Thursday, 24 October 2013

What we bought in Venice.

Venice is awash with tourist tat, they sell it by the bucket load. I've bought plenty in the past, carnival masks, coloured glass in the shape of boiled sweets, and, when the girls were small, to their delight, tiny glass Snoopy dogs each holding a daisy. This time, mindful of the fact that our house is crammed to the roof top with 'stuff' we bought very little. (Well, I behaved!)
We hunted for a pigment shop in the S. Banaba area, whose window display was always of row upon row of delectable colours. No success. Then, in another part of the city we found a shop selling artists' materials. On the back shelves were large glass jars of pigment. Himself was like a child in a sweet shop.
Rosso laccascurra, blu cobalto, rubin rosso. How lovely well-known colours sound in Italian! We were the only customers and able to have an enjoyable conversation with Carla, the shop attendant. Himself chose a range of colours which Carla decanted from the jars.
'Verde pappagallo, which pigment is that?' we wondered.
"Come Uccello," Carla told us. If it was good enough for Uccello then it's good enough for us!
In a junk/antique/magical curiosity shop Himself was on a roll. His eyes alighted on a battered old painting. The elderly shopkeeper, who had been restoring a frame in the workshop at the rear of the building, came to help us. With no English but considerable charm he told us that it was a 'grazia' painting from Choggia. Himself had to have it, the white mist had enclosed him - do you have a partner like this? We didn't have enough money on us. Good, a reason to leave the shop, collect some cash and rendevous with Wee One and Roman, who possess bargaining skills.
When the four of us returned we were met by the shop owner's son. The picture had been made, he told us, as thanks for saving the life of a sailor during a storm at sea. It is a naive painting, a gesso ground on a thick chunk of wood. It bears the inscription
GRAZIA RICEVUTA LA NOTTE DEL 18 NOVEMBRE 1883
A good slap of varnish covers the surface and binds the paint to the wood.
It's an Italian version of an Alfred Wallis!
Back at the apartment Himself said in great satisfaction and justification, "And, look, it fits perfectly into my inflight bag!"
But whose birthday was it, for goodness sake!
On the last day of our holiday I choose an aquamarine necklace,
just the same colour as the water in the Grand Canal.

9 comments:

  1. Amethysts come in aquamarine?

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  2. Oops, you are right, it's an aquamarine necklace - and very suitable for a water bound city!

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  3. And your aquamarine necklace is the perfect reminder of you birthday vacation. I hope you are doing well. Bonnie

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  4. I wish that I had been there with you guys, as the antique shop would be right up my street. I hope to go to Venice one day, and visit the Murano glass factory....one day maybe. Nice painting and necklace!

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  5. I love the pigments. If I'd known that shop before I would have visited it. Probably they can be used for soapmaking too.
    Have a great week.
    Alex

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  6. What absolutely beautiful purchases. I love them all, the painting is magnificent.

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