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Author: Lucas, E. V. (Edward Verrall), 1868-1938
Title: A Wanderer in Venice
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): venice; venetian; doges' palace; giovanni bellini; palace; grand canal; giorgio maggiore
Contributor(s): Morley, Harry [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 98,049 words (short) Grade range: 10-12 (high school) Readability score: 56 (average)
Identifier: etext16705
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Title: A Wanderer in Venice

Author: E.V. Lucas

Illustrator: Harry Morley

Release Date: September 17, 2005 [EBook #16705]

Language: English

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A WANDERER IN
VENICE


BY
E.V. LUCAS


WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR BY
HARRY MORLEY
AND THIRTY-TWO PHOTOGRAPHS FROM PAINTINGS AND A MAP


New York
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1914


_All rights reserved_


COPYRIGHT, 1914,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1914.


Norwood Press:
Berwick & Smith Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.




[Illustration: THE GRAND CANAL FROM THE STEPS OF S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE]




    "In like manner I say, that had there bin an offer made unto me
    before I took my journey to Venice, eyther that foure of the richest
    manors of Somerset-shire (wherein I was borne) should be gratis
    bestowed upon me if I never saw Venice, or neither of them if I
    should see it; although certainly these manors would do me much more
    good in respect of a state of livelyhood to live in the world than
    the sight of Venice, yet notwithstanding I will ever say while I
    live, that the sight of Venice and her resplendent beauty,
    antiquities, and monuments, hath by many degrees more contented
    my minde, and satisfied my desires, than those foure Lordships
    could possibly have done."--THOMAS CORYAT.


[Illustration: A Bird's Eye View Of Venice]




PREFACE


For a detailed guide to Venice the reader must go elsewhere; all that I
have done is invariably to mention those things that have most
interested me, and, in the hope of being a useful companion, often a few
more. But my chief wish (as always in this series) has been to create a
taste.

For the history of Venice the reader must also go elsewhere, yet for the
sake of clarity a little history has found its way even into these
pages. To go to Venice without first knowing her story is a mistake, and
doubly foolish because the city has been peculiarly fortunate in her
chroniclers and eulogists. Mr. H.F. Brown stands first among the living,
as Ruskin among the dead; but Ruskin is for the student patient under
chastisement, whereas Mr. Brown's serenely human pages are for all. Of
Mr. Howells' _Venetian Life_ I have spoken more than once in this book;
its truth and vivacity are a proof of how little the central Venice has
altered, no matter what changes there may have been in government or
how often campanili fall. The late Col. Hugh Douglas's _Venice on Foot_,
if conscientiously followed, is such a key to a treasury of interest as
no other city has ever possessed. To Mrs. Audrey Richardson's _Doges of
Venice_ I am greatly indebted, and Herr Baedeker has been here as
elsewhere (in the Arab idiom) my father and my mother.

                                                            E.V.L.

_June, 1914._




CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

PREFACE                                                              vii


CHAPTER I

THE BRIDE OF THE ADRIATIC                                              1


CHAPTER II

S. MARK'S. I: THE EXTERIOR                                             6


CHAPTER III

S. MARK'S. II: THE INTERIOR                                           17


CHAPTER IV

THE PIAZZA AND THE CAMPANILE                                          31


CHAPTER V

THE DOGES' PALACE. I: THE INTERIOR                                    46


CHAPTER VI

THE DOGES' PALACE. II: THE EXTERIOR                                   65


CHAPTER VII

THE PIAZZETTA                                                         78


CHAPTER VIII

THE GRAND CANAL. I: FROM THE DOGANA TO THE PALAZZO REZZONICO,
LOOKING TO THE LEFT                                                   91


CHAPTER IX

THE GRAND CANAL. II: BROWNING AND WAGNER                             100


CHAPTER X

THE GRAND CANAL. III: FROM THE RIO FOSCARI TO S. SIMEONE, LOOKING
TO THE LEFT                                                          110


CHAPTER XI

THE GRAND CANAL. IV: FROM THE STATION TO THE MOCENIGO PALACE,
LOOKING TO THE LEFT                                                  119


CHAPTER XII

THE GRAND CANAL. V: BYRON IN VENICE                                  130


CHAPTER XIII

THE GRAND CANAL. VI: FROM THE MOCENIGO PALACE TO THE MOLO,
LOOKING TO THE LEFT                                                  143


CHAPTER XIV

ISLAND AFTERNOONS' ENTERTAINMENTS. I: MURANO, BURANO AND
TORCELLO                                                             151


CHAPTER XV

ON FOOT. I: FROM THE PIAZZA TO SAN STEFANO                           162


CHAPTER XVI

THE ACCADEMIA. I: TITIAN, TINTORETTO, AND PAUL VERONESE              168


CHAPTER XVII

THE ACCADEMIA. II: THE SANTA CROCE MIRACLES AND CARPACCIO            179


CHAPTER XVIII

THE ACCADEMIA. III: GIOVANNI BELLINI AND THE LATER PAINTERS          187


CHAPTER XIX

THE CANALE DI S. MARCO AND S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE                       195


CHAPTER XX

ON FOOT. II: THREE CHURCHES AND CARPACCIO AGAIN                      206


CHAPTER XXI

ON FOOT. III: THE MERCERIA AND THE RIALTO                            217


CHAPTER XXII

S. ROCCO AND TINTORETTO                                              231


CHAPTER XXIII

THE FRARI AND TITIAN                                                 245


CHAPTER XXIV

SS. GIOVANNI E PAOLO                                                 254


CHAPTER XXV

S. ELENA AND THE LIDO                                                263


CHAPTER XXVI

ON FOOT. IV: FROM THE DOGAN TO S. SEBASTIANO                         270


CHAPTER XXVII

CHURCHES HERE AND THERE                                              279


CHAPTER XXVIII

GIORGIONE                                                            287


CHAPTER XXIX

ISLAND AFTERNOONS' ENTERTAINMENTS. II: S. LAZZARO AND CHIOGGIA       299




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
IN COLOUR


THE GRAND CANAL FROM THE STEPS OF S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE   _Frontispiece_

S. MARK'S FROM THE PIAZZA. THE MERCERIA CLOCK ON THE
LEFT                                                    _Facing page_ 10

THE CAMPANILE AND THE PIAZZA FROM COOK'S CORNER               "       28

THE CORNER OF THE OLD LIBRARY AND THE DOGES' PALACE           "       54

THE PONTE DI PAGLIA AND THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS, WITH A CORNER
OF THE DOGES' PALACE AND THE PRISON                           "       66

THE DOGANA (WITH S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE JUST VISIBLE)            "       88

DOORWAY OF S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE                              "      112

THE RIALTO BRIDGE FROM THE PALAZZO DEI DIECI SAVII            "      126

THE RIO TORRESELLE AND BACK OF THE PALAZZO DARIO              "      152

TRAGHETTO OF S. ZOBENIGO, GRAND CANAL                         "      198

THE GRAND CANAL, SHOWING S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE                "      218

S. MARIA GLORIOSA DEI FRARI                                   "      228

THE COLLEONI STATUE AND SS. GIOVANNI E PAOLO                  "      240

THE PALAZZO PESARO (ORFEI), CAMPO S. BENEDETTO                "      276

THE ARMENIAN MONASTERY AND THE LAGOON                         "      300

VIEW FROM THE DOGANA AT NIGHT                                 "      308




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
IN MONOTONE


ONE OF THE NOAH MOSAICS. In the Atrium of S. Mark's     _Facing page_ 18
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE PRESENTATION. From the Painting by Titian in the Accademia "      36
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

BACCHUS AND ARIADNE. From the Painting by Tintoretto in the
Doges' Palace                                                  "      48
    From a Photograph by Naya.

S. CHRISTOPHER. From the Fresco by Titian in the Doges' Palace "      62
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE ADAM AND EVE CORNER OF THE DOGES' PALACE                   "      70
    From a Photograph by Naya.

S. TRIFONIO AND THE BASILISK. From the Painting by Carpaccio
at S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni                                  "      76
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

S. JEROME IN HIS CELL. From the Painting by Carpaccio at S.
Giorgio degli Schiavoni                                        "      82
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

THE MARRIAGE AT CANA. From the Painting by Tintoretto in the
Church of the Salute                                           "      96
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

VENICE WITH HERCULES AND CERES. From the Painting by Veronese
in the Accademia                                               "     102
    From a Photograph by Naya.

S. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM WITH SAINTS. From the Painting by Piombo
in the Church of S. Giov. Crisostomo                           "     116
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE DREAM OF S. URSULA. From the Painting by Carpaccio in the
Accademia                                                      "     120
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST. From the Painting by Cima in the Church
of S. Giovanni in Bragora                                      "     136
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

MADONNA AND SLEEPING CHILD. From the Painting by Giovanni
Bellini in the Accademia                                       "     144
    From a Photograph by Naya.

