Doges and Dogaresse at the Doge’s Palace

Dogaressa

In the rooms which constituted the apartment of the Doge, until June 30th you can see a selection of portraits of Doges and Dogaresse. If the Doge was the representative of the Venetian Republic, appointed for life by the Great Council, the Dogaressa, the wife of the Doge, not always enjoyed public tributes and honors. It usually depended on the personal wealth of the family.

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Portrait of the Doge’s wife Elisabetta Querini Valier, end of the 17th century, unknown artist

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Sebastiano Venier, Andrea Vicentino, 1577

Through the lavishing rooms of the Palace, refurbished after a fire in the late 15th century and still maintaining most of the original decoration, you meet men and women who were among the principal actors of the history of Venice.

Palazzo Ducale

Paintings show other important symbols of Venice’s past glory like battles, lions, geographic maps.

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At the end, a painting of the 19th century reminds the abdication in 1797 of the last Doge, Ludovico Manin, before the French army of Napoleon entered the city.

Abdicazione Manin

The Deposition of Doge Manin, 19th century unknown artist.

Many hundred years of history, worth to be known.

 

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Ville in Italia about Slow Venice

I’m pleased to share an article on Venice Carnival by the blog of Ville in Italia, one of the best known companies specialized (and leader) in the selection of luxury villas for vacations in Italy for more than 20 years. Ville in Italia considers Slow Tours of Venice a good occasion not to miss the “silent places and features” which are worth visiting.

Enjoy the read!  Venice Carnival

Photos: Venice Carnival yesterday….

Bergaigne Carnevale

Pierre Bergaigne (1652-1708), Carnival with Masked figures

Giacomo Franco, Carnevale, 1610

… and today… (photos by Norbert Heyl)

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

 

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

Photo by Norbert Heyl www.norbertheyl.com

 

 

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The Church of San Salvador: a Mirror of the rich 16th century Venetian Society.

Trasfigurazione Tiziano

If the Catholic visitor of the church of San Salvador can find in the works of Titian a powerful spiritual message, the common visitor who is not familiar with the Christian religion can perceive their overwhelming theatric effect.

Titian painted both works in the 1560ies, when he was over 70 years old and the world of his youth had deeply changed. Catholic and Protestants were carrying devastating wars all over Europe. The Reform of the Catholic Church had to state the siege of its doctrine.

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Ca’ Mocenigo: 18th century Interiors, Costumes and the History of Perfume

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If you want to indulge to your interest for 18th century Venetian lifestyle, the museum of Ca’ Mocenigo is one of the most appropriate places where to go.
The museum (housing also the Centre of Studies on the History of Textiles and Costumes) is located on the noble floor of palazzo Mocenigo at San Stae.

Strolling through the rooms you can sense the pleasure for material beauty, which characterizes the culture of a people who traded for centuries with luxury goods: carved and gilded furniture, Murano chandeliers and appliques, velvet fabrics, Burano laces and table cloaks, frescoes and paintings. Most of the artworks and objects were purchased by the Mocenigo family and are original to the palace.

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A City of Images: Paintings in the Venetian House of the Renaissance

Mansueti

Giovanni Mansueti, The Miraculous Healing of the Daughter of ser Benvegnudo of San Polo, c. 1505, Accademia

In her marvelous book about 16th century Venice interiors, Isabella Fossati Palumbo Casa made a thorough research in ancient inventories, bringing out a world of astonishing richness and color. No doubt that the level and quality of life in Venice, as the author states several times, were higher than anywhere else in Europe.

Paintings were to be found in every house, including those of the common people. Documents show two small butchers at the Ponte dell’Aseo owning 22 paintings, a merchant of cheese owning 25 and a shopkeeper in the Mercerie 13.

We also know of a plume-seller, of a boilermaker, of carpenters and boat builders who owned small paintings. Even in the humblest houses you could find drawings or paintings on paper.

Subjects were usually religious, like the figure of a Saint to invoke for protection, lots of Madonnas (often in Greek style) and the Three Kings. Sometimes subjects were more exotic, showing for example a Turkish figure, man or woman, and there were many portraits of important people, like the Queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, or the one of a Pope or a Doge, that people would have to make their home more distinguishing.

giovanni bellini

More rarely, and usually in the richer houses, where people had more opportunity to travel, you could find geographic subjects, like cosmographies, landscapes of other cities or countries. There are anyway exceptions, like the case of a wool-worker owning four paintings about Africa, Asia, Europe and Peru.

