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Foreign Correspondence

Foreign Correspondence image
Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
February
Year
1873
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Venice, Nov. 30, 1872. FltlEND POND: In my last sonio account of tho moro prominent churches of Venice was bogun, and ro numorous are their attractions that it seoms impossiblo to omit a short noticc of a few others. Taking a góndola, ono beautiful day, wo loft tho Zatoro (that portion of the wharvus which, beginning at the cüstom-houso, extcnd along that part of tho bay lying betwecn tho long island, Giudecca, and inain city), and in about half an hour reachud the small Isola di St. Giorgio Maggiore.on which stands the fine church after which this island is namod. The rido was delightful. Along the wharf and anchorod in the bay woro various sea-going vessela - one or two steamers, but generally sailing craft (of about the sizo of tho brigs and schooners of New York harbor) such as ply their pursuits between tho ports of the Mediteiranean, Bosphorus and Adriatic, and the largor rivera adjoimng. Wo passed around about a doten loaded ten or tweive feet high over thoir entiro decks with the small sticks - seldom three inches in dianieter - called wood, and precious cargoes they are. When seon in market it is tied in little bundies &bout three or four inches through. But to return: the St. Georgione and its cloistors, erected in the 16th century, had fli its rtrchitects Palladio, Scatuozzi, Sansovino, and Longhena, tho very finest of that day. It has a domo and lofty campanile, frora which wo had a splendid view of the city and its iiu'inérous progeny of islands, and of the far-strctching line of verduro that extends like a coral reef from the Lido to Chioggia, twenty miles in lengt.h. j. Whon on the level of the city but little can be seeu at distanco,[since tho smallest intorvening island or other obstacle shuts off all view beyond ; and for tho sme roason when ono does obtuin a eommailding lookout, froni this or soine other eniinence, the field of view is boundless and magnificnt indeed, embraoinf? tlo Tyroloan Alps, the Euganean hills, and the broad Adriatic. The interior of St. Alaggiore presents an imposing effect from its groat size and lofty dome, and is furnished with marbles and paintings. Tho first statuary is a group, by G. Campagna, of a colossal Virgin and ehild, with two smaller angel figures. Conspicuonsly placed on the grand altar is a very striking work in gilt bronzo, representing God tho Creitor as a grave-looking human personage standing upona glo''o nlitkit fivo feet in diameter, beneath whieh as its supporters stand the bent figures of tho four evangelists, with au angel-ilguro on eitlior side. This ambitious attempt to einbody such a conception is also by Campagna, and is beautiful as a work of art morely. By far the most admirable object in the church iö tho ohoir, tho fstalls of which aro of carved wood and represent scènes from the lifo of St. Benedict. It is the work of Albert do Brule, and in delicacy of workmanship and perfection of finish, as well as elaborateuess of design, is exoelled by no similar work wo have Men. It is wonderfully rich and beautiful, and would requiro hours for its full examination. NSomoof the best works by Tintoretto are hore. But while we have had occasion to look with bew'ildering amazement upon the incredible sizo and number of this artists works in Venice, and leel compelled to recognize tho rncrit of his greuping and splondid concoptions, yot the general effect is not one that excites a warm admiration or a longing to sep more. Wo returnod to the city at a lato hour, having feit a strong inclination to seo more and ettt less. One niorning, being nearSt. Sebastian, we applied for admission at various doors in vain, but with tho aid of a vohmteor, by dint of his persovering thumping, we sueceeded. As soon as the door oponed the cause of our hindrance was manifest - the floors were strewn with tho debris of extensivo repairs, and the panel paintings were removed from tho ceilings overhead, as also those from tho altars. - This church contains the tomb of the great artist Paul Verouese, who died 1558, and somc of his finest works adorned his resting-placo - wo nftorwards saw these at tho academy. A bust and a plain tablet aro all that