Venezia and its cinema

The Venice Film Festival has started. This city has always had an intense relationship with art in every time period: Manet and Monet and their late 19th-century paintings are just two examples of all the painters that loved Venice throughout the centuries.

The Venice Film Festival opened. It has reached its 80th edition. The lagoon is tinged with colorful and elegant silks, taffeta, laces, chiffon, lamé that decorate beautiful women. Many great actors arrive on the well-known water taxi. The flashes of the many photographers are reflected in the water. 

Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal, 1908

Venice, “How beautiful Venice is,” wrote the film critic Robert Brasillach. “How great Venetian artists are! But Venice is inexhaustible too, always lavish with miracles and discoveries. Those who visit it in only two days don’t see anything but the most renowned and glaring aspects; we walked the great popular districts, filled with small little shops and greengrocers, and crates of tomatoes and zucchini scattered like color splashes. Those secret calli, that unknown face of Venice, Giudecca, where, among mournful walls, among narrow twisted alleys, on the grimy canals, brave cheerful people live, people who haven’t forgotten the relief and joy of a song, the caress of water and wind to the mirror of the sea. I confess that these colors, this Venice that is unknown to the hurried tourist, touched me more that the pompous theory of the palaces on the Grand Canal. And here, almost every calle, every Renaissance or 18th-century church (Venice has the power to reconcile everything with the Baroque) hides almost forgotten paintings by some of the greatest painters of all times. The Venice of miracles!”

Umberto Boccioni, Il Canal Grande a Venezia, 1907

Venice has been a muse, subject, object, meeting and gathering place for many artists. Venice is water, is gold, is the watershed between East and West, where all influences found acceptance.

It was in October 1874 when Édouard Manet, together with Suzanne and James Tissot, arrived in Venice. A refined yet simple environment welcomed him throughout his later years. All that twinkling of lights and golden colors were overwhelming to him. He painted a corner of the Grand Canal: The Grand Canal of Venice (Blue Venice). The famous white and blue Venetian briccolas close the scene, creating a perfect perspective and leading the viewer’s gaze to the exact center, where there are a gondola and its gondolier, making them the subject. A painting stratagem, the symbol of the city used as an expedient to portray the shimmering, still water and its fascinating reflections of the architectures. White, gold, but, above all, blue.

Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal, 1908

Claude Monet replicates the subjects, leaving even more space to water, an element the French painter truly loved. He paints Venice at every hour. The sun overturns the city; sometimes it’s pink, others it’s blue, then yellow takes over, next green prevails. The ever-present briccolas set the rhythm like a metronome, and the architectures in the distance give the emphasis. It’s the Grand Canal and its water once again.

Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Umberto Boccioni, Giovanni Boldini, John Singer Sargent, Francesco Hayez, Maurits Cornelis Escher and many other great artists loved this city. They have painted it, enclosed it in their canvas, and loved.

“I swear (uncooled by any humbug I have seen) that Venice is the wonder and the new sensation of the world.” C. Dickens.

Giovanni Boldini, Venezia, 1907

Opening image: Édouard Manet, Le Grand Canal à Venise, 1875

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