VENUS, RULER OF THE WORLD. From the Painting by Giovanni
Bellini in the Accademia                                       "     158
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN. From the Painting by Titian in
the Accademia                                                  "     164
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

THE MIRACLE OF S. MARK. From the Painting by Tintoretto in the
Accademia                                                      "     170
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

THE FEAST IN THE HOUSE OF LEVI. From the Painting by Veronese
in the Accademia                                               "     176
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE DEPARTURE OF THE BRIDEGROOM AND HIS MEETING WITH URSULA.
From the Painting by Carpaccio in the Accademia                "     182
    From a Photograph by Naya.

S. GEORGE. From the Painting by Mantegna in the Accademia      "     190
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

MADONNA AND CHILD. From the Painting by Giovanni Bellini in
the Accademia                                                  "     192
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINTS. From the Painting by Giovanni
Bellini in the Church of S. Zaccaria                           "     208
    From a Photograph by Naya.

S. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. From the Painting by Carpaccio at
S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni                                     "     212
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

S. CHRISTOPHER, S. JEROME AND S. AUGUSTINE. From the painting
by Giovanni Bellini in the Church of S. Giov. Crisostomo       "     224
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE CRUCIFIXION (CENTRAL DETAIL). From the Painting by
Tintoretto in the Scuola di S. Rocco                           "     236
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

THE MADONNA OF THE PESARO FAMILY. From the Painting by Titian
in the Church of the Frari                                     "     246
    From a Photograph by Naya.

THE MADONNA TRIPTYCH. By Giovanni Bellini in the Church of
the Frari                                                      "     252
    From a Photograph by Naya.

BARTOLOMMEO COLLEONI. From the Statue by Andrea Verrocchio     "     256
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

MADONNA WITH THE MAGDALEN AND S. CATHERINE. From the Painting
by Giovanni Bellini in the Accademia                           "     260
    From a Photograph by Brogi.

MADONNA AND SAINTS. From the Painting by Boccaccino in the
Accademia                                                      "     266
    From a Photograph.

THE PRESENTATION. From the Painting by Tintoretto in the
Church of the Madonna dell'Orto                                "     282
    From a Photograph by Anderson.

THE TEMPEST. From the Painting by Giorgione in the Giovanelli
Palace                                                         "     288
    From a Photograph by Naya.

ALTAR-PIECE. By Giorgione at Castel Franco                     "     296
    From a Photograph by Naya.




A WANDERER IN VENICE




CHAPTER I

THE BRIDE OF THE ADRIATIC

The best approach to Venice--Chioggia--A first view--Another water
approach--Padua and Fusina--The railway station--A complete
transformation--A Venetian guide-book--A city of a dream.


I have no doubt whatever that, if the diversion can be arranged, the
perfect way for the railway traveller to approach Venice for the first
time is from Chioggia, in the afternoon.

Chioggia is at the end of a line from Rovigo, and it ought not to be
difficult to get there either overnight or in the morning. If overnight,
one would spend some very delightful hours in drifting about Chioggia
itself, which is a kind of foretaste of Venice, although not like enough
to her to impair the surprise. (But nothing can do that. Not all the
books or photographs in the world, not Turner, nor Whistler, nor Clara
Montalba, can so familiarize the stranger with the idea of Venice that
the reality of Venice fails to be sudden and arresting. Venice is so
peculiarly herself, so exotic and unbelievable, that so far from ever
being ready for her, even her residents, returning, can never be fully
prepared.)

But to resume--Chioggia is the end of all things. The train stops at the
station because there is no future for it; the road to the steamer
stops at the pier because otherwise it would run into the water.
Standing there, looking north, one sees nothing but the still,
land-locked lagoon with red and umber and orange-sailed fishing-boats,
and tiny islands here and there. But only ten miles away, due north, is
Venice. And a steamer leaves several times a day to take you there,
gently and loiteringly, in the Venetian manner, in two hours, with
pauses at odd little places _en route_. And that is the way to enter
Venice, because not only do you approach her by sea, as is right, Venice
being the bride of the sea not merely by poetical tradition but as a
solemn and wonderful fact, but you see her from afar, and gradually more
and more is disclosed, and your first near view, sudden and complete as
you skirt the island of S. Giorgio Maggiore, has all the most desired
ingredients: the Campanile of S. Marco, S. Marco's domes, the Doges'
Palace, S. Theodore on one column and the Lion on the other, the Custom
House, S. Maria della Salute, the blue Merceria clock, all the business
of the Riva, and a gondola under your very prow.

That is why one should come to Venice from Chioggia.

The other sea approach is from Fusina, at the end of an electric-tram
line from Padua. If the Chioggia scheme is too difficult, then the
Fusina route should be taken, for it is simplicity itself. All that the
traveller has to do is to leave the train at Padua overnight--and he
will be very glad to do so, for that last five-hour lap from Milan to
Venice is very trying, with all the disentanglement of registered
luggage at the end of it before one can get to the hotel--and spend the
next morning in exploring Padua's own riches: Giotto's frescoes in the
Madonna dell'Arena; Mantegna's in the Eremitani; Donatello's altar in
the church of Padua's own sweet Saint Anthony; and so forth; and then
in the afternoon take the tram for Fusina. This approach is not so
attractive as that from Chioggia, but it is more quiet and fitting than
the rush over the viaduct in the train. One is behaving with more
propriety than that, for one is doing what, until a few poor decades ago
of scientific fuss, every visitor travelling to Venice had to do: one is
embarked on the most romantic of voyages: one is crossing the sea to its
Queen.

This way one enters Venice by her mercantile shipping gate, where there
are chimneys and factories and a vast system of electric wires. Not that
the scene is not beautiful; Venice can no more fail to be beautiful,
whatever she does, than a Persian kitten can; yet it does not compare
with the Chioggia adventure, which not only is perfect visually, but,
though brief, is long enough to create a mood of repose for the
anticipatory traveller such as Venice deserves.

On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that there are many visitors
who want their first impression of this city of their dreams to be
abrupt; who want the transition from the rattle of the train to the
peace of the gondola to be instantaneous; and these, of course, must
enter Venice at the station. If, as most travellers from England do,
they leave London by the 2.5 and do not break the journey, they will
reach Venice a little before midnight.

But whether it is by day or by night, this first shock of Venice is not
to be forgotten. To step out of the dusty, stuffy carriage, jostle one's
way through a thousand hotel porters, and be confronted by the sea
washing the station steps is terrific! The sea tamed, it is true; the
sea on strange visiting terms with churches and houses; but the sea none
the less; and if one had the pluck to taste the water one would find it
salt. There is probably no surprise to the eye more complete and
alluring than this first view of the Grand Canal at the Venetian
terminus.

But why do I put myself to the trouble of writing this when it has all
been done for me by an earlier hand? In the most popular of the little
guide-books to Venice--sold at all the shops for a franc and twenty
centimes, and published in German, English, and, I think, French, as
well as the original Italian--the impact of Venice on the traveller by
rail is done with real feeling and eloquence, and with a curious
intensity only possible when an Italian author chooses an Italian
translator to act as intermediary between himself and the English
reader. The author is Signor A. Carlo, and the translator, whose
independence, in a city which swarms with Anglo-Saxon visitors and even
residents, in refusing to make use of their services in revising his
English, cannot be too much admired, is Signor G. Sarri.

Here is the opening flight of these Two Gentlemen of Venice: "The
traveller, compelled by a monotone railway-carriage, to look for hours
at the endless stretching of the beautifull and sad Venetian plain,
feels getting wear, [? near] this divine Queen of the Seas, whom so many
artists, painters and poets have exalted in every time and every way;
feels, I say, that something new, something unexpected is really about
to happen: something that will surely leave a deep mark on his
imagination, and last through all his life. I mean that peculiar
radiation of impulsive energy issueing from anything really great,
vibrating and palpitating from afar, fitting the soul to emotion or
enthusiasm...."

Yesterday, or even this morning, in Padua, Verona, Milan, Chioggia, or
wherever it was, whips were cracking, hoofs clattering, motor horns
booming, wheels endangering your life. Farewell now to all!--there is
not a wheel in Venice save those that steer rudders, or ring bells; but
instead, as you discern in time when the brightness and unfamiliarity of
it all no longer bemuse your eyes, here are long black boats by the
score, at the foot of the steps, all ready to take you and your luggage
anywhere for fifty per cent more than the proper fare. You are in
Venice.

If you go to the National Gallery and look at No. 163 by Canaletto you
will see the first thing that meets the gaze as one emerges upon
fairyland from the Venice terminus: the copper dome of S. Simeon. The
scene was not much different when it was painted, say, _circa_ 1740. The
iron bridge was not yet, and a church stands where the station now is;
but the rest is much the same. And as you wander here and there in this
city, in the days to come, that will be one of your dominating
impressions--how much of the past remains unharmed. Venice is a city of
yesterdays.