constituto the memorial of the great painter. Wo spent part of ono day in yisiting tho Giovani é Paulo, whicli is sometimos called the Westminster of Venice. But whethor this suitably expi'cBses the rolation of this ehnrch to tho illustrious dead of Venice or not it is cortainly truo that we find here tho monumonts to many notable ñames in Vonctian history. The edifice rnnks next to St. Mark's in sizo and appearance, with a very fine domo supported opon circular pillara of various styles bnt al), oí raro architecture, while in the nave and around tho walls on every sido aro raonuments of groat ccstlinoss and magnificonce, though nono are so imposing as somo of thoso in tho Frari. Among tho most striking is that to tho Dogo Pietro Mocenago, by tho Lombardi, fatherand son, 1470, having statues and figures fïncly sculptitrod occupying o very projection; that to threo members of the Vaiier faraily, which is also vory richly docorated with finely oxocutcd angel and symbolif, ftgnres and tho stuttios of tho docoased and various roliefs, all in fine marblo ; th.it to Andrea Vendraniin, 1 17S, vory costly in its elabórate yet delicato design, by Leopardo; that of Michael Moriseno tho Doge, 13K:, which is said to havo Ireen tho first Vcnetian tomb iidornod vfith allcgorical figures rf the Virtuos, etc; that of Dogo Mareo Corner, 1."ii'.), of a rich Gothic design. - Hut it ré ïmprésiblo even to rrjfer to all luim atteuüon. But mention not bc olnittcd of that tö thö bravo Bragadino, who so galluntly defended his post at Famagosta, in 1571, against the Turks, until almost literally starvod, and flnally capitulated only upon plödgo of personal safety, But his obstinate defonso had so ombittcrod his troacheroua foca that thoy burned and tortured hiin to a most droadful doath. Abovo tho monument is hung a vivid picturo of this horrible ctuolty. - The opportuiiity of sooing these fine monumetits is rondered doubly attraotivo bocause of tho eminent artista from whose hands many of thom have omanated. Tho churoh is not less rioh in paintings than in soulptuio. But tho greatoat troasurc of the churoh, "The Martyrdom of St. Poter," was burned in the unfortunato firo of 1867,whichentirely dostroyed the interior of the Chapel of tho Eosary. This chapel adjoins tho left transept of the churoh, and is left in the condition it was in aftcr the extinotion of the fire - a sad speotacle of blacVened marble, reliëfs and sculptures. The loss within tho small compass of this single chapel "was estimated at not less than 7,000,000 norins. Twelve Dogos have tombs in this ohurch, and the visitor oan spond houvs in wandoring about froin one memorial to anothor of tho noblo names hoie porpotuatcd. Another of the churches of Vonice, with which strangerB soon become familiar, at least by sight, is the S. Maria dolía Balute. It is so situated a3 to forin the east extremity of tho Ofarid Canal and with tho Dogana and its boautiful woathor-gaugo of Fortune standing on a gilt globe f ornas a favorito view for artists, and is seen ia the show-windows of all print-shops - whoso name is legión. This church was built "oy tho Venetian Senato in discharge of a vow made during tho provalonce of tho plague, in 1G30. According to tho legend, tho vow was no sooner made than tho numbor of doaths suddenly diminished over fifty por cent. tho next day, as much tho noxt, and in a fow days thö pest wholly left tho city. And so earnest was the zeal of the Venetians, they immediiitely built a tcmporary structürC for religious servioo, and within tho ensuing two years eoinpleted tho splendid structuro whoso massivo dome, turrets, pinnaolos, and rtumerous statues adorning ovory galient point in its facade moot tho eyo of the beholder from moro directions thau any othor church in Vonice. Tho interior is exceedingly cffective on account of its vastness, tho toworing vault of its domo, and the striking arrangement of the eight noble arches, resting upon substantial pillars, whicli describo a polygon about the central portion of tho uavo and support tho dome. Thero are many fino paintings - "Descent of the Spirit," by Titiari - eiglit medallions and center-piece over tho choir, and a picturo of St. Mark and other saints in the Sacristy, all by Titian ; a Madonna by Lassoferrato, "Marriago at Cana," by Tintoretto, and many others of great merit by eminent artista. Besides these