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November 2011 Archives

November 1, 2011

San Rocco

San Rocco

I’ve visited this church many times but until last November, every visit was more-or-less a blur because I visited the Scuola next door first and was in a complete Tintoretto overload haze. So last year, I went to the church first and it finally made an impression on me, a good one. There are some fine paintings in here, by Tintoretto and others, and it’s a nice space.

About the saint, San Rocco (or St. Roch) is another one of the plague saints. He was a French holy man who gained fame as a healer as the Black Death spread across Europe. He’s often pictured in the woods with an angel and his faithful dog companion, a nice image; he’s a lovable saint all around. He died in Montpellier in 1377, and his relics became revered by all those seeking protection and healing from the plague.

So in typical Venetian fashion, a couple of monks went to France in 1484 and stole San Rocco’s body and brought it back to Venice. Because of the possession of the relics of the saint, the confraternity that built the church and the Scuola became very wealthy as plague-fearing people made donations. And then they came into possession of another attraction, a painting with healing powers.

San Rocco

San Rocco

The painting is the Cristo Portacroce or Christ Carrying the Cross by Giorgione (maybe). As stories about its healing powers spread, visitors and donations increased, leading eventually to the decoration of the Scuola with 61 paintings by Tintoretto and its status of one of the six Scuola Grande in Venice.

Renaissance art critic Giorgio Vasari was very matter-of-fact about the miracle-working painting:

“Giorgione did a painting showing Christ carrying the cross for the church of San Rocco, and which now, because of great devotion that is paid to it, works miracles, as anyone can see for himself. “

This painting is now in the Scuola, not the church, and is usually attributed to Titian (though the Scuola’s website says it’s by Giorgione). A grateful recipient of a miracle had a votive copy of the painting carved in marble; this relief can be seen in the church next to the high altar.

Many of the paintings by Tintoretto in this church are scenes from the life of San Rocco, though there are a few other subjects too including this nice Annunciation below. The church also has a couple of paintings by Sebastiano Ricci and one by Pordenone.

San Rocco

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November 4, 2011

PhotoHunt: Light

This week's theme is "Light."

Another post from my recent trip to New Orleans. The name of this sculpture is "Travelin' Light."

Sculpture Garden

From the sign:

"This sculpture, by nationally renowned African American artist, Alison Saar, is a thought-provoking memorial to victims of terror and violence. The man, while formally dressed, is presented in a torturous position: yet he appears brave and resolute, preserving his personal dignity. Saar has made the figure into a bell, inspired by Japanese temple bells, which are rung in purification rites. When the chain is pulled on the back, a deep, mournful sound is heard. The title, Travelin' Light, is taken from a popular Billie Holiday song."

If you're planning to visit New Orleans, please make time to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art and especially The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. An incredible collection of art in a gorgeous outdoor setting. A few more photos of this sculpture are below the jump.

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


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November 8, 2011

San Marcuola shrine

Cannaregio 1965

Shrines with mosaics inside of them aren't that common, but there are a few of them around Venice. I posted a few a while back, and here's another one I found last year.

This one's in Cannaregio, and the mosaic is a copy of a sacred image of Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) that can be found in the nearby church of San Marcuola. The owner of the house where the shrine is (on Calle Lombardo) commissioned the mosaic from the Orsoni family in 1970. The Orsoni are well-known mosaic artists who offer classes and also have a B&B in Venice. On one of the Venice episodes of her travel show, Samantha Brown took a mosaic class from them, and it looked like a lot of fun.

I wonder what the little padlock hanging beneath the shrine is for? Another note about this shrine - you can see where a graffiti "artist" wrote "Ciao!" on the base but someone has tried to clean it off. Venice has a graffiti problem, for sure, but it's unusual to see graffiti on a street shrine.

Cannaregio 1965

November 10, 2011

Santa Croce

Santa Croce

Not to be confused with the demolished church that gave its name to the sestiere, Santa Croce; this church with the same name is in Giudecca and is still standing, though it rivals Sant’ Anna for the most crumbling church in Venice.

This church and a Benedictine convent were founded in the 13th century, and the church was rebuilt in 1508-11. After the 19th century suppression, the Santa Croce nuns moved to San Zaccaria, the campanile was demolished, and the religious complex was used as a prison for a while and later as a reform school. Today the church appears to be abandoned, and the former convent is a “casa di lavoro” or half-way house for soon-to-be-free prisoners.

