Venice Empire Venice Empire

Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins

Allegorical Scene after Dosso Dossi, detail © Vik Muniz (2017). Courtesy of Ben Brown Fine Arts, London

Venice, Palazzo Cini
Campo San Vio, Dorsoduro 864
21 April - 24 July 2017

The Palazzo Cini Gallery
The exhibition season opens with the first ever showing of some Vik Muniz photos inspired by old master paintings

On 21 April 2017 Afterglow:Pictures of Ruins will be unveiled. Vik Muniz's latest project has been specially created for the Palazzo Cini Gallery as a homage to masterpieces in the Cini Collection

The 2017 the exhibition season at the Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio will get underway with a contemporary art show. From 21 April to 24 July, the second-floor rooms will host Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins, an exhibition by the renowned photographer Vik Muniz. A homage to Venice that grew out of discussions with the curator Luca Massimo Barbero, the Director of the Institute of Art History at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the show includes some new photos inspired by great artists in the Cini Collection, such as Francesco Guardi, Dosso Dossi and Canaletto, as well as a very striking glass sculpture.
Thanks to Assicurazioni Generali, the Gallery’s main partner since it reopened in 2014 and for many years an institutional sponsor of the Fondazione Cini, the season of exhibitions open to the public will run until 15 November 2017.

Festa della Salute

Santa Maria della Salute

In 1630 Venice was ravaged by a terrible bout of the bubonic plague which was spreading across Europe. This time it lasted for two years. Forty six thousand people were said to have died from a population of one hundred and forty thousand; nearly a third of the population.

Doge Nicolò Contarini made a public vow to erect a church called The Salute, asking for the Virgin Mary's divine intervention to rid the city of the plague. On October 22, 1630 the Senate decreed that a new church would be built. Eleven architects took part in the competition to design the church which was won by Baldassarre Longhena. His design perfectly captured the grandiosity and magnificence that the Serenissima wanted: a church that exalted the Holy Virgin and the Venetian Republic at the same time.

It took until the 1680s for the church to be completed. To give thanks for deliverance from the plague, the Senate visited the church every year. The 21st November is known as the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin (Festa della Madonna della Salute) and is still celebrated today in the city. 

Every year a pontoon bridge is built across the Grand Canal to connect the San Marco district to the Salute church.

The bridge of boats

One of the 'boats' hold up the votive bridge.
On the morning of the 21st November the Patriarch of Venice leads a procession of the city's officials from Saint Mark's Square over the bridge to the Salute church and the Patriarch gives a service of thanksgiving in the church. 

Venetians entering the church.

Crowds in the church.

The Patriarch's Sermon
Rowers from around the city parade down the Grand Canal to join in the festivities.

Citizens and visitors then visit the church taking candles to light. There are stalls selling the candles in front of the church.

In the streets behind the church are stalls selling frittelle (doughnuts), balloons, sweets and other food. It can be a crush depending on the time of day.  

 Castradina, a mutton stew, is typically eaten on this day.

Old Maps, Expeditions and Explorations

Two lovely blog posts about Venice found on the blog "Old Maps, Expeditions and Explorations" by

The first description of these island people comes in a letter sent in 523 to their tribunes by a legate from the Ostrogoth kingdom then prevailing in northern Italy. Cassiodorus was asking them to transport wine and oil across the waters to Ravenna. “For you live like seabirds,” he wrote, “with your homes dispersed, like the Cyclades, across the surface of the water. The solidity of the earth on which they rest is secured only by osier and wattle; yet you do not hesitate to oppose so frail a bulwark to the wildness of the sea.” He was not quite accurate in his description; there were already some houses constructed from the stone and brick of the mainland. He went on to say that the Veneti “have one great wealth—the fish which suffices for you all. Among you there is no difference between rich and poor; your food is the same, your houses are all alike.” Again, this was not quite true. Extant testimonials suggest that, even at an early stage in the development of the lagoon, there were rich as well as poor families. Cassiodorus then added that “your energies are spent on your salt fields; in them indeed lies your prosperity.” In this, at least, he was right. And he added the significant detail of “your boats—which like horses you keep tied up at the doors of your dwellings.” By good fortune one of these boats has emerged from the mud of the lagoon. Part of a rib of oak, and a hull of lime, have been found on the island of S. Francesco del Deserto; the boat itself dates to the fifth century. It was lying at a level that, in this period, would have been submerged except at times of low tide.

Read more:
Old Maps, Expeditions and Explorations: Venice I
Old Maps, Expeditions and Explorations: Venice II

Dream of Venice Architecture

“With its artfully evocative photography and illuminating, often-poetic, essays, Dream of Venice Architecture pierces the myths and mist of this enchanting city with fresh insights into its myriad sensory pleasures. From exotic buildings whose facades resemble carpets to pirouetting wind vanes that signal the onset of the latest Adriatic weather, Dream of Venice Architecture captures both the magic and the mysteries of this ‘precarious paradise.’”
  Blair Kamin, architecture critic, Chicago Tribune
"More than any other city, Venice embodies a defined urban form, compact fabric and unitary body composed by successive historical transformations."
Mario Botta

"Venice, for me, is a metaphor for unexpected creative possibilities."
Louise Braverman, FAIA

