Sunday, 6 January 2019

A WARNING TO INEBRIATES

One could celebrate in sculpture the great achievement of Noah in saving the human, animal and avian world from the Flood, but here in Venice – where flooding is an every day event! – the architect of the Palazzo Ducale curiously chose instead to immortalise his moment of human weakness with 'The Drunkenness of Noah'...




REFLECTIONS ON VENICE









Saturday, 5 January 2019

TINTORETTO – MASTERPIECES

The Palazzo Ducale here in Venice is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of the master of Venetian painting, Tintoretto with a stunning array of his masterworks: paintings that impress by their freedom of brushwork, their relentlessly challenging compositions, their striking use of perspective and their depiction of powerfully muscular figures that reflect his huge admiration of Michelangelo.

In the painting 'Saint George, Saint Louis and the Princess' (1552), St George's broken lance, the slithy dragon and his Princess-rider seem almost to be forcing their way out of the canvas into the viewer's space...


This painting of 'The Presentation of Christ in the Temple' (c. 1554-1556) was painted to be viewed from the right-hand side, hence the position of this photograph. It was commissioned by the guild of coopers – hence the small barrel on the altar steps!


'The Deposition of Christ' (1562) seems to me one of the most extraordinarily poignant paintings of this post-Crucifixion scene in that here, unlike other artistic depictions (including Michelangelo's Pietà), Mary is not sorrowfully but serenely cradling her dead son, she is fainting away with the shock and horror of the moment...



These last two paintings – 'Saint Andrew and Saint Jerome' (1552) and 'The Forge of Vulcan' (1578) show the physical power and energy that Tintoretto was one of hallmarks of his brilliance and contributed in no small measure to his brilliantly successful career.



Photos: David Weeks

SLOGANISM

Venice's current slogan is interesting and, perhaps, a tad too negative; but it speaks of the deep woes of a great, historic and beautiful city that is totally dependent on tourism for its survival and yet, in fulfilling that role, is subjected to much visitor abuse and disrespect. It is Venice's great dilemma...



Photo: David Weeks © 2019

 

SAINTS & IMPOSTERS


Most people who photograph the statute of Venice's dragon-slaying St Theodore atop his column on the Molo, are unaware that he but a copy of the original which is housed in a somewhat lonely corner of the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale: it is just a further indignity visited upon a luckless fellow who was good enough to serve as Venice's first patron saint until the ambitious Venetians snaffled the remains of St Mark and went for upgraded protection!



As for his quarry, it would be hard to find a feebler dragon than this sorry (and sorry for itself) specimen...


Photos: Brian Sibley © 2019

INTERLOPER IN PARADISE

Despite Tintoretto's skill in depicting people magnificently alive, he was really not so good with wildlife, as this 'Creation of the Animals' (1550-1553) reveals.

Most of the creatures (including household animals such as cats) are really poorly depicted; but I can forgive the artist his failings on account of the dynamic portrayal of the Creator and – more importantly – for including a unicorn in his vision of Eden!


TIDAL TIMES

After the exceptionally high tides that flooded Venice last November for a 24-hour period,  the city has recently been been experiencing less newsworthy low tides – so low, in fact, that they have left some gondolas in the Bacino Orseolo unappealingly mud-bound...



Photo: David Weeks © 2019

'G' IS FOR GONDOLA

Gondola photos are de rigueur –– or, rather, di rigore –– so here are a few photos of gondolas and gondoliers snapped during our visit to Venezia...













Photos: David Weeks & Brian Sibley © 2018/19

VENETIAN ARTY-FACTS –– AND FICTIONS

There's not more modern art in Venice than in, say, London, Rome, Paris or New York, but it's just that in such an ancient city it seems more concentrated and present...










Photos: Brian Sibley & David Weeks © 2018/19

Thursday, 3 January 2019

FEED THE BIRDS


Photo: Brian Sibley © 2019