One should stay in her midst either long enough really to know something
about her or only for three or four days. In the second case all is
magical and bewildering, and one carries away, for the mind to rejoice
in, no very definite detail, but a vague, confused impression of wonder
and unreality and loveliness. Dickens, in his _Pictures of Italy_, with
sure instinct makes Venice a city of a dream, while all the other towns
which he describes are treated realistically.

But for no matter how short a time one is in Venice, a large proportion
of it should be sacred to idleness. Unless Venice is permitted and
encouraged to invite one's soul to loaf, she is visited in vain.




CHAPTER II

S. MARK'S. I: THE EXTERIOR

Rival cathedrals--The lure of S. Mark's--The facade at night--The Doge's
device--S. Mark's body--A successful theft--Miracle pictures--Mosaic
patterns--The central door--Two problems--The north wall--The fall of
Venice--Napoleon--The Austrian occupation--Daniele Manin--Victor
Emmanuel--An artist's model--The south wall--The Pietra del Bando--The
pillars from Acre.


Of S. Mark's what is one to say? To write about it at all seems indeed
more than commonly futile. The wise thing to do is to enter its doors
whenever one has the opportunity, if only for five minutes; to sit in it
as often as possible, at some point in the gallery for choice; and to
read Ruskin.

To Byzantine architecture one may not be very sympathetic; the visitor
may come to Venice with the cool white arches of Milan still comforting
his soul, or with the profound conviction that Chartres or Cologne
represents the final word in ecclesiastical beauty and fitness; but none
the less, in time, S. Mark's will win. It will not necessarily displace
those earlier loves, but it will establish other ties.

But you must be passive and receptive. No cathedral so demands
surrender. You must sink on its bosom.

S. Mark's facade is, I think, more beautiful in the mass than in detail.
Seen from the Piazza, from a good distance, say half way across it,
through the red flagstaffs, it is always strange and lovely and unreal.
To begin with, there is the remarkable fact that after years of
familiarity with this wonderful scene, in painting and coloured
photographs, one should really be here at all. The realization of a
dream is always amazing.

It is possible--indeed it may be a common experience--to find S. Mark's,
as seen for the first time, especially on a Sunday or fete day, when the
vast red and green and white flags are streaming before it, a little
garish, a little gaudy; too like a coloured photograph; not what one
thinks a cathedral ought to be. Should it have all these hues? one asks
oneself, and replies no. But the saint does not long permit this
scepticism: after a while he sees that the doubter drifts into his
vestibule, to be rather taken by the novelty of the mosaics--so much
quieter in tone here--and the pavement, with its myriad delicate
patterns. And then the traveller dares the church itself and the spell
begins to work; and after a little more familiarity, a few more visits
to the Piazza, even if only for coffee, the fane has another devotee.

At night the facade behaves very oddly, for it becomes then as flat as a
drop scene. Seen from the Piazza when the band plays and the lamps are
lit, S. Mark's has no depth whatever. It is just a lovely piece of
decoration stretched across the end.

The history of S. Mark's is this. The first patron saint of Venice was
S. Theodore, who stands in stone with his crocodile in the Piazzetta,
and to whose history we shall come later. In 828, however, it occurred
to the astute Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio that both ecclesiastically
and commercially Venice would be greatly benefited if a really
first-class holy body could be preserved in her midst. Now S. Mark had
died in A.D. 57, after grievous imprisonment, during which
Christ appeared to him, speaking those words which are incised in the
very heart of Venice, "Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus"--"Peace be to
thee, Mark my evangelist"; and he was buried in Alexandria, the place of
his martyrdom, by his fellow-Christians. Why should not the sacred
remains be stolen from the Egyptian city and brought to Venice? Why not?
The Doge therefore arranged with two adventurers, Rustico of Torcello
and Buono of Malamocco, to make the attempt; and they were successful.
When the body was exhumed such sweetness proceeded from it that all
Alexandria marvelled, but did not trace the cause.

The saint seems to have approved of the sacrilege. At any rate, when his
remains were safely on board the Venetian ship, and a man in another
ship scoffed at the idea that they were authentic, the Venetian ship
instantly and mysteriously made for the one containing this sceptic,
stove its side in, and continued to ram it until he took back his
doubts. And later, when, undismayed by this event, one of the sailors on
S. Mark's own ship also denied that the body was genuine, he was
possessed of a devil until he too changed his mind.

The mosaics on the cathedral facade all bear upon the life of S. Mark.
That over the second door on the left, with a figure in red, oddly like
Anatole France, looking down upon the bed, represents S. Mark's death.
In the Royal Palace are pictures by Tintoretto of the finding of the
body of S. Mark by the Venetians, and the transportation of it from
Alexandria, under a terrific thunderstorm in which the merchants and
their camel are alone undismayed.

Arrived in Venice the remains were enclosed in a marble pillar for
greater safety, but only two or three persons knew which pillar, and,
these dying, the secret perished. In their dismay all the people
grieved, but suddenly the stones opened and revealed the corpse.
Thereafter many miracles were performed by it; Venice was visited by
pilgrims from all parts of the world; its reputation as a centre of
religion grew; and the Doge's foresight and address were justified.

Before, however, S. Mark and his lion could become the protectors of the
Republic, S. Theodore had to be deposed. S. Theodore's church, which
stood originally on a part of the Piazza (an inscription in the pavement
marks the site) now covered by the Campanile and one or two of the
flagstaffs, is supposed to have been built in the sixth century. That it
was destroyed by fire in the tenth, we know, and it is known too that
certain remains of it were incorporated in the present structure of S.
Mark's, which dates from the eleventh century, having been preceded by
earlier ones.

To my mind not one of the external mosaic pictures is worth study; but
some of the mosaic patterns over the doors are among the most lovely
things I ever saw. Look at the delicate black and gold in the arch over
the extreme right-hand door. Look at the black and gold bosses in that
next it. On the other side of the main entrance these bosses have a
little colour in them. On the extreme left we find symbolism: a golden
horseman, the emblems of the four Evangelists, and so forth, while above
is a relief in black stone, netted in: this and the group over the
central door being the only external statuary in Venice to which the
pigeons have no access.

The carvings over the central door are interesting, although they have a
crudity which will shock visitors fresh from the Baptistery doors at
Florence. As in most Venetian sculpture symbolism plays an important
part, and one is not always able to translate it. Here are arches within
arches: one of scriptural incidents--at any rate Adam and Eve and Cain
and Abel are identifiable; one of grotesques and animals; one of uncouth
toilers--a shepherd and woodman and so forth--with God the Father on the
keystone. What these mean beyond the broad fact that religion is for
all, I cannot say. Angels are above, and surmounting the doorway is
Christ. Among all this dark stonework one is conscious now and then of
little pink touches which examination shows to be the feet of reposing
pigeons.

Above is the parapet with the four famous golden horses in the midst;
above them in the architrave over the central recess is S. Mark's lion
with the open book against a background of starred blue. Then angels
mounting to Christ, and on each side pinnacled saints. It is all rather
barbaric, very much of a medley, and unforgettable in its total effect.

Two mysteries the facade holds for me. One is the black space behind the
horses, which seems so cowardly an evasion of responsibility on the part
of artists and architects for many years, as it was there when Gentile
Bellini painted his Santa Croce miracle; and the other is the identity
of the two little grotesque figures with a jug, one towards each end of
the parapet over the door. No book tells me who they are, and no
Venetian seems to know. They do not appear to be scriptural; yet why
should they be when the Labours of Hercules are illustrated in sculpture
on the facade above them?


[Illustration: S. MARK'S FROM THE PIAZZA, THE MERCERIA CLOCK ON THE
LEFT]


The north facade of S. Mark's receives less attention than it should,
although one cannot leave Cook's office without seeing it. The north has
a lovely Gothic doorway and much sculpture, including on the west wall
of the transept a rather nice group of sheep, and beneath it a pretty
little saint; while the Evangelists are again here--S. Luke painting, S.
Matthew looking up from his book, S. John brooding, and S. Mark writing.
The doorway has a quaint interesting relief of the manger, containing a
very large Christ child, in its arch. Pinnacled saints, with holy men
beneath canopies between them, are here, and on one point the quaintest
little crowned Madonna. At sunset the light on this wall can be very
lovely.

At the end of the transept is a tomb built against the wall, with lions
to guard it, and a statue of S. George high above. The tomb is that of
Daniele Manin, and since we are here I cannot avoid an historical
digression, for this man stands for the rise of the present Venice. When
Lodovico Manin, the last Doge, came to the throne, in 1788, Venice was,
of course, no longer the great power that she had been; but at any rate
she was Venice, the capital of a republic with the grandest and noblest
traditions. She had even just given one more proof of her sea power by
her defeat of the pirates of Algiers. But her position in Europe had
disappeared and a terrible glow was beginning to tinge the northern
sky--none other than that of the French Revolution, from which was to
emerge a Man of Destiny whose short sharp way with the map of Europe
must disturb the life of frivolity and ease which the Venetians
contrived still to live.

