Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Art of Venice

The sea has protected Venice since the 5th Century when the first settlers arrived, but no longer, for in November 1966 after two days of heavy rain, high tides and the Sirocco wind blowing, six feet of water flooded into the floating city.  The international community went into action to raise money and try to save some of the treasures under threat.  
In 1971 Burundi issued these UNESCO 'Save Venice' Campaign stamps.  From left to right is an icon in St Mark's Basilica of the Archangel Michael (I can't help thinking of the spirituals song 'Michael row the boat ashore' in this context). Next are paintings which can be seen in the Venice Museum of the 18th Century by Alessandro Longhi who portrayed the Venetian society around him - La Polenta (Preparing the polenta) and Il Ciarlatano (The Charlatan).
 No stamp set would be complete without the wonderful architecture of Venice (where there will be paintings inside!) The 15th Century Casa d'Oro (golden house) on the Grand Canal and the Doge's Palace.  The painting in the middle is by Giambattista Pittoni who rarely left Venice and indeed is buried there.  Burundi Post have called it Diana's Bath and there she is with all her nymphs around the stream but in fact it is from the painting 'Diana and Acteon' and in the actual painting Acteon is on the other side of the stream.  A popular mythical subject with renaissance and 18th century painters, Diana the huntress is disturbed by Acteon as she bathes in a forest stream and she turns him into a stag when he is killed by his own hounds. 

Many of the Doges and important characters of Venice have been buried, the St John and St Paul Basilica shown on the stamp.  Of course no collection of paintings about Venice would be complete without the most famous Venetian painter of all, Canaletto, and here is a detail from 'The Doge's Palace with the Piazza di San Marco'

The acqua alta (high water) still threatens Venice and now it regularly floods.  It is hoped that the major engineering works consisting of 78 gates which will separate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea will, when it is finished, protect the city.  The project is called MOSE (the Italian word for Moses) an acronym of (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module).

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Paintings - browse the galleries at See It On A Postcard 

7 comments:

FinnBadger said...

Really beautiful stamps -loving the gold edges.

Bob Scotney said...

It is a surprise to see such beautiful stamps from Burundi.

Heleen said...

Interesting stamps, and together with the other Sunday Stamps posted this Sunday, they show an important part of history of art!

Eva A. said...

Interesting story and stamps!

VioletSky said...

I have a few of these stamps from Burundi. One way for the country to make some money, I guess! I like that they are all big enough to see details and the gold surround makes me think of a frame or matting that complements each painting.

william charles said...

Your postal stamps is really very wonderful. And I like your Stamps. Thank you very much for sharing

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