Monday, 27 April 2009


We've been making a bit of a habit lately of going to exhibitions on the last day of exhibiting. The most recent example of this cultural brinkmanship was Andrea Palladio: His Life and Legacy at the Royal Academy.

Palladio (1508–1580) was one of the greatest Italian architects whose work has continued to resonate down five centuries and whose name lives on in the architectural term, 'Palladian'.

Working in Vicenza, Venice and the Veneto region, Palladio (depicted, above, by El Greco) designed churches, palaces, villas and public buildings, crafting what has been described as "a new architectural language" based on classical Greek and Roman sources but adapted to meet the functional demands and aesthetic aspirations of his own age.

Among the buildings discussed in the exhibition, and represented by paintings and architectural models, were his unbuilt design for Venice's Rialto Bridge and two of the city's most famous churches: Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (Church of the Most Holy Redeemer) built in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague of 1575-6, in which some 46,000 people died...

...and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore which is situated on an island immediately facing the Piazetta, thus providing the classic backdrop for a zillion photo-opportunities...

Even if you've never visited Venice, you will have been exposed to Palladio's art because the architectural rules that he laid down were later followed in the design of thousands of buildings all over Europe.

Anyway, when we visited the adjacent Byzantium exhibition with our friends Roger and Sheila the other month, we began toying with the thought that Palladio - pronounced 'Pa-lad-io' would provide a challenging name for a limerick writer.

Sheila was first off the mark...

There was a young man called Palladio
Who built a house near the Limpopo
Upon its completion
It looked very Grecian
But the hippos had wanted Rococo.

There was a young man called Palladio
Who listened to sport on the radio.
When his team won the cup
He always jumped up
And ran round shouting 'ee-ay-addio'.

Since when, David and I have added a few of our own...

There was a young man named Palladio
Whose buildings became quite a fadio
Each column and pediment
Expressed what he said-'e-meant
But were over the top by a tadio.

There was a young man named Palladio
Whose hats were a bit of a fadio,
He invented a kitfer
Constructing a titfer
Which drove all the milliners madio.

There was a young man named Palladio
Who behaved like a terrible cadio
The girls of Venezia
Soon had regretzia
And their offspring were calling him 'Dadio'.

The architect Signor Palladio
Built a really sumptuous padio
But the elaborate loggia
With its northern exposure
Was deemed by the critics as badio.

Any further offerings will - possibly - be much appreciated!

Image of San Giorgio Maggiore © Brian Sibley, 2009


Eudora said...

And the houses of south of USA, like Tara's (you know, Gone with the wind), are inspired by palladian architecture.

I don't like very much this colosal style, but of course Palladio is a reference by his books of architecture.

Sorry, I'm not very good writing poetry :(

Brian Sibley said...

I wouldn't be foolish enough to call it poetry!

LisaH said...

There was a young man named Palladio,
Whose behaviour was decidedly baddio,
He'd play with his balls
Whilst wandering through halls,
And drive all the ladies quite madio.

Boll Weavil said...

Let's have a limerick competition !

Brian Sibley said...

LISAH - Well, Palladio was well known, in his day, as a billiard-player...

BOLL - OK... Then we need to find a subject.

Obviously Palladio is now unfair and, similarly, it would give you a distinct advantage if we set your parrot as a subject (no one else will understand this reference - and just as well!!) so how do we decide what to write limericks about?

Sheila said...

How about a limerick competition on you? Just to set the bar really low to kick things off:

There is a young writer called Brian
Who knows all about Aslan the lion
And of folk from the Shire
Or a Walt Disney choir
Has knowledge that one can rely on.

At this point, my poetic muse has run screaming to the hills!

Brian Sibley said...

I like rhyming Brian/lion/rely on! Well done!