Then came Napoleon's Italian campaign and his defeat of Lombardy. Venice
resisted; but such resistance was merely a matter of time: the force was
all-conquering. Two events precipitated her fate. One was the massacre
of the French colony in Verona after that city had been vanquished;
another was the attack on a French vessel cruising in Venetian waters
on the watch for Austrian men-of-war. The Lido fort fired on her and
killed her commander, Langier. It was then that Napoleon declared his
intention of being a second Attila to the city of the sea. He followed
up his threat with a fleet; but very little force was needed, for Doge
Manin gave way almost instantly. The capitulation was indeed more than
complete; the Venetians not only gave in but grovelled. The words "Pax
tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus" on the lion's book on S. Mark facade were
changed to "Rights of Man and of Citizenship," and Napoleon was thanked
in a profuse epistle for providing Venice with glorious liberty. Various
riots of course accompanied this renunciation of centuries of noble
tradition, and under the Tree of Liberty in the Piazza the Ducal
insignia and the Libro d'Oro were burned. The tricolour flew from the
three flagstaffs, and the two columns in the Piazzetta were covered with
inscriptions praising the French. This was in May, 1797.

So much for Venice under Manin, Lodovico. The way is now paved for
Manin, Daniele, who was no relation, but a poor Jewish boy to whom a
Manin had stood as godfather. Daniele was born in 1804. In 1805 the
Peace of Pressburg was signed, and Venice, which had passed to Austria
in 1798, was taken from Austria and united to Napoleon's Italian
kingdom, with Eugene Beauharnais, the Emperor's brother-in-law, as ruler
under the title Prince of Venice. In 1807 Napoleon visited the city and
at once decreed a number of improvements on his own practical sensible
lines. He laid out the Giardini Pubblici; he examined the ports and
improved them; he revised the laws. But not even Napoleon could be
everywhere at once or succeed in everything, and in 1813 Austria took
advantage of his other troubles to try and recapture the Queen of the
Adriatic by force, and when the general Napoleonic collapse came the
restitution was formally made, Venice and Lombardy becoming again
Austrian and the brother of Francis I their ruler.

All went fairly quietly in Venice until 1847, when, shortly after the
fall of the Orleans dynasty in France, Daniele Manin, now an eloquent
and burningly patriotic lawyer, dared to petition the Austrian Emperor
for justice to the nation whom he had conquered, and as a reply was
imprisoned for high treason, together with Niccolo Tommaseo. In 1848, on
March 17, the city rose in revolt, the prison was forced, and Manin not
only was released but proclaimed President of the Venetian Republic. He
was now forty-four, and in the year of struggle that followed proved
himself both a great administrator and a great soldier.

He did all that was humanly possible against the Austrians, but events
were too much for him; bigger battalions, combined with famine and
cholera, broke the Venetian defence; and in 1849 Austria again ruled the
province. All Italy had been similarly in revolt, but her time was not
yet. The Austrians continued to rule until Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel
built up the United Italy which we now know. Manin, however, did not
live to see that. Forbidden even to return to Venice again, he retired
to Paris a poor and broken man, and there died in 1854.

The myriad Austrians who are projected into Venice every day during the
summer by excursion steamers from Trieste rarely, I imagine, get so far
as the Campo dominated by Manin's exuberant statue with the great winged
lion, and therefore do not see this fine fellow who lived to preserve
his country from them. Nor do they as a rule visit that side of S.
Mark's where his tomb stands. But they can hardly fail to see the
monument to Victor Emmanuel on the Riva--with the lion which they had
wounded so grievously, symbolizing Italy under the enemy, on the one
side, and the same animal all alert and confident, on the other, flushed
with the assurance which 1866 brought, and the sturdy king riding forth
to victory above. This they cannot well help seeing.

The little piazzetta on the north side of S. Mark's has a famous well,
with two porphyry lions beside it on which small Venetians love to
straddle. A bathing-place for pigeons is here too, and I have counted
twenty-seven in it at once. Here one day I found an artist at work on
the head of an old man--a cunning old rascal with short-cropped grey
hair, a wrinkled face packed with craft, and a big pipe. The artist, a
tall, bearded man, was painting with vigour, but without, so far as I
could discern, any model; and yet it was obviously a portrait on which
he was engaged and no work of invention. After joining the crowd before
the easel for a minute or so, I was passing on when a figure emerged
from a cool corner where he had been resting and held out his hand. He
was a cunning old rascal with short-cropped grey hair, a wrinkled face
packed with craft, and a big pipe; and after a moment's perplexity I
recognized him as the model. He pointed to himself and nodded to the
picture and again proffered his open palm. Such money as I have for free
distribution among others is, however, not for this kind; but the idea
that the privilege of seeing the picture in the making should carry with
it an obligation to the sitter was so comic that I could not repulse him
with the grave face that is important on such occasions. Later in the
same day I met the artist himself in the waters of the Lido--a form of
rencontre that is very common in Venice in the summer. The converse is,
however, the more amusing and usually disenchanting: the recognition, in
the Piazza, in the evening, in their clothes, of certain of the
morning's bathers. Disillusion here, I can assure you.

On the south wall of S. Mark's, looking over the Molo and the lagoon, is
the famous Madonna before whom two lights burn all night. Not all day
too, as I have seen it stated. Above her are two pretty cherubs against
a light-blue background, holding the head of Christ: one of the gayest
pieces of colour in Venice. Justice is again pinnacled here, and on her
right, on another pinnacle, is a charming angel, upon whom a lion
fondlingly climbs. Between and on each side are holy men within
canopies, and beneath is much delicate work in sculpture. Below are
porphyry insets and veined marbles, and on the parapet two griffins, one
apparently destroying a child and one a lamb. The porphyry stone on the
ground at the corner on our left is the Pietra del Bando, from which the
laws of the Republic were read to the people. Thomas Coryat, the
traveller, who walked from Somerset to Venice in 1608 and wrote the
result of his journey in a quaint volume called _Coryat's Crudities_,
adds another to the functions of the Pietra del Bando. "On this stone,"
he says, "are laide for the space of three dayes and three nights the
heads of all such as being enemies or traitors to the State, or some
notorious offenders, have been apprehended out of the citie, and
beheaded by those that have been bountifully hired by the Senate for the
same purpose." The four affectionate figures, in porphyry, at the corner
of the Doges' Palace doorway, came also from the East. Nothing definite
is known of them, but many stories are told. The two richly carved
isolated columns were brought from Acre in 1256.

Of these columns old Coryat has a story which I have found in no other
writer. It may be true, and on the other hand it may have been the
invention of some mischievous Venetian wag wishing to get a laugh out of
the inquisitive Somerset pedestrian, whose leg was, I take it,
invitingly pullable. "Near to this stone," he says, referring to the
Pietra del Bando, "is another memorable thing to be observed. A
marvailous faire paire of gallowes made of alabaster, the pillars being
wrought with many curious borders, and workes, which served for no other
purpose but to hang the Duke whensoever he shall happen to commit any
treason against the State. And for that cause it is erected before the
very gate of his Palace to the end to put him in minde to be faithfull
and true to his country. If not, he seeth the place of punishment at
hand. But this is not a perfect gallowes, because there are only two
pillars without a transverse beame, which beame (they say) is to be
erected when there is any execution, not else. Betwixt this gallowes
malefactors and condemned men (that are to goe to be executed upon a
scaffold betwixt the two famous pillars before mentioned at the South
end of S. Mark's street, neare the Adriaticque Sea) are wont to say
their prayers, to the Image of the Virgin Mary, standing on a part of S.
Mark's Church right opposite unto them."




CHAPTER III

S. MARK'S. II: THE INTERIOR

Vandal guides--Emperor and Pope--The Bible in mosaic--The Creation of
the world--Cain and Abel--Noah--The story of Joseph--The golden
horses--A horseless city--A fiction gross and palpable--A populous
church--The French pilgrims--Rain in Venice--S. Mark's Day--The
procession--New Testament mosaics--S. Isidoro's chapel--The chapel of
the Males--A coign of vantage--The Pala d'oro--Sansovino--S. Mark's
treasures--The Baptistery--The good Andrea Dandolo--The vision of Bishop
Magnus--The parasites.


