Friday, 17 June 2011

Venice (The Final Phase)

Day Three
I booked another night in the hostel when I realised that my icky jetlag induced stomach ache had stopped me seeing everything I had planned on. So, next stop was Museo Correr in San Marco Square, for lots of painting  and frescoes arranged to take you through Venice’s history. It was more than a little nationalistic to say the least, but very informative and the art and architecture was amazing. In these museums you don’t know whether to look at the art or the room itself. There were some awesome maps and books, as well as some sweet armour and guns. There was even this one gun that had several barrels around the outside of   central tube. Kinda hard to explain, but basically a machine gun, or a rotating revolver/cannon/rifle thing. It was awesome. They also had lots of statuettes and ceramics and other artsy knickknacks. Museo Archaeologica came next. Some nice pottery and classical statues, mostly things I didn’t recognise but still pretty awesome. There was a room full of Roman busts and I think I spotted a Hadrian-style emperor or two. Two rooms of what was the National Library came next, it was built to house a collection of classical texts bequeathed to the city during the Middle Ages. The part you could visit was not a library anymore, but the decoration was stunning once again.

After lunch, I wandered around looking for Teatro La Fenice, in the hope of getting tickets for the Opera. It took forever and I retraced myself many times, but I found it eventually – no opera on atm. In my search I found a church which was a museum full of old instruments which was pretty cool. The thing in Venice is either to follow the signs (if there are any) or usually to wander aimlessly, because finding anything is impossible with a map. There are too many tiny streets and random turns to use a map.

The afternoon continued with the Galleria Accademia which had more medieval frescoes. Most of it was in the process of being restored, but the frescoes were mindblowing. I got pictures of the best ones here. This was followed by the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which was surprisingly small. Some lovely futurist and surrealist art. There were lots of lame super modern things that I didn’t like that much, but this is the trouble with the modern art museum. I have to say, after staring at a Jackson Pollock for some time, I still don’t understand. It confuses me. I understand that it is expressive art and so forth, and it does have a certain…something to it. But I fail to see if it is purely expressive, why can’t I do my own and hang it on the wall and call it art. Guess its the whole coming up with it first thing again.

The coolest part of the afternoon, cool in that it was totally unexpected, is the bamboo sculpture thingie that I found next door. I was heading further East to find a church I had seen in the maps and from the Sqaure and right next door I see this huge bamboo structure and a line. So I stop to see what there was to see, and it turns out that it was an installation for the Venice Biennale Art competition thing. Its supposed to be a living sculpture that people climb and there a group of people who build it from within. It was quite a remarkable creation, very interesting to try and figure out how they did it from an architectural perspective, anyway the view from the top was amazing. That was about the time that my camera died, so the rest of the evening is pictureless. But there is not much else to tell I suppose, I wandered back to San Marco Square to take in some more of the beautiful music and views and had a mildly early night.

Day Four
Today was meant to end much earlier than it did in Venice. I went to go catch a train, and turns out that getting an early morning train to Florence is not as easy as it seems. Ended up having to get my train at 1pm, which gave me several hours to kill. Decided to make the most out of the Museum Pass I had bought, and took in a whole bunch in quick succession. First up was the Museum of Natural History, which was midly interesting, in that there were some dinosaur bones and early hominid skulls, and some megafaunal skulls. The rest was mostly taxidermied animals and some African bits and bobs. The other cool part was a comparative anatomical collection, which seemed to have a whole bunch of animals split open and preserved so you could look at internal structure and organs. It was….interesting. My conclusion from the museum, New Zealand should totally have a dedicated Natural History Museum, because all the stuffed animals were cool. Next up was the Costume Museum, which I stumbled onto completely by chance. Some more beautiful rooms (of course) and some cool looking 18th century clothing. It was a pretty tiny museum, but the 18th century ceilings really drove home to me how much I prefer the later Venetian painting, its so much more light and naturalistic. You can almost see hints of Impressionism developing. The last stop before I hoped on the train was Ca’ Pesaro which houses the Museum of Modern Art in Venice. Nothing much there that was particualry impressive, some nice impressionist and late 19th century paintings and a Kandinsky. By this point I was quite exhausted so I may not have given it my full attention I’ll be honest. But there was some late 20th century Venetian painting and film, and that was just…odd. Way way too modern for my taste.

The only other thing of note that I can remember about Venice at the moment, despite its awesomeness, was a little gallery I passed which had some very weird paintings. I have some photos which will go up eventually, but lets just say……Marge Simpson as a pinup….and leave it at that. And that was the tamest painting too.

Florence meets Sheira coming soon.

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