MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

THE NAUMACHIA BALL

2024.04.22

Text by Francesca Fontanesi

On Saturday, April 20th, Dior’s Naumachia Ball took place in Venice, marking a third chapter following the great success of the Tiepolo Ball at Palazzo Labia in 2019 and the Opera Ball at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in 2022.

After the success of the Tiepolo Ball at Palazzo Labia in 2019 and the Opera Ball at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in 2022, Maison Dior has engraved a new chapter through collaboration with the Venetian Heritage Foundation, as a partner of the Naumachia Ball, held on April 20, 2024. This charity event took place at the Arsenale Vecchio in Venice, opened exceptionally. Symbol of the history and grandeur of the Serenissima, the Arsenale, built already in the 12th century, was for several centuries the most important naval shipyard in the world, reflecting the economic, political, and military power of the city.

Treasure of Venetian architecture, since 1999 this iconic venue has hosted the International Art Exhibitions and Architecture of the Venice Biennale and numerous contemporary art exhibitions, while the Arsenale Vecchio, still occupied by the Navy, is usually closed to the public. For this third occasion, Dior and Venetian Heritage paid homage to the foundational and infinitely precious bond between Venice and water. The ball, titled Naumachia, was themed around naumachiae, the spectacular aquatic reenactments of naval battles that originated in the Roman Empire and were popular among European royal courts in the 17th and 18th centuries. An unprecedented event, celebrating not only Dior’s eternal fascination with art but also the Maison’s constant desire to promote culture and the multiple facets of creativity.

Continuing Dior’s commitment to the promotion and preservation of Venetian heritage, the gala raised funds to support the restoration project of the Porta Magna of the Arsenale and the renovation of the Ca’ d’Oro museum. An iconic jewel of the City of the Doges, whose poetic name Ca’d’Oro – literally the House of Gold – echoes the words of Jean Cocteau describing his faithful friend, Christian Dior, as a light genius in tune with his time whose magical name includes God and gold. These passionate synergies between Dior and the foundation will allow work in the spaces housing the museum’s permanent collections, offering the public an unprecedented immersive experience in discovering masterpieces. Thanks to this extraordinary alliance, Venetian Heritage and Dior seal the historical dialogue between France and Italy, thus forging a new bond between these two countries, characterized by inventiveness, beauty, and solidarity.

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