Santa Maria della Misericordia, a deconsecrated and long-closed church in Venice makes the news...
This isn't the first mosque in Venice, by the way, there used to be one in the Fondaco dei Turchi.
Santa Maria della Misericordia, a deconsecrated and long-closed church in Venice makes the news...
This isn't the first mosque in Venice, by the way, there used to be one in the Fondaco dei Turchi.
This is the most unique street shrine that I saw in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. It's a 3D representation of Santa Casa, the Virgin Mary's house, which was miraculously moved from the Holy Land to Loreto, Italy in the 13th century. The shrine shows the house in transit being carried by a meringue full of angels.
I've written about the legend of this house and the Madonna di Loreto before, in one of my posts about Venice's church of San Pantalon, which has an oratory that is a recreation of Santa Casa.
Another unique thing about this Malta shrine is its plaque which offers indulgences to those who pray before the shrine. I saw many shrines in Malta with similar offers.
This shrine was high up on the building, and I couldn't get a good photo of inside the house, but I could tell that it's a framed image of the Black Madonna who is on the altar in the church in Loreto (and there's a copy in Venice in the San Pantalon oratory).
It made me sad to read this article in The Venice Times about how Venice's legendary pigeon problem is now a seagull problem. As with so many of the other challenges facing Venice, I have no solutions. But does anyone want to go to Venice or any other city where there are no birds or other creatures besides humans? I've always sympathized with the Venetian pigeons (even though I didn't like being swarmed by them when I was eating a panini outdoors). And as I wrote on my blog early on, I once saw a seagull kill and eat the heart of a pigeon in Piazza San Marco. Romantic Venice, not!
They aren't that lovable, but don't seagulls have the right to live in a city by the sea? It's kinda overwhelming to think about and yes, maybe I'm a dreamer, but I hope that someday nature will be in balance - not just in Venice, but everywhere on our beautiful out-of-whack planet Earth.
A few photos from my recent trip to Malta, a place I knew next-to-nothing about when I learned that I was being sent there on business.
It's a beautiful little country (and it was so wonderful to be back in Europe again!). February was a good time to visit Malta - mild temperatures and beautiful green landscapes. I was told that summers are brutally hot and humid, full of other tourists, and that all that lovely green turns brown.
I thought about Venice often while I was there, since Malta has an abundance of churches, a fair number of street shrines, and lots of well-cared-for stray cat colonies. I was staying in the capital city, Valletta, which is a great walking city with many car-free, pedestrian-only streets.
I took many many photos, and it's going to take a while to go through and edit them. So I'll probably post more later on. I've also started a set on Flickr if you'd like to see more.
It's such a small island that you can see the Mediterranean from every hill.
The fortress in the background of the photo below is where a pivotal (and shocking) scene in season one of "Game of Thrones" was filmed.
Images of saints all over the place, and many lovely mysterious doors~
The Siege Bell, a WWII memorial. They ring this bell everyday at noon.
Seeing street shrines again made me happy~
Another Venice reminder (and yes, I drank several of these)~
Sunset at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta~
This beautiful photo of Piazza San Marco was taken by Bruno Rosso in 1965. It's now part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You can see a larger image here.
I love the mood of this photo. I've never experienced snow in Venice - I hope to some day. A Lover of Venice has a magical trip through Snow-covered Venice on his site (so glad that ALoV is back on line!).
Hope everyone is having a nice winter without too much extreme cold.
This church is dedicated to San Benedetto (St. Benedict) – you can see the saint's name carved at the top of the façade. In typical Venetian fashion, the name of the church was shortened to San Beneto.
San Beneto was founded in 1005 by three wealthy Venetian families. In 1229, the church was given to the monks of San Michele Brondolo (in Chioggia) by Pope Gregory IX. The church gradually fell into ruin and then in 1540, the campanile collapsed and damaged the already crumbling church. Both the church and the bell tower were rebuilt in the 17th century at the expense of patriarch of Venice, Giovanni Tiepolo (the architect is unknown).
In the de Barbari map of 1500, you can see that the old church faced in a different direction and that the bell tower had a dunce cap top similar to San Barnaba and San Polo. The new church was reoriented so that the façade faced the campo.
