Venice, Sunday, June 16, 2013

A view of the Grand Canal at breakfast at the hotel.

grand canal

After breakfast (great buffet), we walked to Fondazione Querini Stampalia.  The building dates from 15th century, but today 

…you can find both ancient rooms and Carlo Scarpa’s… contemporary architecture.  

querini stampalia4

In previous years the foundation had occupied the building, but flooding of the ground floor meant the spaces there could not be used to their full extent. Scarpa’s interventions helped keep the building usable and an important cultural complex in the city.

querini stampalia1querini stampalia3querini stampalia2Check out these great new details, such as the snazzy radiator, its shape replicated in the stone door to its right, the water gate which lets in the canal, and this gorgeous door on the ground floor, or water entrance. The trough contains the water when the house floods.  The raised walkway’s surface actually coincides with the high-water line.  Carlos Scarpa mixed modern elements and historic, such as marble and white stone, and reinvented space.   The first photo shows the serene patio with water lilies and the sound of water.

This Web site has many more photos than I took:
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/4125933/list/A-Venetian-Courtyard-Shows-Mastery-in-the-Details

This Area Scarpa of the Querini Stampalia Foundation housed the Gordon Matta-Clark installation.  Matta-Clark photographed “holes” he  dug into buildings to see the original city, such as this Conical Intersect.

He is famous for his “building cuts,” a series of works in abandoned buildings in which he variously removed sections of floors, ceilings, and walls.matta2

In 1868 Count Giovanni left all his possessions to the city of Venice: real estate and personal property, books and art collections, all for public use.

Querini was one of the twelve founders of the city of Venice.   This ancient collection can be seen on the first floor (which we Americans call the second floor), a restoration done in 1995 for a World Heritage Site1, of the typical atmosphere of the 18th-century residence of aristocrats.  Shown here the centre-piece in the Portego ceiling, the Allegory of Dawn, by Jacopo Guarana, surrounded by other monochrome frescoes representing mythological and artistic allegories.querini stampalia old1

The Museum of Fondazione Querini Stampalia is one of the most important examples of House-Museum, in the heart of Venice, and it is one of the best preserved in all Europe. The noble floor of the Palace recreates the the magnificent residence of the Querini Stampalia family. The ancient collections containing precious furniture, paintings, porcelains, globes, fabrics and sculptures create an inseparable connection in a refined atmosphere, with the luxurious rooms covered with plasters and frescos.

This floor shows the power of the family, stucco on the walls, frescoed ceilings, terrazzo floors, murano glass chandeliers. Lots of priceless old paintings – quite a contrast too all of the contemporary art we’re here to see.

querini stampalia old3First was the Giovanni Bellini Room (he was the founder of the Venetian school of painting) with his Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, 1469.   Everyone must have a Mother and Child in their home.

querini stampalia old5Next the Panel Room, with God Is Light, by Palma Vecchio, from the 15th C Giorgione movement.

Then the Italian Mannerist Room, from the end of the 16th century, with works by Palma il Giovani, who painted in the style of Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian,  Is this his self-portrait as Christ?

querini stampalia old6The Music Room.  with a pianoforte from the 19th century.  Pietro Longhi 18th C scenes of everyday life, such as The Dancing Lesson, shown here, another one, The Geography Lesson.   (Imagine wearing all those clothes all of the time!) Some paintings are  from the Donà delle Rose family.

querini stampalia old10Portrait Room:  a full-length of Polo Querini (1680+) by Palma il Vecchio and Marco Vecellio, another of  Nicolò Querini, this one of Leucippus, who developed the atomist theory, by Luca Giordano.

The Giuseppe Jappelli Drawing Room, replete with landscapes.  Antonio Stom’s The Departure of the Bucintoro, 1717.  The Doge marries the sea and the city in a social and public party.  (The bucintoro is the doge’s ceremonial galley.)  At this time Venice was the largest city in Europe with 200,000 residents.  (Now its population is 60,000.)

querini stampalia old11

querini stampalia old19In the Nineteenth Century RoomThe Model, 1920, by Alessandro Milesi, with thick brush strokes, the elegance of the epoch.

