November 23, 2005
11.21.05-- Art (Where are your clothes?)
Venice is a labyrinth. It is filled with tiny mazes within larger mazes. Navigating the city is a bit of a game, as narrow passageways are actually major throughfares. Seemingly deserted alleys lead to museums and piazzas importantes. Were it not for signs and arrows, no tourist could navigate the city. Even so, I am certain that my mother would be hopelessly lost! My favorite part of any vacation is to experience the city like a native. I like to determine whether or not I could really live there, and what that life entails. How to the Venitians really live when the tourists aren't watching? Today, I saw garbage collectors pulling their carts from stop to stop. Without a car, these collectors must make use of a Donkey-Cart-like object. Metal and with two back wheels and two front legs, the box-like structure holds either garbage or construction equipment. I saw workment loading equipment from a boat, artists, policement, gentlemen on their way to work in the gorgeous Instituto di Arte & Scienzia (they wouldn't let me look around...) And, a market full of vendors selling new and used treasures. This city is old and reminds me quite a bit of Seville. The history is a lot more "in your face" than in Barcelona, where present culture mixes much more with past history. The effect makes Barce much more of a hustling, moving city, whereas Venice feels a bit frozen in time. One has the feeling that at any moment there will be women in hoop skirts and men with white wigs. Though the fashion is up to date, the city simply does not feel modern. The people, howerver, seem to be slightly more aware of different cultures-- most people speak English to some degree, wherease in Barce some doen't even know how to speak Castellano, gracias a Frano, seguro. However, the city is very homogenous, with only one skin color and very few blonds, though many more redheads than in the US. (No one here really dyes their hair. In Spain, most people dye or highlight their hair, while here, everyone has dark hair, that has never been colortreated.) Today, I began at the museum of the Academia, which was basically a lot of really old religious art. I did finally see Bellini's work, which was nice, as to this point, Bellin has been only a drink (a very delicious drink!!) There was one artist, Tintorino, who did an incredible job texturizing otherwize 2-d fabrics. Curtins, robes, furs and dresses truly came to life in his works, in a way that none of the other artists could mimic. It was really quite lovely. You know, over the last 6 years or so, I'e sen my fair share of European art. And, at this point, I feel comfortable making two generalizations. The first: back then, people really liked God. If you were any good at art, you painted Chirst. That was your way of giving to God. Now you host a cable show and become friends with George Bush. The second: People must not have had very good tailors. In half of the art in any museum in any country I've been to, it's as if the women just forgot to get dressed. Or, they were walking and "oops, my shirt fell off!" Cooking a meal and "would you look at that, there goes my dress again!" This happened about four times as often to women as to men, but men apparently liked to eat nude. And sometimes sing nude. I've even seen them FIGHT nude! Seriously, don't these people get it? Back then, they had ample access to silks, furs, and cotton without having to zip, button, etc. These painings were mostly created before the dawn of the corsette, too. And, oddly, during the Corsette Years, no ones ever naked!! It's like they got it backwards!!
Posted by Kaelyn Phillips