the most romarkable objeots of artistic valué aro a voiy beautiful, largo chandelier of bronzo, of admirablo work manship, by Andrea Brosciríne ; a group in marblo over tho grand altar, ropresenting Venico as a beautiful maiden supplicating the Virgin, who stands near, looking benignantly upon her, to remove tho plague, and tho latter appears as a haggiird objüctj half human, half fiend in form, flying bofore the seourgos of tho cherub angel spirits who assail it ; and in tho treasuiy the tlirco altar screens of gold back-ground set with jewels and precious stones, cach be'pg about eight foet long by thrco feot wide, exceedingly rich and of the finest workmansbip. In various parts of the church, but most numerously about tho choir and grand altar, thero aro said to be 125 statues. In the ndjacent oratory is tbo tomb of the groat architect and soulptor Sansovino, also that of the Doge Francisco Dándolo, The security of this massive structuro roquirod the incredible number of 1,200,000 piles íor its foundation. In our daily trip tu tho Piazza and St. Mark's we pasod the doors of geveral churches, and as thoy were always invitingly open until ono V. !!., we bocame tolerublj' wcll aequaintod with them, though none wero of especial noto. San Vitale had nothing of interest oxcept a lifo-size marblo statuo of tho Virgin.represcnttng hor as veilod.and the design was so skilfully executod that oven when standing quito closo it seemed as if the features wero really seon behind an intervening veil. San Stephano, on tho opposite side of tho campo, has a singular arrangement of vaulted ceilingby which it is divided into tlroe naves supportert by columns. - The seven altars, constructed of fine polished marblo of various huos, present a very rich effect. A largo slab in the pavement of the central nave covers tho tomb of the Dogo Francesco Morosini. Luther once suid mass in this church, while yet a good pricst on his way to Romo. San Moiso has a facado of great magnifioenco for an edifico so Small. - ■ Thero is a líivish profusión of statues and figures roclining, sitting, and standing, and "when fresh from the artist's hands must havo been exceedingly beautiful. Tho interior has nothing of interest to strangers, unlossit bc to us as Amcricans, from ïho tact that tho colebrated John Law, Baron of Lauriston, is buried here, as a slab in the middlo of tho church records. His sellemos for colonizing somc of tho Golf States is familiar totho reader of our early hi'-toTy. Tho grand altar presonts the very romarkablo attempt to represent n roal mountain in reddish colored with Moses standing on its m'mmit to reeeivo tho iw. The curions facado of St. Zobodengo also formed ono of out daily sights. A family of the name of Bárbaro bont two centimes n.go having amassod 8DB00 wcalth in commercial transactiorrs, concoived thfi design of oreoting a ehurch and ïnaking it a sort of family monumont. To this end niches wero introdueed i'uto the fnciidu iii whieh woro plaood statuos of tho vaiious Barbaros. On the basos of tho eight oolumna wero duoply out plans of the cities of Zura, Candía, Padua, Eomo.Corfu, and Ipalatto, In which thoir oporations had boon transactod, and divors representations of naval battlos wore in liko manner engravod on tho faoade, constituting a style of chnroh ornamentation of great novolty - to say the loast. We visited St. Maria Formosa one day, chiofly on acoount of its association with the oeremony whioh in the olden time was observed on the 2d of February ovory year, in coinmemoration of the rape of the brides of Yonioe, the church having somo fine paintings but not being otherwise reinarkable. This legond of the brides purports to havo its foundation in faoi. In forinor times it was the practice of the Venetian girls of marriageable age to asseiuble every year at the ohuroh of 8t. Pietro del Castalio, bearing with thom their respective dowries: hithet also resortod the young inen, to make their selootions "for better, for worse." The ocoasion was naturally an interosting one, and well attonded ; but on one occasion tho girls wore on the spot rathor carly or their yóuthful gallnnta were tardy, and tho piratical Triostans, who had boen watohing their opportunity, forthwith seized upon all tlio fuir maidens and crowdod sail to escape. Disoovory, of courso, was almost immediate, and amid the peal of bells and consternation