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Thursday, May 12, 2011

In search of Canaletto

It is now Wednesday evening. Tomorrow will be our last day here. The weather has been perfect, absolutely perfect, every day. I almost hesitate to write this, but now that there is only one day left, won’t worry so much about jinxing things!
We have started each day fairly leisurely, waking about 7am for coffee and breakfast, reading a bit, sitting on the porch, and leaving home between 9 and 10 am. Last night I did laundry and hung it up outside the kitchen while I was cooking dinner. This morning I took it down while the coffee was brewing. When I am travelling the simplest tasks assume a pleasurable aspect they don’t have at home. I wish I could capture that feeling and bring it back with me. Actually, when I think about it, doing laundry is one of the chores I do actually enjoy at home. I think it is something about the folding and organizing, as though it helps me organize my thoughts and my life. I actually wrote a poem about that a while back, and read it at an event recently in Beverly, organIsed by the local art school. It is an ongoing series of presenting poetry in unexpected places! The first one had been at the swimming pool at the local Y. The one I read at was, naturally, in a Laundromat. It was surprising how many people had poems referring to laundry!

After breakfast today, fresh bread with fig jam, we began with a long walk over to the Biennale grounds, where a famed art exhibition takes place every two years. It is a park, one of the few green places in Venice, and quitelovely. Of course the entire city is so beautiful that one hardly misses the green. Every day I look at over each vista and through each narrow alleyway, and can hardly believe this is real. It looks as much like a painting as an actual place, really a Canneletto painting, despite the small intrusion of antennas and satellite dishes. And, did I mention, tourists?! We sat for a while on marble steps leading down to the canal, the first few dry and white, the lower ones algae coated, and read our books. (Actually, our Kindles.) And watched the comings and goings of people and boats.
You walk through an alleyway, with weathered shutters,and ancient niches with statues, and, yes, Venetian blinds, and laundry hanging, and the end of the alley opens up on a small canal or perhaps the incredible Grand Canal vista.
Yesterday, we went in search of Caneletto, among others, the famed Accademia Art Museum. Went through rooms of medieval guilded Crucifixions and Annunciations and other impressive pieces, but could find no Canelettos. My guidebook had specifically mentioned them, among other famed works by Tintoretto, Bellini, Titian, etc, etc. Saw many amazing works, but could find none of Canelletos remarkable panoramas of the city. I finally asked a guard, who pointed to a smallish painting almost directly in front of us, and said, I was sure I understood him right, this is our only Canelletto. Later, after we’d left the museum, I insisted we go back and look again. We had finally come across two rooms with panoramic views and incredible details, by several painters whose names I didn’t know, Carpaccio, Manueti, and … But still no Canelettos. I asked one more guard, who first thought I was looking for the toilettas. (so much for my attempts at Italian) and then said what the other guard had, that the museum only had one. I later looked online, found one other reference to the museum having multiple, but also several other sources that said that it had only the one, and that there are only four of his total in Venice. Go figure! Many are in England, where he lived for some time, several are at the Louvre, which is probably from where I am familiar with them, and a couple are in Boston, one at the MFA and one at the Fogg.
No problem, though, although I am troubled by the misinformation in my guidebook. Shall I write to them? I am now so enamored of the other paintings I did discover in those two rooms at the Accademia!
Well, time to head out for dinner. We have reservations at a place close to here that was highly recommended by the guidebook. Uh-oh, now that I think of it! We tried to go there several days ago, but it was packed, so we made a areservation for tonight. I asked the host if she could recommend any place else, she said, there are many restaurants in Venice, but none ike this, she hoped! We shall see.

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