This is what the bell tower looks like today - it has an onion dome instead of a dunce cap.
The Patriarch of Venice website reports that “the interior is very simple and straightforward, has a single nave” but doesn’t list Mass times or opening hours. I’ve never heard of this church being open, but I don’t think it’s deconsecrated (the patriarch website lists it as a “vicariale” church under the auspices of parish church, San Luca). Is it ever open and is the art still in there? I don’t know.
Lorenzetti (Venice and Its Lagoon) praised the church’s art collection, especially the “remarkable painting” of St. Sebastian by Bernardo Strozzi (a priest from Genoa who was probably the most talented painter in Venice in the 17th century).
Lorenzetti also mentioned the two “good and imaginative” paintings of St. Benedict by Sebastiano Mazzoni (you can see one of them here).
Other works listed by Lorenzetti:
San Francesco di Paola by Giambattista Tiepolo
Virgin in Glory with St. Dominic and Archangel Michael by Carlo Maratta (on the high altar)
Virgin Mary and Saints by Antonio Fumiani (he painted that amazing ceiling in San Pantalon)
A Byzantine Madonna with silver repousse in a marble niche (sigh, I’d love to see this)
A crucifix from the workshop of Paolo Veneziano
I did stumble across this charming altarpiece, dated 1408, from the original church. It’s now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
"Relief Altarpiece with Saints Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist. Attributed to Gerardo di Mainardo. Limestone from the Istrian peninsula, painted and gilded."
It's a signed work. Translation:
On the tenth day of October, 1408, messer Gerardo taiapera [stonecutter] made this altar to messer Saint Peter in reverence of messer Saint Lord God and of Sainted Mary and of all the Celestial Court, Amen.
San Beneto shares its campo with the 15th century Palazzo Pesaro (now the Museo Fortuny).
Several interesting tidbits about the church of San Marcuola~
• It's one of the few churches on the Grand Canal
• It’s dedicated to a “Venetian” saint that doesn’t exist
• Has one of 8 partially demolished bell towers in Venice
• It houses one of 7 Tintoretto Last Suppers in Venice (this is the earliest)
• It's one of a number of Venetian churches with an unfinished façade
There’s no saint named San Marcuola. The real name of this church is SS. Ermagora and Fortunato, in honor of two first century martyr saints from Aquileia in Northern Italy. Venetians seem to dislike churches with names that are too long and so they morph them into something more manageable like San Marcuola, which is how this church has been known for centuries (other churches whose names have been crunched include San Trovaso and San Zanipolo).
Sources disagree about when San Marcuola was founded. 9th or 10th century, most say, though one Italian source says that the original church was a small wooden one built in 569. It’s been a parish church since the beginning and remains one today. Early in its history, the church housed a group of nuns who lived in a hermitage above the portico, but at some point the nuns relocated to San Trovaso and then later to the Eremite in Dorsoduro.
San Marcuola was rebuilt in the 12th century after it was destroyed by a fire caused by an earthquake. In de Barbari’s map (1500), the church sat parallel to the Grand Canal and the apse faced north. When the church was rebuilt in 1728-36 by Giorgio Massari, it was reoriented so that the façade faces the Grand Canal. But when you enter the church, the high altar is to the right, not straight ahead.
Work did begin on the facade (you can see the marble at the bottom) but was never completed, which happened a lot in 18th century Venice when the republic and its residents were running out of money (other façade-less churches include San Pantalon, San Lorenzo, and Santa Maria della Fava). If the facade had been completed, the church would have looked similar to the Pieta or Gesuati, also works by Massari.
About those obscure saints, the church’s sacred relics include the body of St. Fortunato and a finger of St. Ermagora. But the most revered relic is the hand of John the Baptist, which is displayed every year on June 24th and is commemorated in this relief on a building behind the church.
Inside the church: “The plan is unusual, with twin pulpits over the north and south doors and altars clustered in the corners.” (Hugh Honour, Companion Guide to Venice). There’s a lot of nice carving on the columns, and as for the art, there’s more sculpture than painting, with a bunch of Baroque works by Venetian sculptor, Gian Maria Morleiter (1699-1781) and several paintings by Francesco Migliori (1684 -1734).
