Saturday, September 7, 2013

Venice Art (9/7/2013)

Saturday, September 7, 2013
We had breakfast across the "street" from the Domus Civita, a couple brioche al cioccolato/chocolate croissants and Kent ordered an espresso, not realizing how tiny it would be!
Today we took vaporetto/water bus #1 to be able to disembark at Santa Maria della Salute/Our Lady of Good Health:
The church was built beginning in 1631 to pray for deliverance from the plague, invoking someone higher than San Rocco or San Lorenzo Giustiniani. Designed by Baldassare Longhena in Baroque style, it was completed in 1681. It is unique in that it is constructed in a shape of a crown, as an octagon. It contains the works of great artists and a 12 or 13C Byzantine Madonna and Child from Crete.
Kent at the bronze doors:
Looking across the Grand Canal:
A view towards Piazza San Marco:
A police boat:
We returned to the museum at Punta della Dogana/Customs Point which wasn't open when we arrived. It is located in the former Dogana da Mar/Customs House at the tip of the island:
The rooftop decoration depicts two Atlases, or maybe two slaves, holding a golden globe with a statue of Fortune on top. Fortune holds a large banner and turns with the wind.
The Dogana da Mar Museum displays the collection of Francois Pinault. He had the exterior restored, and the interior redesigned by Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect, in 2008-2009.
Pinault is a French billionaire who owns one of the biggest collections of contemporary art in the world.
Kent is in the art installation Does the Angle Between Two Walls Have a Happy Ending (2013) by Loris Greaud:
Hundreds of tubes of neon lights and spinning metal monkey fetuses.
Abbazia di San Gregorio/St Gregory Abbey with ogival windows:
Ca' Venier dei Leoni/of Lions (1750s, by Lorenzo Boschetti) is an unfinished palace that was purchased by Peggy Guggenheim in 1949. Her father died on the Titanic when she was 14 years of age and she lived on trusts. She became involved in the bohemian art world of Europe, and ended up an art collector. She opened her Venetian palace annually to the public to view her collections.
The Peggy Guggenheim Museum includes the Nasher Sculpture Garden:
Untitled (2007) by Anish Kapoor in black granite:
Sort of like a funhouse mirror:
Peggy's resting place in a corner of the garden, where her beloved dogs are also buried:
The Museum Cafe building contained rooms for a temporary exhibit on Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, as well as a permanent exhibit of the Gianni Mattioli Collection. The latter had paintings from the Futurism Movement, including Amedeo Modigiani.
Peggy's home itself has the art on the walls mostly as they had been displayed when the place was furnished. Am amazing collection of Cubism, Futurism, Metaphysical painting, European abstraction, avant-garde sculpture, Surrealism, and American Abstract Expressionism with Alexander Calder mobiles, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore sculptures, and paintings by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and many more, including Peggy's former husband, Max Ernst.
Out on the canal terrace, you are greeted by the Angel of the City (1948) by Marino Marini:
The lion heads that give the palace its name:
We had lunch at Osteria/Tavern del Magnar Ben. (Venetian Italian is different enough from standard Italian, that I cannot translate everything!) We were encouraged to try the Mixed Plate that allowed us to sample almost everything on the menu:
From 10:00 to 1:00 on the plate above is the cold marinated seafood of shrimp, octopus and sardines (along with onions). From 1:00 to 5:00 we have first an interesting concoction of salt cod in a coating of white polenta/cornmeal which has been deep-fired, a fried fish and sausage with a cake of yellow polenta. The two round polpetti/balls contain liver and cheese, and the cylindrical one has potato. From 5:00 to 10:00 are the grilled vegetables, topped by a grilled shrimp and a grilled cuttlefish. The two squares of polenta are topped with a baccala/salt cod mixture, one in a white sauce and one in red.
We also shared a pasta carbonara:
Venezia/Venice is not known as a place to get great food, so the pastas and pizzas are basic. But even poor Italian food tastes good!
Gallerie dell'Accademia/Academy Galleries in the Scuola Grande di Santa Maria della Carita/Large Confraternity of Holy Our Mother of Charity (1344):
I believe that dell'Accademia is the premier museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice. The first gallery of Medieval art had a carved ceiling with many scary-looking cherub faces watching us. In Early Renaissance, it was Jacopo Bellini and his sons Giovanni and Gentile. The iconic drink at Harry's Bar is named for this family of artists.
The most prolific artist in Venice, according to what we have seen, has to be Tintoretto. There is also Tiziano Vecelli, whose name has caused titters. I had been pronouncing his English name as Tit-ian, only to learn that I should have been saying Ti-shun. Paolo Veronese is another artist with works in many locations.
