A recent Daily Telegraph article listed the writer’s choices for the 30 Best Things in Italy. Three of them are in Venice, and two of those three are church-related: Santa Maria dei Miracoli (the church as a whole) and the Bellini altarpiece in the Frari. The third thing is “Venice at midnight.” All great things, for sure, though I’d have a tough time narrowing my Best of Venice list down to only three.
The writer also offers an interesting fantasy game:
“It's an idle game, but one I'm often tempted to play in Italian churches: if you could walk off with one painting, which would it be? It's a tough one, especially in Venice, where you're not exactly short of options.”
Hmm. This IS a tough one. There are a few paintings that I really love but I’d feel horribly guilty about taking, just because they belong in Venice and nowhere else. The Madonna Nicopeia in Basilica di San Marco; Titian’s Assunta in the Frari; any of the Bellini altarpieces…as much as I love these, I’d have to leave them where they are.
I’d probably choose Vincenzo Catena’s Vision of Santa Christina in Santa Maria Mater Domini. Or perhaps Carpaccio’s St. George and the Dragon in San Giorgio Maggiore (since there’s another one of the same subject in San Giorgio degli Schiavoni).
Or Titian’s Annunciation in San Salvador. Or the Negroponte Madonna and Child Enthroned in San Francesco della Vigna. It’s a hard choice!
Anyone else want to play? You don’t have to limit yourself to Venice. What painting in any Italian church would you bring home?