Let us now enter the atrium. When I first did so, in 1889, I fell at
once into the hands of a guide, who, having completed his other
services, offered for sale a few pieces of mosaic which he had casually
chipped off the wall with his knife somewhere in the gallery. Being
young and simple I supposed this the correct thing for guides to do, and
was justified in that belief when at the Acropolis, a few weeks later,
the terrible Greek who had me in tow ran lightly up a workman's ladder,
produced a hammer from his pocket and knocked a beautiful carved leaf
from a capital. But S. Mark's has no such vandals to-day. There are
guides in plenty, who detach themselves from its portals or appear
suddenly between the flagstaffs with promises of assistance; but they
are easily repulsed and the mosaics are safe.

Entering the atrium by the central door we come upon history at once.
For just inside on the pavement whose tesselations are not less lovely
than the ceiling mosaics--indeed I often think more lovely--are the
porphyry slabs on which the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa asked pardon of
Pope Alexander III, whom he had driven from Rome into an exile which had
now brought him to Venice. The story has it that the great Emperor
divested himself of his cloak of power and lay full length on these very
stones; the Pope placed his foot on his neck, saying, "I will tread on
the asp and the basilisk." The Emperor ventured the remark that he was
submitting not to the Pope but to S. Peter. "To both of us," said
Alexander. That was on July 24, 1177, and on the walls of the Doges'
Palace we shall see pictures of the Pope's sojourn in Venice and
subsequent triumph.

The vestibule mosaics are not easy to study, as the best are in the
domes immediately overhead. But they are very interesting in their
simple directness. Their authors had but one end in view, and that was
to tell the story. As thorough illustrations they could not be
overpraised. And here let me say that though Baedeker is an important
book in Venice, and S. Mark's Square is often red with it, there is one
even more useful and necessary, especially in S. Mark's, and that is the
Bible. One has not to be a very profound Biblical student to keep pace,
in memory, with the Old Masters when they go to the New Testament; but
when the Old is the inspiration, as chiefly here, one is continually at
fault.


[Illustration: ONE OF THE NOAH MOSAICS
_In the Atrium of S. Mark's_]


The vestibule mosaics are largely thirteenth century. That is to say,
they were being fixed together in these domes and on these walls when
England was under the first Edwards, and long indeed before America,
which now sends so many travellers to see them--so many in fact that it
is almost impossible to be in any show-place without hearing the
American accent--was dreamed of.

The series begins in the first dome on the right, with the creation of
the world, a design spread over three circles. In the inner one is the
origin of all things--or as far back as the artist, wisely untroubled by
the question of the creation of the Creator, cared to go. Angels seem
always to have been. In the next circle we find the creation of the sun,
moon, and stars, birds, beasts, and fishes, and finally of man. The
outer circle belongs to Adam and Eve. Adam names the animals; his rib is
extracted; Eve, a curiously forbidding woman, rather a Gauguinesque
type, results; she is presented to Adam; they eat the fruit; they take
to foliage; they are judged; the leaves become real garments; they are
driven forth to toil, Adam with an axe and Eve with a distaff.

On the sides is the story of Cain and Abel carried back to an earlier
point than we are accustomed to see it. Later, to the altar Cain brings
fruit and Abel a lamb; a hand is extended from heaven to the fortunate
Abel while Cain sulks on a chair. The two brothers then share a
sentry-box in apparent amity, until Cain becomes a murderer.

We next come, on the sides, to the story of Noah and the Tower of Babel.
Noah's biography is vivid and detailed. We see him receiving Divine
instruction to build the ark, and his workmen busy. He is next among the
birds, and himself carries a pair of peacocks to the vessel. Then the
beasts are seen, and he carries in a pair of leopards, or perhaps pumas;
and then his whole family stand by while two eagles are inserted, and
other big birds, such as storks and pelicans, await their turn. I
reproduce this series. On the other side the rains have begun and the
world is drowning. Noah sends out the dove and receives it again; the
waters subside; he builds his altar, and the animals released from the
ark gambol on the slopes of Ararat. The third series of events in the
life of Noah I leave to the visitor to decipher. One of the incidents so
captured the Venetian imagination that it is repeated at the eastern
corner of the Ducal Palace lagoon facade.

The second dome tells the history of Abraham, and then three domes are
given to the best story in the world, the story of Joseph. The first
dome treats of his dream, showing him asleep and busy with it, and the
result, the pit being a cylinder projecting some feet from the ground.
Jacob's grief on seeing the coat of many colours is very dramatic. In
the next we find Potiphar's wife, Joseph's downfall, and the two
dreaming officials. The third tells of Joseph and Jacob and is full of
Egyptian local colour, a group of pyramids occurring twice. On the wall
are subsidiary scenes, such as Joseph before Pharaoh, the incident of
Benjamin's sack with the cup in it, and the scene of the lean kine
devouring the fat, which they are doing with tremendous spirit, all
beginning simultaneously from behind.

The last dome relates the story of Moses, but it is by an inferior
artist and does not compare with the others. The miracle of the manna on
the wall is, however, amusing, the manna being rather like melons and
the quails as large as pheasants. On the extreme left a cook is at work
grilling some on a very open fire. Another inferior mosaic on the north
side of the atrium, represents S. Christopher with his little Passenger.
It is a pity that Titian's delightful version in the Doges' Palace could
not have been followed.

The atrium is remarkable not only for its illustrations to Genesis. Its
mosaic patterns are very lovely, and its carved capitals. The staircase
to the left of the centre door of the church proper leads to the
interior galleries and to the exterior gallery, where the golden horses
are. Of the interior galleries I speak later. Let me say here that these
noble steeds were originally designed and cast for a triumphal arch, to
be driven by Victory, in honour of Nero. Filched from Rome by
Constantine, they were carried to his own city as an ornament to the
imperial hippodrome. In 1204 the great Doge Enrico Dandolo, having
humiliated Constantinople, brought the horses to Venice as a trophy, and
they were transferred to the service of the church. Here, above the
central portal of the cathedral, they stood for nearly six centuries,
and then in 1797 a more modern Constantine, one Napoleon, carried them
to Paris, to beautify his city. In 1815, however, when there was a
redistribution of Napoleonic spoils, back they came to Venice, to their
ancient platform, and there they now are, unchanged, except that their
golden skins are covered with the autographs of tourists.

One odd thing about them is that they and Colleoni's steed are the only
horses which many younger and poorer Venetians have ever seen. As to the
horselessness of Venice, the last word, as well as one of the first, in
English, was written by our old friend Coryat in the following passage:
"For you must consider that neither the Venetian Gentlemen nor any
others can ride horses in the streets of Venice as in other Cities and
Townes, because their streets being both very narrow and slippery, in
regard they are all paved with smooth bricke, and joyning to the water,
the horse would quickly fall into the river, and so drowne both himselfe
and his rider. Therefore the Venetians do use Gondolaes in their streets
insteede of horses, I meane their liquid streets: that is, their
pleasant channels. So that I now finde by mine owne experience that the
speeches of a certaine English Gentleman (with whom I once discoursed
before my travels), a man that much vaunted of his observations in
Italy, are utterly false. For when I asked him what principall things he
observed in Venice, he answered me that he noted but little of the city,
because he rode through it in post. A fiction, and as grosse and
palpable as ever was coyned."

From the horses' gallery there is a most interesting view of the Piazza
and the Piazzetta, and the Old Library and Loggetta are as well seen
from here as anywhere.

Within the church itself two things at once strike us: the unusual
popularity of it, and the friendliness. Why an intensely foreign
building of great size should exert this power of welcome I cannot say;
but the fact remains that S. Mark's, for all its Eastern domes and gold
and odd designs and billowy floor, does more to make a stranger and a
Protestant at home than any cathedral I know; and more people are also
under its sway than in any other. Most of them are sightseers, no doubt,
but they are sightseers from whom mere curiosity has fallen: they seem
to like to be there for its own sake.

The coming and going are incessant, both of worshippers and tourists,
units and companies. Guides, professional and amateur, bring in little
groups of travellers, and one hears their monotonous informative voices
above the foot-falls; for, as in all cathedrals, the prevailing sound is
of boots. In S. Mark's the boots make more noise than in most of the
others because of the unevenness of the pavement, which here and there
lures to the trot. One day as I sat in my favourite seat, high up in the
gallery, by a mosaic of S. Liberale, a great gathering of French
pilgrims entered, and, seating themselves in the right transept beneath
me, they disposed themselves to listen to an address by the French
priest who shepherded them. His nasal eloquence still rings in my ears.
A little while after I chanced to be at Padua, and there, in the church
of S. Anthony, I found him again, again intoning rhetoric.

S. Mark's is never empty, but when the rain falls--and in Venice rain
literally does fall--it is full. Then do the great leaden spouts over
the facade pour out their floods, while those in the courtyard of the
Doges' Palace expel an even fiercer torrent. But the city's recovery
from a deluge is instant.