of shrioking parents, pursuit by tona of hundredg of vessels of all kinds waa institttted. foremost of all boing the disappointed youths of Venioe. In a causo so just suocess could hardly be deniod, and soon tho vossels wore descried returning with thoir precious rescued living freight, and all in solemn rejoicing proceodod to the churoh to ïetum thanks to the Virgin for her kind intorcossion. - It was iu commomoration of this event that a prooession (now disusod) was for a long period niado by the young men and maidens and their kiüdrod to thif ohurch of St. Maria Formosa, upon tho 2d of Fabruary of each year. This custom of an annual fair for tho disposal of the brides of Venico, though at first appearing liko an illioit traffic not likoly to be promotivo of happy rosults, probably did not. in reality amount to niuch more than a mere formal and statod period for the ''exchangeof ratificat'ons" of troatiea previously formed in the usual way. Our rooms being in the southern portion of tho city we naturally found our time occupied by the greater concentration of intoresting objects whic eontered nbout the Piazza, .this end of the Grand Cuñal, tho extended Kiya, and the ruoro prominent pbiid cdificos ; but there ÍS another center of a somewhat diil'eretit kind, about which the unceasing hum of traffic and much of traditional and historie interest is gathered - tho famed Kialto. If a traveler were to drop down into any of' the loading stroots of Vonice and follow tho hurrying crowd unmindful of his destination, he would bo suro to arrivo oithor at the ltialto or tho Piazza. Tho bridgo itsolf, 80 familiar, by namo at least, to all readers, is a docidedly solid and substantial structure, spanning tho Grand Canal by a singlo arch of 91 feet span and 32 feet in hoight. lts sirect sürface of 72 feet in width is subdivided into a central passage-way about 22 foct wide, on eithor sido of which, over its ontire longth, except about ten foet across tho top extends a continuous lina of shops about 14 feet oach in width, constructed of masonry and a component part of the bridge, and outside, between these shops and the balustrades aro two other passages of 11 seot oach. Tho keystone is fashioned liko a üying dove. - Tho whole is constructed of marble, and though the span is so long as to givo tho arch an appearanco of being rather low, tho gijiioral effect is extromely fine. The eifoct of threo hundred yoars of iuoessant uso does not soem to havo impaired it, and it looks as if it might successfully bid dffiance to tho ordinary casualties of (tt. Ascending the longflight of steps and standing upon tho upper and entral landing, of tho bridge, the eye takes in a sceno of such variad interest and bewildering auimation that ono feels utterly lost and confounded. Especially is this tho caso during the early part of tho day, when the attractions of tho fiah-inarket on ono stik) and of the frtiit snd vegetable markets on the other aro in full play, and the spectator looks down upon a tumultnous soa of heads literally occupying cvory foot of spaoe in the streota and squares of the vicinity. - This was onco tho central island of Vonico und the oldest part of tho city, and wiis callod tho liialto - henoo the name of tho brkigs. Neur the northern extromity of the bridgo is tlio famous "Hunch'back of tho liialto," a short column of grayish marblo with its upper portion seulptmod with groat skill into the figuro of akneeling man bont as if snstaining somo considerable woight. It stands near another round column of Egyptian granito, about four or iivo feet in height, and supports the steps by which tho officor ascended to tho top of tho latter column to proclaim tho laws of the Republic, as was formerly tho usage. Tho features of II Gobbp are badly dcfaccd and but littlc of its beauty ia left to tho statuo. Bxtending ono of our oxcursions bo yond the Rialto wo took a look into tho ohurch of tho Jcsuits. It íb not a vcry oíd edifico, and has but littlo extorior architectural beauty. An immonso exponditure has been mado to mako its interior most sumptuous and attraetive - though not with the best success. The ontire walls aro veneerod withmarblo and verde antique, in putterns which aro unpleasantly suggestivo of tho oil-cloth matting usod in our country upon tho floors. Tlio grand altar baldichino ia supportod on ton spiral columns of