The Biennale exhibit was Leonardo da Vinci: Universal Man which displayed many of his sketches/studies of the human body.
We crossed the Ponte dell'Accademia/Academy Bridge with views downstream:
And upstream:
The bridge was once known for the lovers' locks, but the authorities discourage the practice because they are an eyesore and the rust from the locks damages the bridge structure. However, we saw those sidewalk vendors selling the locks, and they carry a permanent marker for you to write your initial/names on the locks!
Rui Rui (2013) by Jaume Plensa at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti:
Campo San Stefano with the statue (1882) of Niccolo Tommaseo (1802-1874, linguist and journalist) by Francesco Barzagi:
After being snubbed at Hotel Daniele, Kent was reluctant to have a drink at the Hotel Gritti Palace terrace restaurant. But we were politely ushered into the bar side of the Club del Doge Terrace Restaurant. This time our expensive beer and ginger ale was accompanied by hazelnuts, olives, and cheese crackers:
Suddenly we noticed the canal was filled with police boats, and men in suits with earpieces (looking like Secret Service agents) arrived by several boats at the canal entrance of the hotel:
Then a distinguished gentleman was escorted off one boat:
I asked a waitress who it was; il Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano, the President of Italy!
He was accompanied by his wife Clio. He had attended a screening of a film for the International Film Festival the day before and today had visited the International Art Exhibition at the Arsenale.
Next we brazenly walked through the lobby of Hotel Flora:
to see their patio courtyard:
Former Chiesa di San Vidal/Church of St Vitale (rebuilt 1696, now a concert hall):
A motorboat speeding through a narrow canal:
And is he texting while driving?
Teatro La Fenice/The Phoenix Theater (2001-2003, based on the design of the 19th century theater):
This opera theater has risen again after being destroyed by fire three separate times.
A couple Veneziane:
Campo Manin with statue (1875) Daniele Manin (1804-1857, a hero of the reunification of Italy) by Luigi Borro:
Scala del Bovolo/Staircase of the Snail (1499, attributed to Giorgio Spavento):
Certainly a fancy outdoor spiral staircase. We overheard a woman explain the staircase was used by servants and that's why it was outdoors...
The courtyard may look like a working area:
I guess it is also famous for cats:
An alley shrine:
We explored  Ca' Pesaro, home of the International Gallery of Modern Art.
It's courtyard had a big well:
We came to see the painting titled Judith II (1909) by Gustav Klimt. The galleries start in the first half of the 19th century and work their way up to the 1960s. The third floor has contemporary art and sprinkled in between were contemporary art installations of the Sonnabend Collection, the Biennale exhibit for this venue.
On another floor of Ca' Pesaro was the Oriental Art Museum. the stairs were lined with Japanese spears. At first I thought it should be called an Armory Museum, but we finally reached the art. There were ceramics, prints, bronzes, and musical instruments from Japan, China, Siam/Thailand, and Java/Indonesia.
While at Ca' Pesaro, we observed a line of police boats going by on the Grand Canal, then the "Secret Service" boats:
Sure enough, il Presidente passed by:
He was probably on his way to the airport to return to Roma.
They were followed by more police boats and several ambulance boats:
We stopped in the Scuola dei Tiraoro & Battioro/Goldsmith Guild (18C, attributed to Giacomo Gaspari):
The Biennale exhibit was Denatured: Honeybees + Murano by Judi Harvest.
There were shelves lined with honeycomb-like bottles and sculptures made with chicken wire like this beehive:
We tried to visit Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari/Glorious St Mary of the Friars, but the venue was closed for a wedding.
Later, confetti was swirling in front of the church:
Note the bar table on a canal post:
We tired to have dinner at a recommended restaurant, but it was booked. We made reservations for another day. We ate at the Taverna di Baffo, at their tables out in the square:
We started with melone & prosciutto:
Then gnocchi with cream of salmon sauce and chicken cutlet with mushrooms.
As we ate dinner, we watched water taxis pull up to some steps off the canal, and nicely dressed couples disembarked to head toward the recommended restaurant. Many had to transfer across another boat docked there, and a couple of the water taxis had to continue up the canal to turn around. Others just backed out the way they came.
Today we visited two more of the top ten in Venice: Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Gallerie dell'Accademia.
Tomorrow, the Venetian Lagoon Islands.


DVNO said...

Hi, I'm Davide from Venice, Italy. I have found your picture with an ambulance...the driver it's me! Can you send me the image by e-mail because we want hang it on the wall in our association office!!!
Thanks a lot

Jax Stumpes said...

I am happy to send you the photo, but I need an email address. Put it in a comment and I will not publish the comment with the email address in it.