In the Scenes of Venetian Life Room, paintings by Gabriel Bellany of scenes of Venetian life, such as this Charlatans in Piazzetta San Marco in Venice showing tooth puller, magician, puppet theater, singers.

querini stampalia old13

And this one of his, Feast of 2nd February at Santa Maria Formosa in Venice which shows the quaint tradition of killing hung cats by head butting.

querini stampalia old14

The Studio – Roman School of paintings in the 18th to 19th C.

querini stampalia mirrorThe Bed Chamber with a mirror of Murano glass and paintings of personal sacraments.

querini stampalia still lifeThe Boudoir with Still Life with Fruit and Shellfish and Still Life with Fruit and Monkey

The two copper scenes of very high quality and realised with great pictorial delicacy … the work of Hans van Essen.

querini stampalia wallpaperThe Red Drawing Room:

The room owes its name to the wall coverings in crimson lance satin and beige brocade dating from the first quarter of the eighteenth century and Venetian made. Against a crimson background and from a base of cacti

querini stampalia old18The Green Drawing Room:

Two consoles with tall mirrors and austere portraits, witness to the importance of the family’s lineage, complete the furnishing of the room.

Followed by Room of the Stuccoes and the Dining Room.  By this time I’d stopped taking photos we were going so quickly through the rooms.  But more detail on them here:
http://www.querinistampalia.org/eng/uploads/Schede%20Museo_eng.pdf

The Library on the second floor houses more than 350,000 books on Venetian history.

As I recall, there are two floors more.  One housed Qiu Zhijie – New Roads – The Unicorn and the Dragon exhibition.  Unfortunately, I forgot to recharge my camera last night, so I got the Unicorn (glass), but missed the Dragon.  (Had taken tons of photos on the top floor before I visited this one.)

unicornThe top floor was taken over by Jacob Hashimoto – Gas Giant.  We saw some of his pieces in Verona.  This space wasn’t as tall, but two rooms were full, floor to ceiling.  You can tell I love his kites.  Look at the pencil detail on these.

gas giant 9J

gas giant 3

gas giant 7

gas giant1

gas giant 6

gas giant 15

Jacob Hashimoto’s site-specific work, composed of 10,000 paper and bamboo kites in rigorous repetition, created an explosive visual landscape shot with a riot of craft, colour and graphic pattern.

Lunch at Barbacani Ristoranti.  I like Italian food, even took cooking classes in Tuscany, but am getting tired of pasta by this time.   Here, as usual, no choice of lunch, as they were serving 30 of us, risotto etcetera for €30!

Then a walk to Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, founded in 1898 by Duchess Bevilacqua, who left  this palace to Venice with the stipulation that it exhibit young artist. who are often barred from entering the great exhibitions.

I was trying to understand why my notes said at this point that the Norway Pavilion hosted international artists.  Goggled and concluded that for this year’s  Biennale Fondazione Bevilacquat houses the Norwegian Pavilion.   I had thought that all individual country pavilions were located in the Giardini.  Not true.

The formal Biennale is based at a park, the Giardini. The Giardini houses 30 permanent national pavilions [as well as] a large exhibition hall that houses a themed exhibition curated by the Biennale’s director.
The gardens were created by Napoleon Bonaparte who drained an area of marshland in order to create a public garden on the banks of the Bacino di San Marco which is a narrow stretch of water dividing the gardens from St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace.

The show, Beware of the Holy WhoreEdvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation.  I have no photos, so I guess we were not allowed to take any.

holy whoreThe show contains Munch’s drawings and sketches.  The title is based on a drawing of a dead hooker (this photo from the Net).

Munch was born in 1863 in Oslo, a very petite bourgeoisie.  I have a note that his Scream, as a symbol of hysteria, was the cover for the book Psychology and Art but can find nothing on the Web to substantiate that.  Munch had insanity and fears.  Another book on his night table was Sex and Character by Otto Weininger.  He was in Berlin with [here I have a blank in my notes]. He was unsettled by the sexual revolution going on at the time and by the independent women around him.  He also represents illnesses and death – a drawing of an emaciated women.  His 20th century sketches are of everyday life, but ironic.