verde antigüe, bonoath which is a gildod globo on whioh aro placed figures of human i form reprosonting God tho Fulhqr, and tho Son. The tabernacle is an admirable work in beautiful marblos, with columns of lapis luzuli. Among tlio pictures of of thia ohurch ara an "AsRurnption," by Tintoretto, and "The Martyrdom of öfc Lawrence," by 'filian. All the alters of this cliuroh were of the fineat marbles, each differing from all tho others. Continuing our walk quite to the north sido of the oity, we had a fino view of tho island of Murano opposite, with its surfaco oompletely covored with buildings. Tho celobrated glass works of Venico were formerly mostly located there, and tho population still manufacturo c-xtensivoly a great vai-ioty of beads and beadwork. Finding ourselves in the vieinity of the chureh Madonna dell'ürto, we im?roved the opportunity by ringing for admission. It has a fine facado of tho so-called late Gothic, and thero is a harmony and completeness in its colutnns, arches, altars and wiudows, whioh makes ita interior one of tho most agrceably ef'ective of any we have visited in the city. The building is spacious, yet there aro no loomy corners ; evorything appeared ight and airy. The tomba of Tintoretto, of Eamesis, the geographer, and of lioopardi the architeot are in this church, and among the ariists whose pictures adorn ita walk are Giovani Bellini, Ciina da 3onegliano, Santaeroce, Giovino, and Tintoretto. We had on thia excursión our firat opportunity to tnako the acquaintunce of Bignor Antonio Eioba - a rather noted character in Venieo. He stands at the corner of a house on the Campo dei Mori, as an ornament or sp.mi carytides in vocation, with the s war tb y comploxion and costurne of a Moor. - Whon any ono desires to play a particuarly fine joke upon a Venetian lnd he is sent with a package to Signor Eioba, or with a noto requiring an answer, itc. - The building thüs ornamented has other similar figures along ita walls, as also bas reliëfs of camels, and was once ownëd by Turkish merchanta, Eeturning on our way to our rooms we made a fruitless attempt to visit the muS8um connooted with tho Stampalia foundation in the Palazzo Querini. Having i certifícate of admissiou to the library and roading rooms for a year we spent an lour or two very agreoably in thom. - Thia palace was bequeathed in trust to the city, with coiwlitions carefully prejared wheroby the building was to be devoted to the free use of the public r.s a ibrary and reading room - for whioh iurpose the variöua apartments wero all ,o be fitted up and the admission guarded in such way as best to promote its benefioial purposes. The library and apartments on the first fleor wero opened to the public in January, 187", and if the' same order is continuad as is kept up now nfter tlirec yeuia of u?e, notln'iig could be moro admirable and less Hablo to abuse. T)ie rooma are iurnished with every appliauce for the utmost quiet and comfort - do convoraation abovo a whisper, no dirt, noise, smoke or rudeiiess. - i'he rooms for the use of tho ladios are ülegantiy i'urnished, and moro resemble a privato drawiug room than ono devoted to public uso. Papers from cvery part of üurope lay upon tho table of the general readiiig room, and in smallor rooms pergeña woro eagaged in study, and as little :iable to disturbance as if in one'sprivato oioset. Nearer to our rooma we called at tho Poscari palace, now convertod into a commoroial schooj or collogc. And by tho way, it did not muoh resemblo in ita scope our own commercial colleges, in whioh ponmanship and book-keeping, with souie faint odor of commercial law, complete tho wholo programmo. Here the course involves not moroly these, but takes iu a wido range of inquiry into tho naturo of fabricsj composition of compounds, adultorations,' wcights and nieasures, politioal hÍ3tory as connected with commorce, geography and its relations to trade, &c, &c, and for these purposes all tho appliances and materials for illustration arranged in a largo room, appeared liko a small museum. We were ahown the room in which the. heart-brohcen Fosoari died of grief and ingratitudo. In 167-1 Henry III. lived several montha bere ; and Francia I., king of Franco, and Casimir, king of Poland, wero also entertained here. Again, good-by. Ever yours,

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Old News
Michigan Argus