Monday, 5 September 2011

Galleria Dell Acadamia and Punta Della Dogana, Venice.

We are a group of twenty. We breakfast, then head off to the Galleria Dell,Accadamia, housed in the ancient Scuola Della Carita and reconfigured church buildings. Guides, Katerina and Stephano will walk us through the collection. They are passionate Venitians, tracing the flow of powerful families and influences. Venitians did not recognize the authority of the Pope, such was their confidence and power.

Their elected Doge and councillors protected the strategic importance of Venice as a funnel for goods coming from the east and cities such as Alexandria. It made the city fabulous wealth. They sent envoys - the first resident diplomats to Contantinople and other centers where Venitian mercantile interests were important. Venitian artists painted Islam into their works - a culture they knew well. Ottoman rulers commissioned Venetian artists to record them in portraiture. Differing from other Italian centers of painting, Venitian artists noted the cultural exchange in their depiction of religious stories pertinent to their city. The cosmopolitan, open nature of Venitian culture is evident.

As a complete contrast we make our way to the Punta Della Dogana, the ancient Customs House. Set on a peninsular across a small stretch of water from San Marco square, the space has been transformed by architect, Tadeo Ando, to house Francois Pinault's astounding collection and exhibition program. The curator walks us through the current exhibition In Praise of Doubt and The World Belongs to You. pointing to uncertainties posed by the works. It is intriguing. Now most of us are thinking of lunch. Breakfast seems a long time ago. We are ushered into the gallery restaurant for carpaccio on rocket, smoky and light, followed by coffee and chocolate flan. We each receive a catalogue of the exhibition. It has been wonderful.

We have a few more stops to look at important churches and walk the squares of the old residential precincts before we make our way to the private house of Nathalie De Corso and her husband for afternoon drinks. They are good hosts, showing us their roof garden and home, set on the canal. It has been a good walk to get here. I have been chatting to Micheal Manford, whose parents were neighbours of ours when I was a child. They built their house in 1957 when I was ten. I remember it going up. I feel ancient. Walking back to the hotel we pass squares facing the canal. Spare church facades plastered in fine tones of whiteness and soft greys with flourishes of acanthus leaves on grand columns. Walls of small flat red bricks, worn and ancient. A washing line hung with white and always water.

We are led back to the hotel to prepare for dinner at the Ristorante Do Forni, San Marco.
What will I wear?

No comments:

Post a Comment