Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tintoretto, Titian and Tiepolo, Not to Mention Veronese

No, they are not the named partners of a law firm, as I'm sure you know.  These are the guys who spent many years busily painting frescoes and canvases all over the churches and palazzi of Venice, walls, ceilings, anything that would hold paint.  It's probably quite possible to spend months wandering through the multiplicity of churches and scuole and still not see all that's there to be seen by these big names of the quattrocento.  And that's not even including all the pieces in the actual museums.

There are others as well, of course, some quite wonderful, like Fumiani, the guy whose ceiling in our local church of San Pantalon is called the largest ceiling painting in the world, which may be true since it is on canvas, not fresco.  Although I think he's later.  The ceiling is super though, and as far as I'm concerned it was worth doing, even if he died falling off his scaffold.  Accidents happen.

In any case, we were enormously impressed by the Tiepolo ceiling of the Scuola Grande dei Carmini, and the incredible stucco work of putti and angels on the stairs leading to them.  And because we loved it so much last time, we visited again the church of San Sebastiano, entirely painted by Paolo Veronese.  It was his parish church and he's buried there.

What may not be as well known to people visiting Venice is the amount of contemporary art to be seen, mostly as a result of Fran├žois Pinault's two museums, Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana.
This French billionaire took offense when France wasn't willing to give him what he wanted to house his collections and took himself off to Venice, where we saw a couple of interesting shows at the Palazzo Grassi, The Illusion of Light and an Irving Penn photography exhibition.  The palazzo's shell remains intact and the spectacular ceilings are generally visible, but the art shows beautifully in the space.  The other of Pinault's museums, Punta Della Dogana, is housed in the old customs house at the point of the Grand Canal.  Here the spaces are enormous and the largest pieces are shown to advantage.

Tomorrow we leave for Bologna.  Everyone to whom we mention it mentions the food.  Since the best food in Venice is very fresh but often quite plain fish, spaghetti Bolognese sounds great.

Photos at

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