Sunday, May 8, 2022

A Grand Piano Nobile Both More and Less Than It Appears

These images from 2015 are of a piano nobile whose grand appearance was produced by an ingenious combination of authentic historical elements (such as the stucco figures) and clever, skillfully-done simulations, which upon closer inspection, readily revealed--in fact, reveled in--the modest contemporary materials of which they were constructed. 

In foregrounding their stagecraft the creators of the space remained true to John Ruskin's dictum that missing historical elements should not be replaced by modern simulations, whose aim is to fool the unsuspecting into thinking everything they see is the real, historical thing itself--as is the case of the extensively reconstructed facade of the Basilica of San Marco, for example, and in most other famous sites of Venice as well. But in this case they did so with a sense of whimsy (not really discernible in these photos) that Ruskin would never have imagined. 



Sunday, April 24, 2022

Il Sorpasso, Revisited (Plus Detail)

24 April 2017

I remember being interested in the interpersonal dynamics of the above image when I took it, and originally posted it, but somewhere along the way of the last 5 years I'd forgotten all about it. 

The above is a newly re-cropped and slightly reprocessed image, and the below is a tight crop that I haven't posted before.  

Whatever, if anything, is to be made of the image I happily leave entirely to the viewer.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

In Pursuit of Moeche (Soft Shell Crabs) at the Arsenale

27 April 2014: With just a length of twine tied around a rock (to weight it down into the water) these fishermen were more dependent upon the misbegotten curiosity of overly-grabby crabs than the bits of fried calamari or french fries with which they tried to allure them. There weren't a lot of crustaceans who went for the bait (when it didn't simply come untethered), but just enough to keep the kids enthralled for hours, with even near misses (crabs clearly visible beneath the surface who never quite clamped onto the string, some who had the good sense to let go as soon as they were hauled into the air) eliciting thrilled exclamations. "Che gigante!" they'd yelp about one particular crab about the size of their own palms--but of course it's all relative. At such times I could imagine no better place in the world to be a kid than Venice.