Venice and Venetian art: not just over the top.



I can’t tell you about the wonders of Venice, especially as they struck me on my recent two week holiday there, without showing you some of the art. There wasn’t enough time to see everything let alone digest so much but here are some of the highlights I discovered in three special buildings. First of all the Scuola Grande di San Rocco – the Italian equivalent of a medieval Guild, dedicated to Saint Roch, or, in Italian, San Rocco, the Frenchman who was invoked after his death during an outbreak of plague which then, miraculously ceased. Venice had more than its fair share of plagues in the medieval period, so San Rocco was especially honoured and the Scuola di San Rocco,  a charitable institution set up to aid the victims of pestilence, is a truly spectacular realization of that ideal. Visually magnificent due to the series of Jacopo Tintoretto’s paintings made for the ceilings and walls of this opulent building between the years 1564 – 1587



The Glorification of San Rocco by Jacopo Tintoretto (1564)

The Crucifixion by Jacopo Tintoretto (c.1565)





The Crucifixion (four details) by Jacopo Tintoretto (c.1565)


The Brazen Serpent by Jacopo Tintoretto (c.1575 – 76)


Elijah fed by the Angel by Jacopo Tintoretto (c. 1577-78)



Next door to the Scuola is the church known as I Frari, worth a visit in itself but famous for one of the greatest paintings of the Venetian Renaissance – Titian’s Assumption Of The Virgin beautifully restored since my last visit here and now gloriously radiant by the high altar.



Assumption of the Virgin by Titian (1516-1518)

Even if you’re not a fan of 16th Century religious paintings, there is a sublimity and drama to this painting that sublimates the silliness of stories about miraculous ascents into Heaven. Those dark clouds or drapes shielding God from those below always stir me with foreboding. This is all about mystery, fear, and joy, to me.


The other essential desintation for any lover of Renaissance art is Venice’s Accademia Gallery – housed in what used to be a convent and benefiting from the wonderful ecclesiastical ceilings preserved from the building’s original purpose.

The early Venetian paintings from the 15th Century look wonderful in this setting achieving something of the spirit of their original purpose.

Later, you will find some of my favourite Venetian paintings. Cool, poignant and tranquil works by Giovanni Bellini, the very palpable painting of the great Titian and Giorgione at his mysterious best as well as my new enthusiasms, the dramatic style of Jacopo Tintoretto and the sensuality of the Renaissance Renoir, Veronese.

Madonna and Child with Saints Catherine and Mary Magdalene by Giovanni Bellini (1434/39 – 1516)


Madonna of the Trees by Giovanni Bellini (1434/39 – 1516)


Pieta by Giovanni Bellini (1434/39 – 1516)


Saint John The Baptist by Titian (1488/90 – 1576)


The Tempest by Giorgione (1476/77 – 1510)



Cain and Abel by Jacopo Tintoretto (1518 – 1594)



Christ in the House of Levi by Veronese (1528 – 1588)
The Annunciation by Veronese (1528 – 1588)

Procession in Piazza San Marco by Gentile Bellini (1429 – 1507)

There was a special exhibition of the work of the early Baroque Venetian artist Carlo Saraceno (1579 – 1620) while I was at the Accademia. I was unfamiliar with this artist’s paintings but he was inspired by the lighting effects of Caravaggio but brought his own very individual sense of drama to paintings like his San Rocco Cured By The Angel. Note the dog, usually associated with San Rocco, this animal is reputed to have been given special power to lick San Rocco’s wounds and to heal them. It’s appropriate enough to finish this tour with an image of San Rocco, a very Venetian saint.



San Rocco cured by the Angel by Saraceno
I didn’t get to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection this time but I love it there and recommend a visit – it’s an inspiring place and good antidote to all that Renaissance art.


Half-length portrait of a man in a striped jersey, 1939, by Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Angel of the City by Marino Marini (1901 – 1980)
My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
…or from Book Depository:
…or from Amazon:’s%20Summer%20Of%20lovefeature=mhee


Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love
Ward Wood Publishing
October 30, 2013

Genius Floored: Uncurtained Window
Soaring Penguin Press
June 15, 2013
Poetry anthology

Genius Floored: Whispers in Smoke
Soaring Penguin Press
June 6, 2014
Poetry anthology

Reaching Out
Cinnamon Press
December 2012
Poetry and short story anthology

Tic Toc
A Kind Of A Hurricane Press
June 2014
Poetry anthology

The Blotter
The Blotter Magazine Inc.
November 2009
Three pages of poetry in the American South’s unique, free, international literature and arts magazine.

The Fib Review
Musepie Press
My Fibonacci poetry has appeared in this journal from 2009 until the present

Shot Glass Journal
Muse Pie Press
My poetry has appeared in various issues of this short form poetry journal

Every Day Poets Magazine
Every Day Poets
I have various poems of the day published in this 365 days a year poetry magazine.

In The Night Count The Stars
Bittersweet Editions
March 1, 2014
An “uncommon anthology” of images, fragments, stories and poetry.


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