The church’s greatest artistic treasure is its Tintoretto Last Supper, which can be seen on the wall to the left of the high altar. He painted it when he was in his 20’s and it’s interesting to compare it to his masterpiece in San Giorgio Maggiore, painted almost 50 years later. (See the end of the post for the list of Tintoretto's Last Suppers in Venice).
German composer, Johann Adolph Hasse, and his Venetian-born wife, opera singer Faustina Bordoni, are buried in this church.
For centuries, there was a traghetto station in front of San Marcuola, as you can see in the vintage photo above and my photo at the top of the page. Later, a vaporetto station was added as well. Sadly, the San Marcuola traghetto station closed in 2012, and the little wooden hut is now gone.
San Marcuola Photo Gallery
In this Flickr gallery, you can see what it looks like without the traghetto station in the first photo (taken in 2013).
The bell tower was partially demolished in the 19th century. The lower portion remains and has been converted into housing, You can kinda sorta see it behind the trees in this photo below.
Today the church has Roman bells on the roof instead of a campanile.
The large Baroque well-head in the campo in front of the church was built in 1713. By decree, its water was for the use of the poor.
A beautiful door on the back of the church~
On the rear corner, a saint in a niche~
I've never seen this shrine in person and have no idea where in Venice it is. I'm hoping that someone who reads my blog knows!
A friend of mine took this photo in 2003 - with film (remember film?) and thus she doesn't have the digital clues of date/time/what other photos were taken close to this one.
It was her first and only trip to Venice, and she doesn't know what sestiere she was in (in fact, she said that she might have taken it on Murano since she spent part of a day out there).
Here is the uncropped photo below. Please let me know if you have seen it!
A few years ago, I wrote about my small and accidental collection of dragons in Venice. Here are a few more!
These first two came from Lawrence, a serious dragon hunter/collector who found a couple of obscure ones on his last trip to Venice. This first one is on the facade of Palazzo Dandolo, which was being restored for quite some time but finally the scaffolding came down, and St.George and the dragon were revealed.
This second one is in Campo de la Tana, a campo with a gate. I photographed this one through the bars of the gate, but Lawrence was lucky to find the gate unlocked and was able to get a better image of it.
This third dragon was shared by Bert - this is Santa Margherita and her dragon in an altar in San Nicolo dei Mendicoli. The dragon is funny looking - is he smiling? More likely, he's grimacing about being chained to the saint (who looks very peaceful and unconcerned about the fire-breathing creature at her side).
Thanks to Lawrence and Bert for allowing me to share these pics. :)
This church and an adjacent monastery were founded in 1620 by the Franciscan order of the Riformati (which gave the name to the Fondamenta dei Riformati in front). These Franciscans friars relocated from the island monastery of San Francesco del Deserto and received funding from the wealthy Zen family to build this religious complex on reclaimed land in northern Cannaregio, not far from the church of Sant’ Alvise.
The church is dedicated to St. Bonaventure (1221-1274), an Italian theologian and early follower of St. Francis of Assisi.
After the fall of the Venetian Republic and the great suppression of churches, the church and monastery were closed. The place was used as a factory and for other secular purposes until 1859, when it was purchased by a Venetian countess who gave the complex to the Carmelite nuns of Santa Teresa. In the early 20th century, the nuns ran a children’s hospital here, and the church was the private chapel for the convent.
The nuns are still there today and Mass is celebrated daily at 6:30 in the morning according to the Patriarch of Venice website. I've never found it open and going to Mass might be the only way to visit it. The church was behind scaffolding a few years ago – not sure if the restoration is completed yet or not.
This Google Earth view shows the cloisters, gardens, and so many trees.
The National Gallery of Art has a treasure trove of Venetian art - an amazing collection. The gang's all here - the Vivarinis and the Bellinis, Cima, Veronese, Lotto, three paintings by Giorgione (!) and a whole room of Titians. Here are a few things that caught my eye during my visit last month.
Paolo Veneziano, The Coronation of the Virgin, 1324
Both of these Carpaccios are so beautiful. While I love his epic series in Venice, these smaller and quieter paintings are so lovely.
