final days in the darkest poverty and loneliness in London. This is a woman that lived for art. Someone that challenge the borders between reality and phantasy, living and breathing and loving for her sole purpose in life: to become herself a living work of art.

Photograph - Man Ray / Brooches - Cartier

Evening gown - John Galliano for Dior

Sculpture - Paolo Troubetzkoy / Painting on background - Alberto Martini

Dress - Calugi and Giannelli

Dress "La Dona Gioiello" - Roberto Capucci

Dress "La Donna Gioiello" - Roberto Capucci

Dress - Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

Necklace - Alberto Zorzi / Dress - Mariano Fortuny

La Divina Marchesa

from October 4th 2014 to March 8th 2015
Palazzo Fortuny - San Marco, 3780 Venice, Italy
Opening hours: 10 am - 6 pm
Closes on Tuesdays


Full fare - 12,00€
Reduced - 10,00€
Special fares for groups

The Travelling Dandy specially thanks Museo Palazzo Fortuny for allowing the caption of images inside the facilities.

Photograph - Man Ray
All photographs were taken on location by Pedro Rei for The Travelling Dandy and are copyright protected. Should you like to use them, feel free to contact us. Permissions might be happily granted after consideration.
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