"Venice: the ageless city. How can we take measure of her to a finite time, she who is crystallized by the juxtaposition of styles, of forms, of places, of spaces..."
Enrico Baleri 

"Venice, where everything flows, unpredictable, like nature itself."
Massimiliano Fuksas

Dream of Venice Architecture is the second book in the series on contemporary Venice. 
Dream of Venice Architecture is an intimate journey through the remarkable Venetian urban landscape. A cadre of notable international architects and architectural writers explore the elements that make Venice unique in the world. Dream of Venice Architecture reveals the incredulity of her beauty, from the mysterious sotoporteghi to the complexity of Carlo Scarpa’s "immaculate detailing." 
The book includes architects who have built in Venice (Tadao Ando, Annabelle Selldorf, Mario Botta, Michele De Lucchi, and Valeriano Pastor) as well as Scarpa experts (Robert Mc Carter, Richard Murphy, Anne-Catrin Schultz, and Guido Pietropoli). Representing the 2016 Architecture Biennale, the book includes TAMassociati (curating the Italy pavilion), Cynthia Davidson (co-curating the US Pavilion) and Louise Braverman (exhibiting).
The introduction is by Richard J. Goy, the international authority on Venetian architecture. He bridges the chasm between the original muddy wilderness of the 5th century and the intrigue of the built environment. The evocative photographs are by the award-winning filmmaker and photographer Riccardo De Cal, who shot an image to accompany each essay. A portion of the proceeds from each book will be donated to Foundation Querini Stampalia to support their architectural programming in Venice. 

Where to buy and reviews.

Reopening of the Scuola Grande della Misericordia

Didier Descouens - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Scuola Grande della Misericordia is about to reopen after extensive restoration. The space will be used for exhibitions, private parties, fashion shows and conferences.

As unlikely as it seems, the building was a gym for many years and even a basketball court which hosted Serie A matches. The links to sport will continue in the new life of the Scuola as it will host sports conventions, particularly for the Reyer basketball team as Luigi Brugnaro, Venice's mayor and the funder of the restoration is the patron of the team. There will be a documentary to tell the story of the sporting life of the Misericordia - the best gym in the world.

The first exhibition in the Scuola will be about its own restoration, the preservation of the beautiful Veronese School frescoes which adorn the walls and the architectural structure.

From May, the Scuola will host a collateral event for the Architecture Biennale.

Original article on Venezia Radio TV in Italian.

Website of the Scuola

More articles:
Un gioiello restituito alla cittĂ !
Posted by VeneziaToday on Thursday, 10 March 2016

RESTAURI & POLEMICHE - Ecco la Scuola Grande della Misericordia, il candidato sindaco si toglie qualche sassolino -->
Posted by Il Gazzettino (sito ufficiale) on Friday, 12 June 2015

Priority for Venetian Residents on the Vaporetto

Photo  Clayton Tang - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
From June, at certain vaporetto stops around the city, priority will be given to Venetian residents.  The detail of the scheme has not been announced yet. The mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, made this part of his election manifesto.

In the summer, millions of tourists flock to Venice every day. The influx of so many people can make getting around the city very difficult for its residents and the workers who commute to Venice from the mainland. To overcome this problem, the proposal is to create two separate queues for the vaporettos at the main stops: Piazzale Roma (the bus station), Ferrovia (the train station), Rialto, San Marco (Saint Mark's Square), the Lido and Murano. Priority will then be given to the residents' queue.

The scheme will be an experiment and is intended to start in June. A similar scheme was put in place by the last Mayor at the Rialto vaporetto stop, but didn't last long.

Tutto pronto entro l'estate!
Posted by VeneziaToday on Thursday, 7 April 2016

View original story in Italian on Venezia Today

The Glass of the Architects Exhibition: April to July 2016

Josef Hoffmann, War Glasses, 1914-16, WI 1421, 1423, 1419. MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art. Photo: © Wolfgang Woessner / MAK

A joint project of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung

Venice, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
18th April – 31st July 2016


The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937

A cooperation of the MAK in Vienna and LE STANZE DEL VETRO
curated by Rainald Franz, Glass and Ceramics Collection, MAK, Vienna

With over 300 works, mostly from the collection of the MAK in Vienna, the forthcoming Spring exhibition at LE STANZE DEL VETRO will celebrate the birth of Austrian modern glassmaking in the period between the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the first Republic in Austria

The exhibition will feature glass works by the main protagonists of the Viennese Modernism: Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Leopold Bauer, Otto Prutscher, Oskar Strnad, Oswald Haerdtl and Adolf Loos 
With over 300 works, mostly from the collection of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna and from private collections, the exhibition The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937, curated by Rainald Franz, will run from April 18th to July 31st, 2016 on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice. The exhibition will focus on the birth of the art of modern glassmaking in Austria between 1900 and 1937, a very lively period spanning the years between the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the First Republic. It will be the second exhibition organized by LE STANZE DEL VETRO - after the Glass from Finland in the Bischofberger Collection show - focussing on the international developments of glass in the 20th century. LE STANZE DEL VETRO is a long-term joint initiative of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung devoted to studying the art of glassmaking in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Useful information:
Dates:              18th April – 31st July 2016
Open:               10.00am – 7.00pm, closed on Wednesdays
Venue:             LE STANZE DEL VETRO, Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Address:           Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Ticket office:     Free admission