Vittore Capaccio, The Flight into Egypt, 1515
Vittore Carpaccio, The Virgin Reading, 1505
This Tintoretto below is very interesting, not as dark and stormy with a much lighter palette than most of his works.
Jacopo Tintoretto, The Madonna of the Stars, second half of the 16th century
After I visited the National Gallery, I walked across the mall to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. Those of you who have visited the Guggenheim Museum in Venice and seen "The Angel of the City" on the terrace will understand why this sculpture by the same artist caught my eye. It's very similar but something is missing...
Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1952-53
I went to Washington DC for a few days last month; it was a work trip, but I did have enough free time to visit the National Gallery of Art to see Titian's painting, Danaë, which is on a six-month loan from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.
I was excited to visit a Titian I'd never seen before, and the museum helped build the anticipation during the long walk to see the painting.
And here it is. What a gorgeous painting. You can get a better look at it on the Web Galley of Art.
Titian was commissioned to paint Danaë by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the grandson of Pope Paul III. Titian began the painting in Venice and then completed it during his trip to Rome in 1545-46. The brochure from the National Gallery of Art says, "Titian established a new genre in Western art, that of erotic mythologies..." and notes that there wasn't much demand for such paintings in his hometown of Venice and so Titian painted these beauties for non-Venetian patrons like Cardinal Farnese.
Giovanni della Casa, the papal legate to Venice, visited Titian's studio when the Danaë was in progress and wrote a letter to Cardinal Farnese telling him that the painting was so shocking that it made the Venus of Urbino "look like a nun by comparison." A funny exaggeration! Eight years prior to painting Danaë, Titian had painted the equally gorgeous Venus of Urbino for another non-Venetian patron (this painting is now in the Uffizi in Florence).
Another great story about Danaë comes to us from Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists. When Titian went to Rome, he was given studio space in the Vatican and continued his work on Danaë. One day Michelangelo visited Titian's studio and saw the painting. He praised it lavishly but later confided to Vasari that while the colors were masterful, it's a shame that Venetian artists had never learned how to draw. Ouch! Sounds like some sour grapes to me. But I love knowing that Titian and Michelangelo met.
During World War II, the Nazis looted Danaë and many other works of art. When the war ended, the painting was found hidden in a salt mine in Austria; two years later, it was returned to Italy.
Another post will be coming soon about some of the other Venetian gems I saw in DC.
Here's a couple more pics from the National Galley of Art - these little kids were gathered around Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Ginevra de' Benci, all holding the audio guide headsets up to their ears and listening intently. It bugs me that the arts have been pretty much eliminated from US public schools, so it made me happy to see this.
And I saw this in the National Gallery bookstore - a new book about Venice! I haven't read it yet but it's on my to-read list.
There are several shrines in Venice with inscriptions indicating that the shrines commemorate "Anno Mariano" (a "Marian year" dedicated to Mary).
The first of these years was 1954, declared by Pope Pius XII. An article published in 1953 explains it and says that the Pope asked for people all over the world to visit shrines to Mary during this year. He also wrote a special prayer for her.
I learned via google that hundreds of roadside shrines were built in Ireland during the Anno Mariano 1954.
I'm not sure that all of these Venetian shrines were built in 1954; my guess is that some of them were existing shrines that were renovated to commemorate Anno Mariano. This first one is on Giudecca and has a metal plaque at the bottom that says "Anno Mariano 1954."
A Cannaregio shrine that in addition to "Anno Mariano 1954" says "Regina della Pace, Prega per noi. La Parrocchia di San Giobbe."
Another Cannaregio shrine, this one a little worse for wear, with the same inscripition as the one above indicating that the shrine was built or is maintained by the Parish of San Giobbe.
This one is in Dorsoduro~
Another gorgeous Giudecca shrine, the inscription below this one says "Ricordo Anno Mariano 1954" (in memory of...).
This beautiful shrine on Murano with the Madonna Nikopeia inside has a stone plaque below that says "Anno Mariano 1954."
The second Marian Year was in 1987, decreed by Pope John Paul II. He also wrote a prayer for the Marian year. This Cannaregio shrine honors both of the Marian years. This is the only one I've found that mentions the second year.