In the houses of the merchants and nobles, the number and the dimension of the paintings were larger, showing also a greater variety in the subjects.

It is easy to imagine that in a city where people were so devoted to art and images, there was a fertile ground that allowed artists like Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto or Veronese (to mention just a few of them) to develop their talent and creativity.

The book of Isabella Fossati Palumbo Casa is available at the moment in French and in Italian.

Carpaccio

 

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Sacral Beauty in Venetian churches

 

Veronese EsterFilled with more than 25 million visitors a year Venice is always more chaotic.
In spite of the confusion and the thousands of people in the narrow alleyways, there are still places where you can hide from crowds and noises: churches in Venice are real oasis of peace and beauty.

Sitting quietly in front of Titian’s colors, Bellini’s serenity or Tintoretto’s dramatic scenes, it seems as if we could get in contact with our ancestors; as if we, through these works, could understand the passions, the dreams or the fears that moved them.Bragora2 int

The churches of Venice, to me, are like a bridge to the past; places where for hundred of years daily life, confessions and love stories, moments of desperation and happiness took place.

To me, those saints and those Madonnas that look at us from the altars are not only images meant to teach the stories of the Bible, but figures with whom people used to share their thoughts, figures who were part of the life of the community. People would take flowers or little presents to them, would talk to them, entrusting them their thoughts and hopes.

In the next posts I’ll put some of my favorite churches. Hoping that visitors will continue to experience them as places of hospitality and beauty.

Frari interno

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Leonardo da Vinci at the Accademia Galleries

Leonardo Uomo Vitruviano

From August 29th and until December 1st there will be one more reason to visit the Accademia Galleries.

Alongside with masterpieces by Titian, Bellini, Veronese, Tintoretto, Carpaccio and many others, visitors will have a unique occasion to see an exhibition on Renaissance drawings dating from 1478 to 1516, which includes the famous Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.

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Do you bead? Glass-beads maker Muriel Balensi

Muriel Balensi

Muriel Balensi

¿Do you bead?, a group of glass-beads makers and jewel designers, organizes a series of workshops and events on the making and the history of glass beads See their story and events calendar here:http://www.doyoubead.com/
In the photos see Muriel Balensi, French glass-beads maker, who lives in Venice, in the atelier she has together with her friend Dominique Brunet in San Barnaba.

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A fashion-music-dance show will take place on May 23rd at the Magazzini del Sale; with percussionist Francesco Tomasutti, the dance performance of Federico Casali, the music of Andrea Mattarucco, the wearable sculptures of Olga Rostrosta and the Haute-Couture Glass Jewelry of the ¿Do you Bead? group.

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Marbled Paper: top quality only until May 2013

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Artisans spend their time on improving their techniques, finding new patterns, inventing variations on the things they produce. When you look at them, they are totally immersed in what they are doing. But in Venice, once the home of some among the most magnificent craftspeople in Europe, they are all disappearing.

The very high rents for workshops and a crazy bureaucracy are forcing many small shops and especially craftspeople to close down (including one of the most important bookshops, not able to pay any longer 9000 euros a month). Artisans are notoriously no managers or lawyers, they can’t keep the pace with the constantly changing administrative requests, neither with the very high taxation. Not to talk of the problems of maintaining a workshop in Venice: acqua alta, humidity, water infiltrations, bricks falling apart.

Can tourists help these precious activities to survive? Yes, they can.

If you visit Venice, please be more selective when you buy souvenirs. It is better to buy some handmade bookmarks for 3 euros each instead of a peace of glass made industrially and of poor quality for 20 euros.

It is better to go and discover the small workshops out of the centre, where things are still handmade with passion and dedication, instead of buying the usual industrial stuff in shops that belong to chains.

Stefano Casati, who produces hand-printed paper, leather and velvet will close his workshop toward the end of May 2013. The colors he uses are unique; he is rather an artist than an artisan. If you are in Venice don’t miss him! If you have friends in Venice, tell them to go and buy their Christmas presents there.

You can find his workshop in Barbaria delle Tole 6676 (close to campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo).

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