Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day three in Venice: Get your art on at the Accademia and with Peggy Guggenheim.

Thursday was cloudy and cold. After lunch it poured the rest of the afternoon. It was still an incredible day.

I walked over to the Accademia home to the largest collection of Venetian Renaissance art. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Giovanni Bellini and Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) are some of the artists featured. The museum provides info sheets on all the works in English and Italian, which is great. I love reading the back stories (usually filled with much drama) about how these works came to be.

We saw restorers working on Titian’s “Pieta”. He was almost 90 when he finished it. It’s a really dark work reflecting the times. The plague was at its height killing his son and his assistant. He died heartbroken shortly after finishing the painting.

From the 1500’s I jumped in the 1900’s at the Villa of Mrs. Guggenheim. Met a very friendly intern from UCLA interning in Venice for three months. Peggy’s dad died on the Titanic (putting his mistress on a row boat, while he went down with the ship) leaving her an inheritance. Her wing of the family was not as wealthy as her uncle’s, Solomon Guggenheim, who built the famous museum in New York. Peggy was, I guess you can say a “free spirit”. She had several marriages and many lovers. She starting buying “modern art” early and really championed artists. She supported Jackson Pollack for two years in exchange for some art. Supposedly she never paid more than 10 thousand dollars for a work and usually spent less than 1,000. Her collection is worth over 350 million today.

Her villa is right on the Grand Canal. To stand in her bedroom with that view surround by art is pretty surreal. Today the names in her collection, Picassco, Pollack, Ernst, Chagall, Duchamp are pretty well known. Her grave is in the back garden, next to her dogs’. She also supported writers, composers, actors etc.

My parents will be happy to know I stepped foot into a church and the building is still standing. I went to the La Salute church (Santa Maria della Salute. Our lady of health). The church was built to honor the Saint Mary for helping Venice survive the Plague (1 out of 3 residents died, less than other cities). The large church is on the Canal. Outside seems imposing but the interior is relatively simple and just beautiful. A mass started while I was there.

I had lunch at San Trovaso. Good food and reasonable prices, for Venice anyway. The flirty waiter gave me a special glass of wine “for a special woman” haha. The rigatoni all’amatriciana was excellent.

My last stop for art was the Friar Church built by the Franciscan order. Stunning church with some incredible works of art. The tomb of Titian (Titiano Ferdinandus) is here.

The lions are original to the house which was started in 1748. Only the ground floor was built at first because of the family across the canal didn't want to be upstage. Peggy bought the house 200 years later and fixed it up.

Candles at Santa Maria della Salute.

Stain glass at the Frari church.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

"My parents will be happy to know I stepped foot into a church and the building is still standing."

Hah! Great photos, especially the candles :)

erin said...

sounds like a great time! We didn't make it to many museums last time - but just wandered around. I can't wait to go back now that I've studied up more on the city!

Anonymous said...

tracey k/OH: that all sounds quite wonderful - you would make a great tour guide! (LOL!) The pix are beautiful - I love the church photos & how sad a story about Titan dying heartbroken like that. I didn't know all that about the Guggenheim history. Art collection worth 350 mil blows me away. Thanks for sharing, tour guide! :-D

Liz Dwyer said...

So fascinating that PG didn't spend a mint on art but just focused on what was beautiful. That's the way to do it instead of looking at art as an investment like some do these days.

Gosh, I wish I could sponsor a few artists! :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sognatrice - Grazie mille.

erin - It is such an incredible city.

tracey k - You're welcome. I want to read Peggy biography now.

liz - I know what you mean. Shoot, I wish I could sponsor myself.

Jen said...

My dad was an art historian, and when we all went to Venice in 1966 (yeah, really, 1966 - I was 6) they went on a docent led tour of Peggy Guggenheim's house. What the docent didn't realize is that Ms. Gugenheim was home at the time (she was supposed to be off traveling) and the group, and she, were very surprised to run into each other in some part of the house that was supposed to be off limits. Apparently, quite a scene ensued. It sounds like your visit there was lovely and much more tranquil.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - that is a great story. Did she offer your group some cocktails?

Texas Espresso said...

I loved the Guggenheim. I thought it was a very "friendly" comfortable museum. I am glad you had a good time in Venice - too bad about the flooding though.

You made me laugh about the church! HA

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

texas espresso - yes I agree with you...it's a very user friendly museum. The flood waters only last until the tide goes back out. It was a trip to see Piazza San Marco that morning.

tangobaby said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. I was in Venice in October and I still pine for it. I loved loved loved the Guggenheim. It was so intimate and accessible. Thank you for posting your pictures. It prolongs my daydreaming.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tango baby - grazie mille and thank you for stopping by my blog.