And he wrote, a long poem called The City of Free Love in which he makes fun of animals and others, for which I cannot find the text on the Web.

A friend has added this:

As for Munch, I happen to know a bit about him from a seminar I led a few years ago. He was part of a group of bohemians in Berlin from about 1892 that included fellow Norwegian playwright, poet and artist August Strindberg, the Polish poet Stanislaw  Przybyszewski and SP’s future wife, a Norwegian writer, Dagny Juel.  They met and drank heavily at a bar called the Black Piglet.  Complicated relationships, free love.  Juel had affairs with all three men and is the subject of some of Munch’s paintings in his cycle of life series, especially Jealousy.  She bore SP two children and was shot to death by a lover in a hotel room a decade later.  Makes Eliot  Spitzer and Anthony Weiner look tame.

There was also an interesting film by Berg of three version of a truth.  This video is the trailer for Dirty Young Loose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wsGAgr1NIY  She had done a previous video of hookers talking about “customers” during dinner.

While we were waiting for our boat BJ got dumped on by a seagull – all over his arms, shirt, pants.  We told him he’d have to photoshop the seagull into a photo of him.  Bruno said that it’s supposed to be good luck for Italians.

Lots of people have dropped out of our group – heat, humidity, stairs, standing, walking.  (We were not prepared for the unseasonably hot weather – you’d think the globe was warming up…)

Note: Venice is working on a lock to keep out the rising seas.

The MOSE (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico) is a project intended to protect the city of Venice, Italy, and the Venetian Lagoon from floods. The project is an integrated system consisting of rows of mobile gates installed at [three] inlets (the gaps connecting the Venice Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea through which the tide ebbs and flows) and able to temporarily isolate the Venetian Lagoon from the Sea during high tides. Together with other measures such as coastal reinforcement, the raising of quaysides and paving and improvement of the lagoon, the Mose has been designed to protect Venice and the lagoon from tides of up to 3 m…

This last winter the water was up 100cm rather than the standard 50cm.  Every home, shop  was under water.  (In ’65 that happened to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence because a dike broke in the mountains.  Much artwork in the basement was lost.)

We take a boat to Giudecca 795 Art Gallery for an artist studio visit.  This home of the Renaissance cloister of the former convent of SS. Cosmas and Damian is also sponsored by the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa.  18- to 35-year-old artists are assigned to ateliers for one year.  (Here are only the painters, other arts in other locations.) How We Dwell (Make Your Own Residence) was done by four artists together, one from Boston, working with found materials, for an environmental organization.

Then a boat to Palazzetto Tito: Exhibition Art from the Japanese Foundation.  Not allowed photos, but as I recall, this was my least favorite show, very apocryphal, with lots of blood.  Here are just three of the artists:

Shuji Terayama with Avant-Guarde Theater, Movie recommended for adult audience, video verging on pornography.

Tomoko Yoneda’s Japanese House, photos taken in Taiwan, remnant of the Japanese Occupation.

Simon Fujiwara’s Mexican Room, with a stuffed  hawk, cactus shooting up through a wicker rocker, photo of a rattler skin, skull with a machete embedded in it, amputated “hand” and “arm”, cowboy not yet unpacked, letters to Jose Luis, with terrible spelling, as he dictated them to actual scribes in Mexico City who type for illiterate people, Fujiwara echoing Cortés.  This installation is described here fully:
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-st-ives/exhibition/simon-fujiwara/room-guide/simon-fujiwara-1982-room-guide-gallery-1

Phew!  I was too tired for dinner.  Had prosecco and nosh with my roommate at the hotel and a bag of ice for my knee and I crashed early.

1http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/366/
2http://www.wallpaper.com/art/venice-art-biennale-2013-the-top-ten-highlights/6549#81667

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