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July 2014 Archives

July 14, 2014

Corte de Ca' Sarasina revisited

More and more vintage photographs of Venice have been scanned in and made their way onto the web; I love looking at them.

I was excited to find this one which shows this Castello shrine and the Venetians in the neighborhood over a hundred years ago.

Click on the photo to see it larger, so you can see the smiling faces and all the laundry!

Castello 1194

This is one of the most fantastic shrines in Venice - more of a small chapel than a shrine and so well-cared for and loved. This shrine has been in this corte since the 17th century at least.

The Ca' Sarasina shrine even has a YouTube video complete with Mozart! And more laundry!

More photos are in my previous posts about this shrine:

My first post

My second post

There's another nice image of the Madonna in this corte - this one is more modern than the Byzantine icon inside the shrine.

Castello 1220

Castello 1220

July 19, 2014

Capella del Santo Chiodo

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.

San Pantalon

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!

San Pantalon

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.

San Pantalon

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”).

San Pantalon

Continue reading "Capella del Santo Chiodo" »

July 26, 2014

PhotoHunt: Modern Architecture


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.

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