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May 2010 Archives

May 4, 2010

La Celestia (Cristo Re alla Celestia)


Another Venetian church with a miracle-working Madonna legend, this church is unusual in that it reincarnated after a long period of being closed (it was shut down by the French along with so many others in the early 19th century and then reopened in 1952 in a much smaller form).

The full name of the original church was Santa Maria della Celestia (Assunta in Cielo), dedicated to Mary of Heaven and nicknamed La Celestia. The first church (along with a convent and cloisters) was built in 1119-1239 and was one of many Venetian convents filled with rowdy and sometimes scandalous nuns.

In the 14th century, two noble-born Venetian nuns asked their sea-faring brothers to bring them a miracle-working icon of the Madonna from the East. The icon was supposed to be delivered to the church of SS. Apostoli, but horrible storms whipped up and forced the guys to abandon ship, leaving the icon on board. The unmanned boat ran aground in front of the church of La Celestia, and this was considered to be a miracle and a sign, and so in 1341, the icon was placed over the entrance to La Celestia in a grand ceremony. This is the second Venetian legend that features a Madonna icon driving an unmanned boat – the other one is connected to the church of San Marziale. I’d love to know what happened to the La Celestia icon.

And there's a funny story about the La Celestia nuns. In 1569, their church was virtually destroyed by an explosion in the nearby Arsenale, and they decided to rebuild it in a new modern style inspired by the Pantheon in Rome – round with a dome. Work began and had proceeded quite far and just as the dome was about to be lifted into place, the nuns changed their minds and decided that they wanted a more traditional church with a Latin cross plan. I can imagine the architect and builders saying “arghh!” but it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, right?!


Continue reading "La Celestia (Cristo Re alla Celestia)" »

May 5, 2010

Lost but Found (Sior Antonio Rioba)


The big news from Venice this week is the misfortune that fell upon Sior Antonio Rioba. The head of this iconic Venetian statue was removed and stolen but then recovered. The blog Venice from Beyond the Bridge has a photo of scuba divers searching for the head in the canal in front of the corner where the statue resides, but it was found undamaged in a nearby calle. I trust that head and body will be reunited soon.

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May 7, 2010

PhotoHunt: Mother


This week's theme is "Mother."

A few images of the Holy Mother taken in Venice, Italy.

A mosaic on the facade of Basilica di San Marco~


Street shrine on a pink building~

shrine in Venice

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all.


May 13, 2010

A few shrines

I bet this one is sweet at night when that tiny light is on.

Madonna relief

Beautiful marble shrine


So many pink roses on this one. And it's high enough up on the building that someone had to use a ladder to put those roses there. Love the little tablecloth too.



May 14, 2010

PhotoHunt: Half


This week's theme is "Half."

This is the top half of the bell tower (campanile) of the church of San Pietro di Castello in Venice. A beautiful Renaissance tower that leans a bit, though you can't really tell in this photo.

San Pietro di Castello

This is my 99th PhotoHunt post! I've missed a few weeks here and there, but not that many. I have to say that I really enjoy the Hunt each week. It's fun looking through my archives trying to find something for the week's theme, and it's especially fun seeing what everyone else posts. Thanks so much to TN Chick for hosting and to all my fellow Photo Hunters!

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


May 21, 2010

PhotoHunt: Monthly


This week's theme is "Monthly."

Hardest theme ever! I thought about things I do monthly....at first, paying bills was the only thing I could think of and I don't have any photos of that. I was stumped.

But then I remembered that there are meds that you give to your pets monthly....heartworm pills, flea and tick preventative. And I do have photos of pets.

Here's a girl and her dog. I took this at a benefit dogwalk for a local animal protection group.


And here is Joey, my nine-month old kitten. He likes to hang out in the kitchen sink and watch me cook. He's such a great addition to the family!


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


May 25, 2010

North Carolina Museum of Art

A few photos from the grand re-opening of the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. The museum closed last year so that the permanent collection could be moved to a new building. And what an amazing building it is!

I've always loved this museum - it has a nice collection with several works that I love to visit again and again. But the best part is that it's surrounded by a 164-acre Museum Park with hiking trails and all kinds of cool enormous sculptures. My nephews and I love to hike this art trail. The museum also has an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and movies in the summer. And now, in addition to the new ultra-mod building, there are close to 100 more works of art, both inside and out.

The light inside the new building is incredible.


The new building is surrounded with sculpture gardens and reflecting pools.



During the re-opening weekend, a dance troupe was there peforming both inside and out; it was fun to see.



Stainless steel tree on the hill - I love this.


More to come...

May 26, 2010

Temporary Art


I guess when you look at the really big picture (the one that has a billion-year timeline), all art is fragile and subject to decay, and therefore temporary. But the whole concept of intentionally temporary art is very intriguing to me. My first experience with it was many years ago when I went to a museum to see Tibetan Buddhist monks creating a sand mandala. They spent several weeks meditatively “painting” this huge spiritual circle with colored sand – slowly and carefully – and then when it was finished (and it was so gorgeous!), they destroyed it and moved on. A great Buddhist lesson in non-attachment and impermanence, I guess.

The photo at the top is part of the hiking trail at the NC Museum of Art park and when you walked along this path, you would come to this huge sculpture called “To See Jennie Smile” by Steven Siegel.


Not sure what the name means, but this thing always made me smile. For one, when you’d glimpse it from a distance through the woods, it looked like some kind of enormous beehive. And also, my nephews went wild the first time they saw it – they loved it too. It’s just a very cool sight, and we visited it many times.

The sculpture was made of several tons of newspaper (the Raleigh News and Observer, to be specific, a paper I used to subscribe to before the Internet came along). The boys loved the fact that when you got close, you could still read some text on the paper. Here are the boys checking it out~


Installed in the Museum Park in 2006, the sculpture was intentionally temporary since of course, paper left out in the elements is going to rot. I love the playfulness of putting it in the woods surrounded by trees, since paper comes from trees, and I love the whole concept of giving the wood pulp back to Mother Nature.

Even though I knew it was temporary, I imagined that it would slowly sink and rot away, and I didn’t expect it to be quite so short-lived. But last week, they had to demolish it because it had started to lean and had become too dangerous. The museum posted photos of the demolition on their Flickr site. I’m going to miss it!

Continue reading "Temporary Art" »

May 28, 2010

PhotoHunt: Memorial


This week's theme is "Memorial."

One from Venice and one from North Carolina this week.

This memorial relief says "Ai Caduti di Tutte le Guerre" which translates to "For the Victims of All Wars." There are outdoor sculptures and reliefs all over Venice, but this one is unusual in that it's modern (dated 1964).

memorial in venice

And here in NC - there's something very poignant about these little roadside memorials. My heart goes out to the families who create these shrines. It also reminds me to drive safely.


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend. Happy Memorial Day to those who celebrate it (three-day weekend, woo hoo!).


This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in May 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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