Sunday, August 3, 2014

Heavenly Gelato and a Painting by Lorenzo Lotto

A city with so many great paintings sometimes exerts an influence on how you see the everyday world. I took the above photo last summer because it reminded me of a painting by Lorenzo Lotto in the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo called "The Alms of Saint Anthony" (1542). I wasn't thinking of St Anthony himself, enthroned in the upper half of the painting in the company of angels, but--as you can see in the detail of the painting below--his two clerical helpers in the lower half of the canvas, ministering from behind a slightly elevated ledge to a crowd of supplicants.

I'd intended for it to be a post of its own, along with images of the Lotto painting, but I ended up including the image as one of "6 Views of Piazza San Marco" (6 Views) instead, without any reference to the work by Lotto.

Most photos that I post on this blog are taken two or three days before their appearance here, sometimes on the same day, but as we are going to be leaving Venice on Tuesday to spend a little more than three weeks in the US such timeliness won't be an option this month. Instead, I'll be posting images taken as long ago as last summer to as recently as just three days ago that were never posted because something else came along and took their place--or, in the case of this image and one other, became one image among many within a single post.

I hope you'll enjoy them.  

Over the more than two centuries that Venice has survived on tourism any number of writers have encouraged visitors to notice how the faces of the saints (and sinners) in the city's great religious paintings from four or five hundred years ago are those of the living people they're still likely to see around them: fish mongers, merchants, gondolieri. This seems to have been an especially popular theme in the 19th century, but the same might still be said today.

Each era comes up with its own images of saintliness and service. And sometimes they may even involve gelato.


  1. This post put a smile on my face! Funny and lovely, what could be better?

    Enjoy your trip stateside.

    1. Thanks very much, Susie, we are now stateside and enjoying, though it's actually been a little odd to find myself surprised that everyone (especially kids) I pass is speaking English here, rather than Italian. As though Americans in America speaking English without an Italian accent are somehow rare. Sandro, however, adjusted immediately: refusing to speak any Italian at all once we arrived here.

  2. This is a beautiful illustration of the truism that you see the same faces in Venice from paintings centuries ago.