But the most populous occasion on which I ever saw S. Mark's was on S.
Mark's own day--April 25. Then it is solid with people: on account of
the procession, which moves from a point in front of the high altar and
makes a tour of the church, passing down to the door of the Baptistery,
through the atrium, and into the church again by the door close to the
Cappella dei Mascoli. There is something in all Roman Catholic
ceremonial which for me impairs its impressiveness--perhaps a thought
too much mechanism--and I watched this chanting line of choristers,
priests, and prelates without emotion, but perfectly willing to believe
that the fault lay with me. Three things abide vividly in the memory:
the Jewish cast of so many of the large inscrutable faces of the wearers
of the white mitres; a little aged, isolated, ecclesiastic of high rank
who muttered irascibly to himself; and a precentor who for a moment
unfolded his hands and lowered his eyes to pull out his watch and peep
at it. Standing just inside the church and watching the people swarm in
their hundreds for this pageantry, I was struck by the comparatively
small number who made any entering salutation. No children did. Perhaps
the raptest worshipper was one of Venice's many dwarfs, a tiny, alert
man in blue linen with a fine eloquent face and a great mass of
iron-grey hair.

This was the only occasion on which I saw the Baptistery accessible
freely to all and the door into the Piazzetta open.

One should not look at a guide-book on the first visit to S. Mark's; nor
on the second or third, unless, of course, one is pressed for time. Let
the walls and the floors and the pillars and the ceiling do their own
quiet magical work first. Later you can gather some of their history.
The church has but one fault which I have discovered, and that is the
circular window to the south. Beautiful as this is, it is utterly out of
place, and whoever cut it was a vandal.

But indeed S. Mark's ought to have a human appeal, considering the human
patience and thought that have gone to its making and beautifying,
inside and out. No other church has had much more than a tithe of such
toil. The Sistine Chapel in Rome is wonderful enough, with its frescoes;
but what is the labour on a fresco compared with that on a mosaic?
Before every mosaic there must be the artist and the glass-maker; and
then think of the labour of translating the artist's picture into this
exacting and difficult medium and absolutely covering every inch of the
building with it! And that is merely decoration; not structure at all.

There are mosaics here which date from the tenth century; and there are
mosaics which are being renewed at this moment, for the prosperity of
the church is continually in the thoughts of the city fathers. The
earliest is that of Christ, the Virgin, and S. Mark, on the inside wall
over the central door. My own favourites are all among the earlier ones.
Indeed, some of the later ones are almost repulsively flamboyant and
self-conscious. Particularly I like the great scene of Christ's agony
high up on the right wall, with its lovely green and gold border,
touched with red. But all the patterns, especially in the roof arches,
are a delight, especially those with green in them. I like too the
picture of Christ on a white ass in the right transept, with the
children laying their cloaks in His way. And the naive scene of Christ's
temptation above it, and the quaint row of disciples beneath it, waiting
to have their feet washed.

Of the more modern mosaics the "Annunciation" and "Adoration of the
Magi" are among the most pleasing.

There are some curious and interesting early mosaics in the chapel of S.
Isidoro in the left transept. It is always dark in this tiny recess, but
bit by bit the incidents in the pictures are revealed. They are very
dramatic, and the principal scene of the saint's torture by being
dragged over the ground by galloping horses is repeated in relief on the
altar. I have failed to find any life of any S. Isidoro that relates the
story. Note the little bronze lions on each side of the altar--two more
for that census of Venetian lions which I somewhere suggest might be
made. The little chapel on the left of S. Isidoro's is known as the
Cappella dei Mascoli, or males, for hither come the young wives of
Venice to pray that they may bring forth little gondoliers. That at any
rate is one story; another says that it was the chapel of a
confraternity of men to which no woman might belong. In the mosaic high
up on the left is a most adorably gay little church, and on the altar
are a pretty baby and angels. On a big pillar close to this chapel is a
Madonna with a votive rifle hung by it; but I have been unable to find
its story. It might be a moving one.

It is not detail, however lovely, for which one seeks S. Mark's, but
general impressions, and these are inexhaustible. It is a temple of
beauty and mystery in which to loiter long, and, as I have said, just by
the S. Liberale in the gallery of the right transept, I made my seat.
From this point one sees under the most favourable conditions the mosaic
of the entry into Jerusalem; the choir; the choir screen with its
pillars and saints; the two mysterious pulpits, beneath which children
creep and play on great days; and all the miracle of the pavements. From
here one can follow the Mass and listen to the singing, undisturbed by
the moving crowd.

S. Mark's is described by Ruskin as an illuminated missal in mosaic. It
is also a treasury of precious stones, for in addition to every known
coloured stone that this earth of ours can produce, with which it is
built and decorated and floored, it has the wonderful Pala d'oro, that
sumptuous altar-piece of gold and silver and enamel which contains some
six thousand jewels. More people, I guess, come to see this than
anything else; but it is worth standing before, if only as a reminder of
how far the Church has travelled since a carpenter's son, who despised
riches, founded it; as a reminder, too, as so much of this building is,
of the day when Constantinople, where in the eleventh century the Pala
d'oro was made, was Christian also.

The fine carved pillars of the high altar's canopy are very beautiful,
and time has given them a quality as of ivory. According to a custodian,
without whom one cannot enter the choir, the remains of S. Mark still
lie beneath the high altar, but this probably is not true. At the back
of the high altar is a second altar with pillars of alabaster, and the
custodian places his candle behind the central ones to illustrate their
soft lucency, and affirms that they are from Solomon's own temple. His
candle illumines also Sansovino's bronze sacristy door, with its fine
reliefs of the Deposition and the Resurrection, with the heads of
Evangelists and Prophets above them. Six realistic heads are here too,
one of which is Titian's, one Sansovino's himself, and one the head of
Aretino, the witty and licentious writer and gilt-edged parasite--this
last a strange selection for a sacristy door. Sansovino designed also
the bronze figures of the Evangelists on the balustrade of the choir
stalls and the reliefs of the Doge's and Dogaressa's private pews.

There are two Treasuries in S. Mark's, One can be seen every day for
half a franc; the other is open only on Fridays and the entrance fee is,
I believe, five francs. I have not laid out this larger amount; but in
the other I have spent some time and seen various priceless temporal
indications of spiritual power. There is a sword of Doge Mocenigo, a
wonderful turquoise bowl, a ring for the Adriatic nuptials, and so
forth. But I doubt if such details of S. Mark's are things to write
about. One should go there to see S. Mark's as a whole, just as one goes
to Venice to see Venice.

The Baptistery is near the entrance on the left as you leave the church.
But while still in the transept it is interesting to stand in the centre
of the aisle with one's back to the high altar and look through the open
door at the Piazza lying in the sun. The scene is fascinating in this
frame; and one also discovers how very much askew the facade of S.
Mark's must be, for instead of seeing, immediately in front, the centre
of the far end of the square, as most persons would expect, one sees
Naya's photograph shop at the corner.

The Baptistery is notable for its mosaic biography of the Baptist, its
noble font, and the beautiful mural tomb of Doge Andrea Dandolo. Andrea,
the last Doge to be buried within S. Mark's, was one of the greatest of
them all. His short reign of but ten years, 1343 to 1354, when he died
aged only forty-six, was much troubled by war with the Genoese; but he
succeeded in completing an alliance against the Turks and in finally
suppressing Zara, and he wrote a history of Venice and revised its code
of laws. Petrarch, who was his intimate friend, described Andrea as
"just, upright, full of zeal and of love for his country ... erudite ...
wise, affable, and humane." His successor was the traitor Marino
Faliero. The tomb of the Doge is one of the most beautiful things in
Venice, all black bronze.

It was the good Andrea, not to be confused with old Henry Dandolo, the
scourge of the Greeks, to whom we are indebted for the charming story of
the origin of certain Venetian churches. It runs thus in the translation
in _St. Mark's Rest_:--

"As head and bishop of the islands, the Bishop Magnus of Altinum went
from place to place to give them comfort, saying that they ought to
thank God for having escaped from these barbarian cruelties. And there
appeared to him S. Peter, ordering him that in the head of Venice, or
truly of the city of Rivoalto, where he should find oxen and sheep
feeding, he was to build a church under his (S. Peter's) name. And thus
he did; building S. Peter's Church in the island of Olivolo [now
Castello], where at present is the seat and cathedral church of Venice.


[Illustration: THE CAMPANILE AND THE PIAZZA FROM COOK'S CORNER]


"Afterwards appeared to him the angel Raphael, committing it to him,
that at another place, where he should find a number of birds together,
he should build him a church: and so he did, which is the church of the
Angel Raphael in Dorsoduro.

"Afterwards appeared to him Messer Jesus Christ our Lord, and committed
to him that in the midst of the city he should build a church, in the
place above which he should see a red cloud rest: and so he did, and it
is San Salvador.

