November 3, 2014 – Visiting the Accademia

Today our plan is to visit the Accademia. It is full of early Renaissance and later artwork. Since it is Monday we are hoping that most people will think it is closed since Monday is the traditional day for everything to be closed. The last thing I want is to be enjoying these beautiful pieces of art with hundreds of other people.

As we leave the apartment we notice workers doing a renovation across the canal. What a lot of work! The guy on top lowers a bucket full of debris to the worker at ground level who transfers it into a wheelbarrow. When the wheelbarrow is full he wheels it over to the boat which is parked near by. Then the debris is taken out by bucketful and put into the debris boat. Renovating here must be time consuming and expensive!

Boat being filled with debris from a renovation
Boat being filled with debris from a renovation

The walk to the Accademia is a short one involving only one bridge. Upon arrival we discover very few people in attendance. Yay! We stow John’s knapsack and my purse and start with the early Renaissance paintings. These painting are usually done on gold backgrounds and the figures in them are stylized. There is a lot of information in them though. Just the figure of a saint would have told someone in the 14th century all about them – who they were, what their story was, how they died and what moral they imparted. Here’s one of St. Stephen. He was a Hellenistic Jew who adopted Christianity and fiercely denounced the authorities who were judging him for spreading Christian teachings. His fate was to be stoned to death. He is usually shown with rocks on his head and shoulders and carrying a martyrs frond.
St. Stephen
St. Stephen

Then there are tryptichs full of these figures. Each one can be identified by his clothing and what he is holding. It takes a long time and careful examination of the paintings to do this. That’s why we need the gallery to be uncrowded! We are art hogs!
Annunciation with Saints
Annunciation with Saints

Moving along from the 14th to the 15th century we see styles change as perspective and more lifelike painting occurs. Here is a picture of Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child with Saints painted at the end of the 15th century.
Bellini masterpiece
Bellini masterpiece

At one point a woman came up to me. Do you know Italian she asked. Apparently I am a dead ringer for an American. What’s this word nebbia in the picture of St.Mark’s Square she asked. I don’t know much Italian but I do know nebbia which is fog. She said it looks just like St.Mark’s Square now. We walked outside after our long day at the art gallery and it was indeed nebbia-y.
Foggy view across the Guidecca Canal
Foggy view across the Guidecca Canal

It is past lunchtime so we decide again to make a late lunch our major meal of the day. We find a restaurant and tuck into some salad and pasta.

On our walk back to the apartment the fog clears and a gondola goes sailing by the gondola repair shop. The shop is just down the canal from us.
Gondola repair shop with gondola sailing by
Gondola repair shop with gondola sailing by

Finally one last picture which is kind of iconic of Venice.
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