Header image by Natalie Rapoport. Antoni Gaudi. Sagrada Familia. Barcelona.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Venetian windows

Venice is incredibly photogenic and picture perfect from any angle, on every corner and every step at any season. It’s a given and anyone who ever has been there at least once couldn’t agree more.
Since XVII century Venice became a key destination for young nobles in their European Grand Tour , especially for English gentlemen it was almost a must to crown an educational journey with a prolonged stay in Venice. And they brought home a lot of knowledge: glittering and grim, profound and superficial, reflecting on splendor and dark secrets, with larger than life experience and confident they had seen it all. Unforgettable memories.
Throughout centuries deeply thoughtful and curious travellers left sketches in letters, diary notes, vivid memoirs full of action and rear moments. Those threads of the past and brilliant notions weaved over time a beautiful tapestry of Venetian history.
And though Venetians themselves a known, like no one others, for documenting each and every tiny bit of their political and material existence from the very beginning in VIII century, kept and preserved in tons of paper in archives. All that is more of burocratic facts interesting for researchers to reconstruct the story line how Venice came to life and sustained it’s power and survived decline. But it would shed little light on how they lived and what makes the essence of Venice, it’s soul, it’s glory,  it’s heart.

Wit and talented travellers, often succumbed to Venice’s charms, left wonderful mosaic evidence, their views on series of events with fairy tales and cruelty, legends, anecdotes, art and architecture.

This is where P.Ackroyd’s book about Venice sprinkled with meaningful and bright quotes and full of astonishing facts comes handy.
In the city where solid ground surface is a luxury and a rarity, streets are extremely narrow and elaborately intertwined in the narrowest alleys and passages. Only wealthy houses could have hidden inner courtyards to escape secluded domestic life. And of course magnificent palazzo like Ca Rezzonico had grand courtyards and even gardens. 

But  for common venetians balconies where a walking luxury, a way to reach out, to see the beloved city, hear the neighbors, find the news, eavesdropping for secrets, catch the gossip, feel the pulse of a daily life and poke a nose into privacy of the nearest fellow citizens, quite often in arms reach. As much as public life was bound and webbed with secrecy, the private life of venetians was very much deprived of privacy.

The cobble stone alleys, golden-ochre walls, green shutters were behind this jasper bib necklace, here
Venetian unique arched windows and lacey masonry of balconies deserve poetic ode to praise their beauty and crumbled charm. They are simply fascinating. It’s like looking Venice in her beautiful, mysterious eyes.  Glass clad tall windows of palazzo, shimmering, thick and hardly transparent , often open in the night  to show off splendor of the interior with frescoed ceilings and opulent venetian chandeliers.
The color palette of the walls inspired me  to make this colorful glass necklace, here.
Or wide open in the summer heat the dwellings windows with flower boxes and crumbling, peeling shutters . Those facing canals have bright awnings: blue, green, striped, to smooth a bit sun’s harshness and almost unbearable brightness and shiness of waters splashing and sparkling at your feet. But who would complain?
                                    The grandeur of Palazzo Rezzonico

How I love this antique glass shimmering with rainbow sunset colors .
Another pendant inspired by arched windows, here.

It’s so easy to believe that in old times the hardest crime in Venice was to betray Venice in some way (not even a slightest remark or critique) and it was the harshest punishment not to be executed but to be expelled from the city forever. Nothing at all could be harder for a venetian than not ever to be there to see this glorious beauty again...

Have a lovely weekend. See you soon.

*All images © Natalie Rapoport