Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Slovenia Journal IX: Venice

Watercolor by Hallie Cohen
You take the train from Trieste Centrale to Venezia Santa Lucia. Two Russian girls, one a flaming red head with turquoise eyes, talk in their native tongue right up to the stop before the end of the line, Venezia Mestre. The train is filled with Japanese and an foursome of Indians. Santa Lucia is pandemonium in the sweltering heat of the afternoon and you wonder what has brought you to this mecca of tourism, though as the sun sets you are humbled. You achieve a rare feeling of commonality in the worship of undeniable beauty—the same beauty that attracted Ruskin, Turner, Thomas Mann and later Peggy Guggenheim whose art is now housed in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. There you see Picasso’s “On the Beach" (l937), one of Adolph Gottlieb’s “Floating” pictographs from l945 and Francis Bacon’s “Study for Chimpanzee” together with rooms full of paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Max Ernst. You walk along Zattere overlooking the Canale della Giudecca looking for gelato. You feel you’re on the set of some forthcoming Woody Allen movie, the third of the trilogy beginning with Midnight in Paris. Is this real? Goethe also inhabited Venice, along with a couple from Miami who ask if you know any decent restaurants as you climb on the Vaporetto direction Lido, departing Salute.

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