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Just Venice~


I will not lie. She is way too crowded, and these are some of the reasons why.

These are ceiling shots of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco which opened in 1478 and was named after the patron saint of plague victims. The scuola (school) was a brotherhood of citizens devoted to charitable welfare.

Tintoretto was eventually a member of the brotherhood, and his paintings cover much of the interiors.

How this happened is interesting. There was a competition among artists (including Veronese), to determine who would paint the interiors. They were asked to submit sketches. While the other artists busily worked on their sketches, Tintoretto, installed one of his completed paintings in the scuola. (1) The result is history!
Titian also has artwork here.

This is the adjacent Chiesa San Rocco, a Venetian version of a modest little chapel.

They take churches very seriously in Venice. There are 139 of them! They provide a weary tourist wonderful respite from “the madding crowd.”

Cheers to you from Venice and her stunning quiet corners~
(1) http://www.scuolagrandesanrocco.org/home-en/tintoretto/sala-dell-albergo/

Azulejos I~


Portugal’s iconic blue and white hand painted tiles are called azulejos.

Arabs brought the art of tile making to Portugal, and to Spain, along with the artistic tradition of “horror vacui,” the disdain for empty or plain spaces. The result of this Islamic Arabic artistic influence can be seen in the stunningly creative tile work covering the empty spaces of both Spain and Portugal.

The first classic blue and white tiles were made in Portugal in the 1500’s.

By the 17th century, yellow was added to create the stunning blue, white and yellow combination.


Purple and green were added next, along with geometric designs. (See Azulejos II for more of these multi-colored tiles.)


In the 18th century a formal tile making school opened in Lisbon.

The proliferation of historic tile work throughout Portugal creates a unique and distinctively Portuguese visual experience.

Cheers to you from Portugal’s beautiful azulejos~

http://www.the-art-minute.com/just-a-second-horror-vacui/

Azulejos II~


When we think of Portugal’s historical tradition of hand painted tile work,

we normally think of the traditional blue and white,


or Portugal’s unique and iconic blue, yellow and white.

But Portugal, historically, is more colorful than our imagination.

It is amazing to consider that each tile,


in this country of seemingly infinite historical tile work,

was handmade.

Artistic beauty,

created by ordinary human beings,

helps us,

recognize what we all are capable of.
Cheers to you from Portugal’s enduring art & artisans~
For more info see:
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/25/travel/shopper-s-world-vibrant-tiles-from-portugal.html?pagewanted=all

Ribeauville & Riquewhir~


are two typical Alsatian towns.

The architecture,

is fairytale,

meets living history,

with the added benefit of French dessert!


There are little towns like these scattered all over Alsace,

exploring, (note Jupiter near clock tower)

and eating,

here is a delightful way to spend your days!

Cheers to you from beautiful Alsace~

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari~


Is one of the greatest “minor” basilicas in Venice, which of course, is saying quite a lot. Building began in 1250. This is the entry way.


This photo, and the next, show the woodwork in the choir stalls, with the organ pipes above.


Think for a minute what it would sound like to hear the organ and the choir sing in these stalls, as you sat in the church, in say 1400.


In the cathedral are two works by the 16th century master Titian, as well as Donatello’s first painting. They were magnificent, but what struck me most was this piece from Paola Veneziano, depicting the Madonna with saints. I knew little of Veneziano and had to google him. All that is known about him is the artwork he created between 1333-1358. His work represents, “an amazing balance between his Byzantine training and the romantic influences of northern Europe.” (Wiki)
It was the influence of Byzantine mosaic in this piece that caught my attention.

The interior is an amazing example of how architecture, art, and reverence, can create an environment that has soothed human souls for hundreds of years.

The painted, wooden art in the basilica is remarkable. This horse and rider made of painted wood, was the first of its type ever made in Venice, and depicts a Roman Prince.


This wooden clock was carved in 1630 by the artist Stefano Panatta.

There are many beautiful pieces of very old furniture in the basilica like this pew and wood painted fresco, of unknown origin.


Cheers to you from the sacred serenity of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari~

Saint Pierre le Jeune~

The ‘Young’ Church of St Peter, is an old and unusual church in Strasbourg, France.


The oldest, and lowest part of the church is the burial crypt, which was built-in the 7th century.


The church itself was consecrated in 1053, and three of the remaining columns supporting the arched interior galleries in the church date from the 11th century.

The bulk of the church as it stands now was built between 1250-1320 and many of the frescoes you see are originals from the 14th century. In 1682, the church was divided into two sections, half for catholics and the other half for protestants, which seems quite forward thinking and civilized, doesn’t it! The pipe organ is a relative newbie, built-in 1780.


Strasbourg is full of old and amazing churches, but the old, ‘Young Church of St. Peter’, is off the beaten path, less visited, and remarkable in terms of history, architecture and art. All of these factors combined create a truly amazing sense of ancient sacredness. It is a church you may well want to linger in.

We are home at The Holler, but it is cheers to you from the glorious Saint-Pierre le Jeune~

Lake Vrana & Zadar~


These first five photos were taken atop Mt. Kamenjak in the Vrana Lake Nature Park in Croatia. The amazing view you are seeing looks down over Lake Vrana towards the Kornati Islands in the Adriatic Sea.


Lake Vrana, the greenish body of water in the forefront, lies on the Dalmatian coast, and is the largest lake in Croatia. It is separated from the sea by a mere 2 km strip of land which you can clearly see in this photo.


The view from the opposite side of Mt. Kamenjak is also incredible, and looks into the interior of Croatia. It was quite special for me to visit this area of the world, because my grandfather, who emigrated to the US through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s, was from this area.

The spectacular Mt. Kamenjak viewpoint is off the beaten track and less traveled.

There is a charming old chapel, many hiking options, picnic facilities, and a place to order snacks if you didn’t bring a picnic.

Lake Varna can be easily reached on a day trip from nearby Zadar, the oldest continuously occupied city in Croatia. This is St. Donatus Church in Zadar, founded in the 9th Century.


The small chapel is St. Mary’s Church, founded in 1066, and the ruins you see scattered about are the remnants of the largest Roman Forum in the Eastern Adriatic.

Zadar is the historical center of The Dalmatian Coast. It was founded by the Liburnians in the 4th Century BC, and numerous Neolithic settlements have been discovered here.


Zadar is a delightfully fun city to visit, with lots of places to explore, and wonderful restaurants to sample the local cuisine. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, Croatia is a good travel bargain, especially off-season. The city quay, where people gather, has a sea organ that chimes in rhythm with the waves. It also has the remarkable glass “Greeting to the Sun,” which you can see in this photo and read about by clicking on the link below:

http://www.zadar.travel/en/city-guide/attractions/05-12-2007/the-greeting-to-the-sun


We are still home at The Holler now, but it is cheers to you from spectacular Lake Vrana and historic Zadar, Croatia~