"Afterwards appeared to him the most holy Mary the Virgin, very
beautiful, and commanded him that where he should see a white cloud
rest, he should build a church: which is the church of S. Mary the
Beautiful.

"Yet still appeared to him S. John the Baptist, commanding that he
should build two churches, one near the other,--the one to be in his
name, and the other in the name of his father. Which he did, and they
are San Giovanni in Bragora, and San Zaccaria.

"Then appeared to him the apostles of Christ, wishing, they also, to
have a church in this new city: and they committed it to him that where
he should see twelve cranes in a company, there he should build it."

Of the Baptistery mosaics the most scanned will always be that in which
Salome bears in the head. In another the decapitated saint bends down
and touches his own head. The scene of Christ's baptism is very quaint,
Christ being half-submerged in Jordan's waves, and fish swimming past
during the sacred ceremony. Behind the altar, on which is a block of
stone from Mount Tabor, is a very spirited relief of S. George killing
the dragon.

The adjoining chapel is that named after Cardinal Zeno, who lies in the
magnificent central tomb beneath a bronze effigy of himself, while his
sacred hat is in crimson mosaic on each side of the altar. The tomb and
altar alike are splendid rather than beautiful: its late Renaissance
sculptors, being far removed from Donatello, Mino, and Desiderio, the
last of whom was one of the authors of the beautiful font in the
adjoining Baptistery. Earlier and more satisfactory reliefs are those of
an angel on the right of the altar and a Madonna and Child on the left
which date from a time when sculpture was anonymous. The mosaics
represent the history of S. Mark.

One may walk or sit at will in S. Mark's as long as one wishes, free and
unharassed; but a ticket is required for the galleries and a ticket for
the choir and treasury; and the Baptistery and Zeno chapel can be
entered only by grace of a loafer with a key who expects something in
return for opening it. The history of this loafer's privilege I have not
obtained, and it would be interesting to learn by what authority he is
there, for he has no uniform and he accepts any sum you give him. If all
the hangers-on of the Roman Catholic Church, in Italy alone, who perform
these parasitical functions and stand between man and God, could be
gathered together, what a huge and horrible army it would be!




CHAPTER IV

THE PIAZZA AND THE CAMPANILE

The heart of Venice--Old-fashioned music--Teutonic invaders--The
honeymooners--True republicanism--A city of the poor--The black
shawls--A brief triumph--Red hair--A band-night incident--The
pigeons of the Piazza--The two Procuratie--A royal palace--The
shopkeepers--Florian's--Great names--Venetian restaurants--Little
fish--The old campanile--A noble resolve--The new campanile--The angel
vane--The rival campanili--The welcome lift--The bells--Venice from the
Campanile.


S. Mark's Square, or the Piazza, is more than the centre of Venice: to a
large extent it is Venice. Good Venetians when they die flit evermore
among its arcades.

No other city has so representative a heart. On the four musical nights
here--afternoons in the winter--the Piazza draws like a magnet. That
every stranger is here, you may be sure, and most Venetian men. Some sit
outside Florian's and the other cafes; others walk round and round the
bandstand; others pause fascinated beside the musicians. And so it has
been for centuries, and will be. New ideas and fashions come slowly into
this city, where one does quite naturally what one's father and
grandfather did; and a good instance of such contented conservatism is
to be found in the music offered to these contented crowds, for they are
still true to Verdi, Wagner, and Rossini, and with reluctance are
experiments made among the newer men.

In the daytime the population of the Piazza is more foreign than
Venetian. In fact the only Venetians to be seen are waiters,
photographers, and guides, the knots of errand boys watching the
artists, and, I might add, the pigeons. But at night Venice claims it,
although the foreigner is there too. It is amusing to sit at a table on
the outside edge of Florian's great quadrangle of chairs and watch the
nationalities, the Venetians, the Germans, the Austrians, and the
Anglo-Saxons, as they move steadily round and round. Venice is, of
course, the paradise both of Germans and Austrians. Every day in the
spring and summer one or two steamers arrive from Trieste packed with
Austrian tourists awfully arrayed. Some hundreds have to return to
Trieste at 2 o'clock; other hundreds remain till night. The beautiful
word Venezia, which we cheapen but not too cruelly to Venice and the
French soften to Venise, is alas! to Teutonic tongues Venedig.

The Venetians reach the Square first, smart, knowing, confident,
friendly, and cheerful; then the Germans and Austrians, very obviously
trippers; and then, after their hotel dinners, at about quarter past
nine, the English: the women with low necks, the men in white shirts,
talking a shade too loud, monarchs of all they survey. But the
honeymooners are the best--the solicitous young bridegrooms from
Surbiton and Chislehurst in their dinner-jackets and black ties; their
slender brides, with pretty wraps on their heads, here probably for the
last or the first time, and so determined to appear Continental and
tolerant, bless their hearts! They walk round and round, or sit over
their coffee, and would be so happy and unselfconscious and clinging
were it not for the other English here.

The fine republicanism of Venice is nowhere so apparent as on band
nights. Such aristocrats as the city holds (and judging from the
condition of the palaces to-day, there cannot be many now in residence)
either look exactly like the middle classes or abstain from the Piazza.
The prevailing type is the well-to-do citizen, very rarely with his
women folk, who moves among street urchins at play; cigar-end hunters;
soldiers watchful for officers to salute; officers sometimes returning
and often ignoring salutes; groups of slim upright Venetian girls in the
stately black shawls, moving, as they always do, like queens; little
uniformed schoolboys in "crocodiles"; a policeman or two; a party from
the country; a workman with his wife and babies (for though the
Venetians adore babies they see no incongruity in keeping them up till
ten o'clock); epauletted and cockhatted gendarmes; and at intervals,
like ghosts, officials from the arsenal, often alone, in their spotless
white linen.

Every type of Venetian is seen in the Square, save one--the gondolier.
Never have I seen a gondolier there, day or night: not because it is too
grand for him, but it is off his beat. When he has done his work he
prefers the wine shops of his own sestiere. No thought of any want of
welcome would deter him, for Venice is republic to the core. In fact one
might go farther and say that it is a city of the poor. Where the poor
lived in the great days when the palaces were occupied by the rich, one
cannot quite understand, since the palace is the staple building; but
there is no doubt as to where they live now: they live everywhere. The
number of palaces which are wholly occupied by one family must be
infinitesimal; the rest are tenements, anything but model buildings,
rookeries. Venice has no aristocratic quarter as other cities have. The
poor establish themselves either in a palace or as near it as possible.

I have referred to the girls in their black shawls or scialli. They
remain in the memory as one of Venice's most distinguished possessions.
A handsome young private gondolier in white linen with a coloured scarf,
bending to the oar and thrusting his boat forward with muscular strokes,
is a delight to watch; but he is without mystery. These girls have grace
and mystery too. They are so foreign, so slender and straight, so sad.
Their faces are capable of animation, but their prevailing expression is
melancholy. Why is this? Is it because they know how secondary a place
woman holds in this city of well-nourished, self-satisfied men? Is it
that they know that a girl's life is so brief: one day as supple and
active as they are now and the next a crone? For it is one of the
tragedies that the Venetian atmosphere so rapidly ages women.

But in their prime the Venetian girls in the black shawls are
distinguished indeed, and there was not a little sagacity in the remark
to me by an observer who said that, were they wise, all women would
adopt a uniform. One has often thought this, in London, when a nurse in
blue or grey passes refreshingly along a pavement made bizarre by
expensive and foolish fashions; one realizes it even more in Venice.

Most of these girls have dark or black hair. The famous red hair of
Venetian women is rarely seen out of pictures.

Round and round goes the chattering contented crowd, while every table
at each of the four cafes, Florian's and the Aurora, the Quadri and the
Ortes Rosa, swells the noise. Now and then the music, or the ordinary
murmur of the Square in the long intervals, is broken by the noisy
rattle of a descending shop shutter, or the hour is struck by the
Merceria clock's bronze giants; now and then a pigeon crosses the sky
and shows luminous where the light strikes its breast; now and then a
feather flutters from a window ledge, great bats flit up and down, and
the mosquitoes shrill in one's ear. It is an entertainment never failing
in interest to the observer, and not the least amusing question that one
asks oneself is, Where does every one sleep?

