Saturday, 29 May 2010 Fish, Venetian Costumes, and Wagner

“I think that you are most certainly a child of the Baroque.” Exiting The Church of San Moise, Dr. Beall shared with me her professional opinion, with which Dr. Lazar promptly concurred. Thoroughly impressed by the self-described “Baroccian” church, I was in no position to disagree. Dr. Beall’s opinion, however, culminated a day that involved trips to several Venetian churches to accompany an impromptu visit to the chief fish market by the Rialto, along with the Venetian Museum of Costumes in Palazzo Mocenigo.

A Venetian costume on display in a shop window. Photo by dr. Beall-Fofana.

The dazzling array of creatures from the bounty of the sea seemed as colorful and as carefully displayed on fresh ice as any fresco.

Details of fish on sale at the Rialto seafood market. Photo by Dr. Beall-Fofana.

In addition, we enjoyed a short but wobbly traghetto ride across the Grand Canal to the Casino of Venice in Ca’ Vendramin for a visit to the apartment of Richard Wagner, still maintained as it was when he died there.

A traghetto ride across the Grand Canal. Photo by Matthew Brennan.

After returning across the canal, our tour of churches began at San Giacomo dell’Oro, which boasted a unique ships-keel wooden ceiling. We then traveled to San Sebastiano, where much of the interior was undergoing restoration through Save Venice, Inc.

San Sebastiano (by Antonio di Pietro Abbondi from 1505-1548) was undergoing extensive restoration. Photo by Dr. Beall-Fofana.

Scaffolding (A common Venetian sight). Photo by Dr. Beall-Fofana.

Nearly all the surfaces are a testimony to the art of Veronese, who is also buried there, near the intimate sacristy, where I felt surrounded by his paintings. The subject matter, and the effect of being immersed in the work of one artist, reminded me of Tintoretto’s legacy in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The primary difference was the brightness of Veronese in contrast to the darkness of Tintoretto. As I studied Veronese’s brighter alternative, I came to a fuller appreciation for the effect of the darker tones that Tintoretto employed. Departing from San Sebastiano, we traveled to the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as the Gesuati. Unlike almost every other Venetian church that I visited, the Gesuati was the product of a single style combining architecture and decoration: Baroque. This harmony coupled with my affinity for the Baroque (I count Santa Maria della Salute and the Gesuiti among my favorite churches in Venice), so the church instantly appealed to me. We then stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the water, where I tried a pizza topped with bresaola and fresh rucola, which was delicious.

Pizza topped with bresaola and fresh rucola. Photo by Dr. Beall-Fofana.

Our final stop was to the Church of San Moise. While even I found the exterior façade too ornate, the interior did leave a grand impression on me. This led Drs. Beall and Lazar to declare me “a child of the Baroque” without reservation.