Santa Ternita was a parish church in Castello, founded around 1026 and built with funds from the Celsi and Sagredo families (the Sagredo’s enormous 15th century palazzo is nearby). The church was located at Castello 3026 next to the Ponte del Sufragio where an apartment building stands today. The residents of this parish were working class for the most part, many of them employed at the nearby Arsenale. The church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity (an unusual non-human saint).
The church was rebuilt in 1507 and restored several times (in 1569 after a fire in the Arsenale, and again in 1721).
Santa Ternita was deconsecrated and closed in 1810, and the church building was used for timber storage until 1832 when it was demolished. The campanile survived a while longer than the church; it was cut in half and converted into private homes. But the tower collapsed on December 13, 1880, burying a resident named Giovanni Baratelli who was pulled from the rubble unharmed.
This 1847 drawing shows the campo after the church had been demolished but before the campanile was cut in half~
Several Santa Ternita priests have entered the history books for dubious behavior. One of them was banished from Venice in 1607 because he was part of the gang that attempted to assassinate Fra Paulo Sarpi.
Another priest entered the public record in 1617 when it was discovered that he was sending love letters, poetry, and gifts to a nun at San Sepolcro and to two other nuns at San Daniele (both nearby convents).
And then there’s the wild story of Santa Ternita priest Francesco Vincenzi who, along with a young Venetian woman, Antonia Pesenti, was brought before the Inquisition in 1668 for religious fraud that involved a “miraculous” painting of the Virgin Mary in the church. Antonia would go into ecstatic religious trance before this painting, and the priest was spreading the word around Venice that she was a “living saint” (crowds began coming to Santa Ternita for the spectacle and in hopes of receiving a miracle). It’s a complicated story told in the book, Aspiring Saints: Pretense of Holiness, Inquisition, and Gender in the Republic of Venice, 1618-1750 by Anne Jacobson Schutte.
As I wrote in my post about Campo Do Pozzi, the church of Santa Ternita is honored in that campo with a carving on the remaining well-head. For some quirky reason, other Castello churches are commemorated on the Campo Santa Ternita well-head with reliefs of St. Francis of Assisi and John the Baptist (the reliefs are so degraded that it’s hard to tell which saint is which, but my guess is that John the Baptist is the first one). Both of these churches still stand – San Francesco della Vigna (which is now the parish church for the residents of Santa Ternita) and San Giovanni in Bragora.
The church of Santa Ternita had paintings by Palma il Giovane, Giambattista Tiepolo, and maybe even Vittore Carpaccio (I haven’t been able to find out which painting and where it is now). Some of the church’s art was moved to San Francesco della Vigna after Santa Ternita was supressed.
The church also had a couple of famous relics. One was Venetian saint San Gerardo Sagredo, a Benedictine monk who was martyred in Hungary in 1047. There was a chapel dedicated to him which contained a painting of the saint by Girolamo da Santacroce. There’s a modern church dedicated to San Gerardo Sagredo in Giudecca (maybe the relics are there now).
The other relic was even more famous. In the 13th century, Santa Ternita received the body of St. Anthanasius (he was first stolen from Egypt and taken to Constantinople, then the Venetians brought him to Venice).
This saint was the 4th century Bishop of Alexandria who participated in the Council of Nicea where the Nicene Creed was developed. He helped to decide which religious texts should become “official” books of The Bible and which should not (the 27 books he proposed ended up being the New Testament). His relics are now in the church of San Zaccaria.
A cool building in this campo (hard to tell what those old traces indicate, bigger windows perhaps?)~
The campanile of San Francesco della Vigna is visible from Camp Santa Ternita~
Another nice thing in this campo: a modern lunette with a 14th century relief of the Madonna and child inside~
A 1905 drawing of the campo~
You can read about other demolished churches here.
I know I'm not the only one who keeps a "next time I'm in Venice" list. Whenever I read about something that I want to seek out, I jot it down. A few years ago, I was reading John Freely's "Strolling Through Venice" (a walking tour guide) and read this:
"On the façade of the house on the corner to the right there is a statuette of the Madonna, who is holding the Christ Child and trampling on Satan."
