Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Letter from Venice (16) 18-10-16

The Scuola San Rocco has to be seen to be believed. Two floors of massive rooosm the size of concert halls covered in carved and gilded wood on the walls and the ceilings with gleaming carved grotesques on choir stalls all down the walls. Amidst this, in three rooms, is a perfect record of the development of Jacopo Tintoretto, one of the six Venetian greats. You start with a whole room given to his sensational ‘Crucifixion’, a painting ‘beyond all analysis and above all praise,’ according to John Ruskin. My guidebook tells me there is so much going on it is like a novel rather than short story. From here to the other two grand rooms, decorated on walls and ceiling with around forty of his works. On entering downstairs, I know I will be carrying a heavy mirror with me to see the ceiling paintings and so ask if I can deposit my slightly heavy shoulder bag. The answer is no, so I am not surprised, in the upper room, when one of the custodians approaches me and tells me off angrily because the bag I put down could be a bomb for all he knows. Strangely, an Italian woman appears from nowhere and starts to defend me. I tell the fellow that I asked downstairs and that, in a building this size they should have a depository (gardaroba) for bags. He misunderstands and thinks I’m talking about the contents of my bag and, then, the penny drops and he becomes, in an instant, utterly apologetic. It’s all rather baffling. I carry on viewing while he goes off hunting backpacks and returning them to others.

I visit the tiny Greek Cross shaped church of San Giacomo di Rialto which was founded in 421 on the same day as the official birth of Venice itself. Later in the afternoon I cross the Rialto Bridge and stand on the southern side, the only part not bristling with scaffolding and swathed in white plastic sheeting for ‘restauro’. On the Riva del Vin to my right there is a sign saying – “No Mafia, Venezia รจ sacra.” The sun is directly in the south and lays a dazzling and flickering carpet of gold on the water in my direction. Gondole, motoscafi and vaporetti, ply their trade, the latter, from above, especially the large number 1 and 2, under their flat metal canopies, looking like moving boat station shelters that have come adrift or, perhaps, as if they are roofed with the flat sponge fingers used in British trifles. I head down from the bridge to the nearby Goldoni Theatre to check if it is going to be alright to show my ticket here on Thursday on a device as opposed to having to print it.

No comments :

Post a Comment