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Swiss Exhibit, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Swiss Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

The Swiss pavilion won the Golden Lion national pavilion award for presenting “a compelling exhibition which was enjoyable while tackling the critical issues of scale in domestic space.”

The concept of the exhibition was to expose the ubiquitous white intteriors and familiar bland fixtures of contemporary architecture by playing with issues of scale.

The curators’ statement:

“The interior of housing is the most familiar of architectures. Perhaps for this reason, it is also a kind of terra incognita. Photographs of unfurnished flat interiors have only recently become commonplace in architectural media. If the increased prominence of unfurnished flat photographs seems strange, it is precisely because the performance of housing’s interior surface has historically been predicated on the ‘suppression’ of its image. By foregrounding the appearance of the architectural enclosure, the images imply a challenge to the tradition of the inconspicuous interior and anticipate an alternate architectural sensibility through which to reimagine housing’s interior shell. Svizzera 240 celebrates the promise of the unfurnished image by constructing its theatrical counterpart, the house tour, within the Swiss pavilion. On this tour, the plan’s promise of control over scale, organisation, and function, is undermined by the representational deficiencies of the image in an attempt to highlight the latent plasticity of the world’s most popular habitat.”

San Marco

The Harrowing of Hell Mosaic, Basilica San Marco, Venice

The Harrowing of Hell, Basilica San Marco, Venice
Click through to Flickr and expand for a larger view.

This mosaic is one of four on the upper level of the basilica of San Marco (behind the loggia where the horses reside) flanking the main door to the plaza. From left to right facing the basilica, they depict the Deposition (entombment), the Harrowing, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Christ.

The harrowing of Hell, also called the Descent into Limbo and the Anastasis, among other variants, took place between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Then Christ is said to have descended into the realm of the dead to reclaim the righteous and carry them to heaven.

By the early seventeenth century the original mosaics from the thirteenth century had badly deteriorated—the only remaining original mosaic is the one above the left portal, depicting the arrival of St. Mark’s body—and replacements were commissioned and executed in 1617-1618. The mosaic work was done by Luigi Gaetano based on cartoons by Maffeo Verona. The mosaics are made up of tesserae—small pieces of colored glass, stone,and enamel set in plaster.

The inscription appears to read “Ovis Fractis Portis Spoliat Me Campio Fortis” but I think the first letter is probably a Q and the V represents a U, as was formerly common. Then the Latin could be translated as something like “He who breaks down doors and carries me off is the mighty one.”

Location of the Harrowing of Hell mosaic on the Basilica San Marco facade.

Palazzo Trevisan, Murano, Venice

Palazzo Trevisan, Murano, Venice

The crumbling Palazzo Trevisan is located on Fondamenta Andrea Navagero, opposite the Museum of Glass, in Murano. Overlook the neglect of its facade–which was once covered with frescoes by Prospero Bresciano–to appreciate what Richard Goy, in Venice: An Architectural Guide, calls “the most remarkable Renaissance palace on Murano.”

The palazzo was built from 1555–58 from a design by the humanist Daniele Barbaro, a patron of Palladio, who certainly inspired and might have participated in it. The lower two rows of windows look out from the ground floor. The piano nobile above features a stonework balcony in front of a large central window with a pediment cap (a Renaissance innovation). At top is a low attic signaled by small square windows.

The interior was once richly decorated and adorned with large paintings by Veronese and others, and the rear of the building opened onto a large garden. Little remains of this former grandeur.

San Giorgio and the Giudecca from Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice

San Giorgio and the Giudecca from Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice

The cupola of the Redentore is visible beyond San Giorgio Maggiore. The modest-looking piers in the foreground are used by the Marco Polo Boat Club.

GPS: 45.433732, 12.345992

Punta della Dogana, Venice

Punta della Dogana at the Meeting of the Grand and Giudecca Canals, Venice

The Punta della Dogana at the meeting of the Grand and Giudecca Canals.

The Punta della Dogana is the pointy tip of the Dorsaduro where the Grand and Giudecca Canals meet. It is named for the dogana (Dogana di Mare), or customs house that operated here at least from the fourteenth century until well into the twentieth. The present dogana was constructed in 1682, not long after the neighboring Santa Maria della Salute (Saint Mary of Health), which was built in thanks for the passing of the plague in 1630.

Most visitors today, coming from the Santa Lucia train station, or the Piazzale Roma parking area, or the Marco Polo airport, enter the city from the rear. Until the mid-nineteenth century, when the first rail connection was built across the lagoon, the face of the city was on the opposite side, at San Marco. This was signaled to approaching vessels by the columns of San Marco and San Teodoro (more about them later). The Dogana lay directly across the Grand Canal, and as Venice was an empire built on trade it must have been a lively place indeed.

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A Section of the Grand Canal in the Dorsaduro Sestiero of Venice

A Section of the Grand Canal in the Dorsaduro Sestiero of Venice

The stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal between the Rialto Bridge and the Bacino includes some of the city’s finest buildings. Owners of these buildings invested great effort and funds into creating impressive facades facing the Canal.

The five buildings shown here — with the dome of the church of Santa Maria de la Salute and a tiny slice of the former Abbazia di San Gregorio in the background — are, left to right, Palazzo Genovese, Palazo Benzon, Palazzo Salviati, Palazzo Barbaro, and Palazzo Dario.

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Bridge of Sighs, Venice

Bridge of Sighs

Upon entry into the great city of Venice, every camera-toting visitor is required to sign a document committing them to taking a photo of the Bridge of Sigh (Ponte dei Sospiri). This is my entry from our latest visit.
P7081340.

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