There’s a nice miracle story connected to this place. In 1464, four nuns from this convent died of the plague. One day, a knight visited the convent and asked for a drink of water from their vera da pozzo. He told the nuns to trust God and promised that no more of them would die. They later decided that the mysterious visitor had been San Sebastiano in disguise and that he had blessed the water from their well. No more nuns died during that particular outbreak of the plaque, and 100 years later during the 1576 plague, many people were cured by drinking the miracle-working water from the “pozzo di San Sebastiano” at Santa Croce. I wonder if the vera da pozzo is still there on the grounds of the halfway-house?

The most interesting thing about my visit to this church was how much trouble I had getting there and the cats I found along the way. Getting lost in Venice is a given, but it’s especially funny when you have a map, know where you are and where you’re going, but still can’t figure out how to get there! On the way to this church, I somehow ended up on the other side of a big wall. I could see the church, but it took me a while to figure out how to get to the other side.

Santa Croce

So while wondering around trying to get over the wall, I saw the tell-tale cat condos and soon enough found the resident cats, who were decidedly not happy to see me.



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November 11, 2011

PhotoHunt: Two

This week's theme is "Two."

Happy 11/11/11!

Back to the New Orleans Museum of Art and a few photos from the The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden that fit the "two" theme.

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Museum of Art

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


November 16, 2011

St. Joseph shrines

There are hundreds of shrines dedicated to Mary in Venice (with San Antonio shrines in a distant second place), so it's always interesting to find shrines dedicated to anyone else. I found a couple dedicated to St. Joseph (San Giuseppe in Italian), the earthly father of Jesus who also has one church in Venice dedicated to him (San Giuseppe di Castello or Sant' Iseppo in Venetian).

This first shrine is in Castello and has an inscription that translates to "St. Joseph, pray for us." It's interesting that it has the English name "Joseph" on it. The painting inside is a traditional image of a grandfatherly and peaceful Joseph cradling the infant Jesus.

Castello 6450

Castello 6450

This next one is tucked away in a dark calle in sestiere San Marco; Jesus is older and Joseph looks rather wild and woolly! The inscription on the cracked base of this one reads "1939."

San Marco 5096

San Marco 5096

And thank you so much to Bert for sending this lovely photo to complete my St. Joseph collection! Bert takes wonderful photos of Venice; you can see his work on Venice Daily Photo.

San Marco

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November 18, 2011

PhotoHunt: Wet

This week's theme is "Wet/Rain."

A fondamenta is the walkway next to a canal in Venice; this one is getting wet because the water is rising and spilling out of the canal. The light was right for some crazy reflections.

canal and reflections

When acqua alta (high water) occurs, you can walk on these temporary high-rise sidewalks (passerelle) to keep your feet from getting wet~

walk this way

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


November 25, 2011

PhotoHunt: Handwritten

This week's theme is "Handwritten."

A handwritten sign welcoming us to "the most beautiful bookshop in the world". A charming place called "Libreria Acqua Alta" in Venice.

Acqua Alta bookstore

Acqua Alta bookstore

Many of the books are piled in boats like this one.~

Acqua Alta bookstore

The name "Acqua Alta" (high water) is apropos since the rear entrance faces a canal; the water was coming inside the day I took this photo. The life preserver is a nice touch!

Acqua Alta bookstore

I love this place not only because I love books and bookstores (and especially funky shops like this one) but also because the owner has 5 cats who are often lounging about. I met some of them when they were kittens, but they are all grown-up now.

I guess that many of these books began in handwritten form, before they were published, but I imagine that's changing in this computer age of ours. Does anyone hand write anything anymore? I do but not that often.

bookstore cat

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Handwritten" »

November 28, 2011

For Yvonne's Collection

Yvonne of Hello World is blogging live from Venice for the next several months. Before she went, she posted some photos of her collection of "pissotte" and now that she's there, she's posting "pissotta of the day" photos. In case you don't know, a pissotta is a triangular block designed to discourage public urination; you can find them in corners all over Venice. It's a hilarious thing to collect, and I'm amazed at how many she has found so far (and the variety!).

So in all the thousands of photos I've taken in Venice, I've only got one photo of a pissotta. This one is nestled next to a church, and has a cross and the symbol of Calvary carved on it. Yvonne, I'll be happy to tell you where to find this one if you don't already have it. :)


This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in November 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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