This immediately went on my list! But when I found it, I discovered that the statue is surrounded by plexiglass, hard to see and virtually impossible to photograph.
I took so many photos of this statue, from every angle, trying to find some way though the plexiglass shield. Not much luck!
This was the best I could do, right underneath looking up.
Later on, I learned from my UK blog friend, Bert, that some people call this statue "Sputnik" since the covering resembles some kind of bizarro space craft. A shrine with a nickname...I love it.
Here's the good news. I found a pre-plexiglass photo to scan in!
There's also a photo of the statue on Victorian Web.
It's a unique image of Satan for sure - part cherub, part baby devil (with horns). Because it's painted wood, the statue needs the plexiglass to protect it, but it's a shame that it makes it so difficult to see. I love the little blue stars painted inside the canopy.
There's a local story/legend that this statue was discovered when the canal was drained in the 19th century (whenever you see "Rio Tera" in a street name in Venice, it means that the street/calle is a former canal that was filled in).
If the statue was found in the canal, it might have been the figurehead of a boat. You can find this charming Madonna at San Polo 2614 A (not that far from the Frari).
"I know, it's only rock and roll..."
This summer is the 25th anniversary of Pink Floyd's infamous concert in Venice. This show was one of the stops on Pink Floyd's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour" - so apropos! Whoever decided that Venice could handle such an event definitely had a lapse of some sort. :)
Pretty much everyone agrees that it was a disaster.
From the Piazza San Marco website:
On the evening of 15 July 1989 on the Feast of the Redeemer, the historic English rock band Pink Floyd held a concert in the basin of San Marco in front of the Palazzo Ducale on a floating stage 24 meters high and towed by a barge 90 meters to 30. Venice was invaded by more than two hundred thousand people, a lot of people that shook the city demonstrating its inability to support events of this magnitude. Lacked all essential services (security, hygiene, first aid) and most of the bars and public places in the face of this invasion had closed its doors after learning that the police were not able to provide security. So the city was covered with excrement and tons of waste. The streets and squares transformed into open-air baths and the Piazza San Marco in a big dump. The controversy in the aftermath of the concert and the use of the city for events of this type were hot both locally and nationally...
Here's what David Gilmour of Pink Floyd said~
"We had a really good time, but the city authorities who had agreed to provide the services of security, toilets, food, completely reneged on everything they were supposed to do, and then tried to blame all the subsequent problems on us."
The stage looked very cool out in the lagoon~
Here's a video that shows the mountain of garbage left behind.
What an interesting use for a former church! A night of wonders...
While it's pretty certain that Venice will never host a concert like this again, this one won't be forgotten. In 2010, I saw this poster below. Hard Rock Cafe Venezia was sponsoring another walk down memory lane about the Pink Floyd concert.
Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.
August 6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration and for centuries, this was the day that the beautiful Pala d'Argento was unveiled in the church of San Salvador. This Gothic altar screen spends most of the year hidden behind Titian's painting of The Transfiguration on the high altar of the church (though since la pala's recent restoration, I think the church has been showing it on other high holy days too).
You can see the gorgeous restored Pala d'Argento in this 2011 YouTube video.
Speaking of art in San Salvador, its two Titians receive most of the attention, but there's another masterpiece with a fascinating story inside this church. It’s such a cool thing when an art history mystery is solved.
Supper at Emmaus was believed to be the work of the great Giovanni Bellini for many centuries up until about 100 years ago. Lorenzetti (whose Venice and its Lagoon was published in the early 20th century) attributes the painting to Bellini and praises it, saying that it’s “remarkable for its luminous colour and the loftiness of its conception.”
Somewhere along the way in the 20th century, art historians decided that it wasn’t painted by Bellini but was perhaps from his workshop. Hugh Honour (Companion Guide to Venice, 1965) says of the art in the church of San Salvador: “There are three outstanding pictures in the church. In the nave there is a "Supper at Emmaus" painted in clear bright colors and flooded with Venetian light…it has been attributed to Giovanni Bellini, though most authorities now assign it to a follower.”
Then during a 1998 restoration by Save Venice, a date (1513) and an inscription were discovered that helped to prove that it was actually painted by Vittore Carpaccio. The fact that there’s a Turk wearing a turban helped to solve the mystery too. The full story is here (The Rediscovery of Carpaccio’s “Supper at Emmaus”, Dated 1513, in the Church of San Salvador).
That little bird in the foreground sure looks like something Carpaccio would paint.
The drawing above is by Frank Lloyd Wright and shows his proposed building in Venice (which ended up being "too modern" for some people and was never built).
The architect worked on this design from 1951-53. The building was intended to be student housing for the university of Ca' Foscari and would be a memorial to young Venetian architect Angelo Masieri. Masieri's parents owned the triangular piece of land close to the university (and next to Palazzo Balbi) where the dorm would have been built.
The design was a modern palazzo with a façade that would have included Murano glass. Frank Lloyd Wright said,
"Venice does not float upon the water, but rests upon the silt at the bottom of the sea. In the little building that I have designed slender marble shafts, firmly fixed upon concrete piles (two to each) in the silt, rise from the water as do reeds or rice or any water plants. These marble piers carry the floor construction securely - the cantilever slab floors thus made safe to project between them into balconies overhanging the water - Venetian as Venetian can be. Not imitation but interpretation of Venice. "
While the project had some supporters, many Venetians were opposed. Angelo Masieri's father passed away during the negotiations and the project died shortly thereafter too.
There is some modern architecture in Venice but much of it was designed to look old, not modern.
Another scrapped modern building: Pierre Cardin's tower.
Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.
This week's PhotoHunt theme is "Nails," so I decided to share this 2011 post about the "Chapel of the Holy Nail" in Venice. Happy Photohunting and have a nice weekend.
The Capella del Santo Chiodo (Chapel of the Holy Nail) in the church of San Pantalon is such a wonderful little place. Admission to the church itself is free, but they ask for a one euro donation to visit this chapel. It's well worth it not just to see the altar that housed one of Venice’s most revered relics but also because of the amazing treasure trove of early Venetian art that’s tucked away back there.
Let’s start with the relic, the holy nail, which began its Venetian journey in the now demolished church and convent of Santa Chiara (it was in the sestiere of Santa Croce where the Piazzale Roma police station is now). How the Franciscan nuns of Santa Chiara came into possession of this relic is another charming Venetian story.
In 1270, a pilgrim visited Santa Chiara and gave the nuns a box and a ring, instructing them to keep the box safe without opening it, and to only give the box to someone who came along with an identical ring. Three hundred years passed, no one came, and I guess the nuns couldn’t take the suspense anymore and decided to open the box where they found a sacred nail used in the Crucifixion. A letter in the box revealed that the pilgrim who had brought the holy nail to the nuns was St. Louis IX, King of France, who had gotten the nail from Sant’ Elena (who had traveled to the Holy Land and found the True Cross). None of the dates in this story add up, by the way, but no worries, it’s still a great story. All that matters is that Venice ended up with an incredible relic.
When Santa Chiara was demolished, the sacred nail and its Gothic altar were moved to the church of San Pantalon. The altar is fantastic especially the little niche housing an exquisite early 14th century carving of the Deposition scene (top photo, you can click to see it larger).
I couldn’t see the holy nail and thought that perhaps it was only revealed on Holy Days, but then my UK blog friend, Andrew, told me that when he visited San Pantalon and asked to see the nail, someone told him that it had been stolen!
On an adjacent wall is a glorious painting, Coronation of the Virgin (1444) by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d'Alemagna (brothers-in-law who were both part of the Vivarini workshop and often painted collaboratively). This painting was commissioned for San Pantalon’s high altar where it hung for a couple of centuries. I guess than in the 17th century when the church was rebuilt and “went for Baroque,” they moved it since it’s small and would be lost in the huge and imposing altar that’s there now. Fine with me, it’s much easier to see in this little chapel. This painting was restored by Save Venice in 1996 and it looks wonderful.
And then on the opposite wall are three paintings by Paolo Veneziano. In the middle is the lovely and haunting Madonna of the Poppy (1325). I love her!
A few more photos from the chapel are below the jump (click “continue reading”).