I shall always remember one band night here, for it was then that I saw
a girl and her father whose images will never leave me, I know not why.
Every now and then, but seldom indeed, a strange face or form will thus
suddenly photograph itself on the memory, when it is only with the
utmost concentrated effort, or not at all, that we can call up mental
pictures of those near and dear to us. I know nothing of these two; I
saw them only once again, and then in just the same fugitive way; but if
an artist were now to show me a portrait of either, I could point out
where his hand was at fault. The band was playing the usual music--_Il
Trovatore_ or _Aida_ or _Lohengrin_--and the crowd was circulating when
an elderly man with a long-pointed grey beard and moustache and the
peculiar cast of countenance belonging to them (Don Quixotic) walked
past. He wore a straw hat slightly tilted and was smoking a cigar. His
arm was passed through that of a tall slender girl of about his own
height, and, say, twenty-five, in red. She was leaning towards him and
he slightly inclined towards her. They walked faster than Venice, and
talked animatedly in English as they passed me, and the world had no one
in it but themselves; and so they disappeared, with long strides and a
curious ease of combined movement almost like skillful partners in a
dance. Two nights later I saw them again. This time she was in black,
and again they sailed through the crowd, a little leaning towards each
other, he again holding her arm, and again both discussing in English
something with such interest that they were conscious of nothing around
them. Sitting outside a cafe on the Piazza every evening for a month,
one naturally sees many travellers come and go; but none other in that
phantasmagoria left any mark on my mind. Why did these?

So much for S. Mark's Square by night. With thousands of persons, to
think of S. Mark's Square by day is chiefly to think of pigeons. Many a
visitor to Venice who cannot remember the details of a single painting
there can show you a photograph of herself with pigeons on her shoulders
and arms. Photographers and dealers in maize are here all day to effect
these pretty conjunctions; but the Kodak has seriously impaired their
profits. The birds are smaller than our London monsters and not quite so
brilliantly burnished. How many there are I have no idea; but since they
are sacred, their numbers must be ever increasing. Why they are sacred
is something of a mystery. One story states that the great Enrico
Dandolo had carrier-pigeons with him in the East which conveyed the
grand tidings of victories to Venice; another says that the same heroic
old man was put in possession of valuable strategic information by means
of a carrier-pigeon, and on returning to Venice proclaimed it a bird to
be reverenced. There was once a custom of loosing a number of pigeons
among the crowd in the Piazza on Palm Sunday. The birds being weighted
floundered downwards and were caught and killed for the pot; but such as
escaped were held to have earned their liberty for ever.


[Illustration: THE PRESENTATION
FROM THE PAINTING BY TITIAN
_In the Accademia_]


At night no doubt the pigeons roost among S. Mark's statuary and on
convenient ledges in the neighbourhood; by day, when not on the pavement
of the Piazza, the bulk of the flock are dotted about among the reliefs
of the Atrio, facing S. Mark's.

They have no timidity, but by a kind of honourable understanding they
all affect to be startled by the bells at certain hours and the midday
gun, and ascend in a grey cloud for a few seconds.

They are never so engaging as when flying double, bird and shadow,
against the Campanile.

Their collective cooing fills the air and makes the Piazza's day music.

Venetians crossing the Piazza walk straight on, through the birds, like
Moses crossing the Red Sea; the foreigners pick their way.

What with S. Mark's and the pigeons, the Campanile and coffee, few
visitors have any time to inquire as to the other buildings of the
Piazza. Nor are they of much interest. Briefly they are the Old
Procuratie, which forms the side on which the clock is, the Atrio or
Nuova Fabbrica opposite S. Mark's, and the New Procuratie on the
Campanile side. The Old Procuratie, whose main row of windows I once
counted, making either a hundred or a hundred and one, is now offices
and, above, residences. Here once abode the nine procurators of Venice
who, under the Doge, ruled the city.

The New Procuratie is now the Royal Palace, and you may see the royal
lackeys conversing with the sentinels in the doorway by Florian's. It is
the finer building: over the arches it has good sprawling
Michael-Angelesque figures, noble lions' heads, and massive
ornamentations.

I don't know for certain, but I should guess that the Royal Palace in
Venice is the only abode of a European King that has shops underneath
it. Wisely the sleeping apartments face the Grand Canal, with a garden
intervening; were they on the Piazza side sleep would be very
difficult. But all the great State rooms overlook the Piazza. The Palace
is open on fixed days and shown by a demure flunkey in an English bowler
hat, but it should be the last place to be visited by the sightseer. Its
only real treasures--the Tintorettos illustrating the life of S.
Mark--were not visible on the only occasion on which I ventured in.

Beneath these three buildings--the two Procuratie and the Fabbrica
Nuova--runs an arcade where the Venetians congregate in wet weather and
where the snares for tourists are chiefly laid by the dealers in
jewellery, coral, statuary, lace, glass, and mosaic. But the Venetian
shopkeepers are not clever: they have not the sense to leave the nibbler
alone. One has not been looking in the window for more than two seconds
before a silky-voiced youth appears at the door and begins to recommend
his wares and invite custom; and then of course one moves away in
terror.

Here, too, under the arcade, are the head-quarters of the cafes, which
do most of their business on the pavement of the Square. Of these
Florian's is the oldest and best. At certain hours, however, one must
cross the Square to either the Ortes Rosa or Quadri, or be roasted. The
original Florian was wise in his choice of site, for he has more shady
hours than his rivals opposite. In an advertisement of the cafe in the
musical programme it is stated that, "the oldest and most aristocratic
establishment of its kind in Venice, it can count among its clients,
since 1720, Byron, Goethe, Rousseau, Canova, Dumas, and Moor," meaning
by Moor not Othello but Byron's friend and biographer, the Anacreon of
Erin. How Florian's early patrons looked one can see in a brilliant
little picture by Guardi in the National Gallery, No. 2099. The cafe
boasts that its doors are never shut, day or night; and I have no doubt
that this is true, but I have never tested it in the small hours.

Oddly enough there are no restaurants in the Piazza, but many about its
borders on the north and west. The visitor to Venice, as a rule, eats in
his hotel; and I think he is wise. But wishing to be in Venice rather
more thoroughly than that, I once lived in rooms for a month and ate in
all the restaurants in turn. Having had this experience I expect to be
believed when I say that the restaurants of Venice are not good. The
food is monotonous, and the waiting, even at what is called the best,
the Bauer-Gruenwald, say, or the Pilsen, is leisurely. Add to this that
the guests receive no welcome, partly because, all the places being
understaffed, no one can be spared for that friendly office, and partly
because politeness is not a Venetian foible. An immense interval then
elapses before the lista, or bill of fare, is brought, partly because
there is no waiter disengaged and partly because there seems to be a law
in Venetian restaurants that one lista shall suffice for eight tables.

Then comes the struggle--to find anything new either to eat or drink.
The lista contains in print a large number of attractive things, but few
are obtainable, for on an Italian menu print is nothing: it is only the
written words that have any relevance. The print is in Italian and
German, the reason being that Italians, Germans, and Austrians are the
only people who resort to restaurants. The English and Americans eat in
their hotels, en pension. (In Venice, I might say, all foreigners are
addressed first in German, except by the little boys in the streets
whose one desire on earth is to direct you to S. Marco and be paid for
their trouble. They call you _m'soo_.) Once a meal is ordered it comes
rapidly enough, but one has to be very hungry to enjoy it. For the most
part Venetian food is Italian food: that is to say, almost wholly veal
and paste; but in the matter of fish Venice has her specialities. There
are, for examples, those little toy octopuses which on my first visit,
twenty-five years ago, used to be seen everywhere in baskets at corners,
but now have disappeared from the streets. These are known as calamai or
calamaretti, and if one has the courage to take the shuddering first
step that counts they will be found to be very good. But they fail to
look nice. Better still are scampi, a kind of small crawfish, rather
like tenderer and sweeter langouste.

To the investigator I recommend the dish called variously frutta di mare
and fritto misto, in which one has a fried jumble of the smaller sea
creatures of the lagoon, to the scampi and calamaretti being added fresh
sardines (which the fishermen catch with the hand at low tide), shrimps,
little soles, little red mullets, and a slice or two of big cuttle fish.
A popular large fish is the bronzino, and great steaks of tunny are
always in demand too. But considering Venice's peculiar position with
regard to the sea and her boasted dominion over it fish are very dear.

Even more striking is the dearness of fruit, but this, I take it, is due
to the distance that it must come, either by rail or water. No
restaurant that I discovered--as in the fair land of France and indeed
elsewhere in Italy--places wine or grapes free on the table.

As I say, I tried all the Venetian houses, small and large--the Cappello
Nero, the Bella Venezia, the Antico Panada, the Bauer-Gruenwald, the
Bonvecchiato, the Cavalletti, the Pilsen; and the only one I felt any
desire to return to was the Pilsen, which is large and noisy and
intensely Teutonic, but a shade more attentive than the others. The
Bella Venezia is the best purely Venetian house.

I cannot remember the old campanile with enough vividness to be sure,
but my impression is that its brick was a mellower tint than that of the
new: nearer the richness of S. Giorgio Maggiore's, across the water.
Time may do as much for the new campanile, but at present its colour is
not very satisfactory except when the sun is setting. Indeed, so new is
it that one cannot think of it as having any association whatever with
S. Mark's. If it belongs to anything it is to Venice as a whole, or
possibly the Royal Palace. Yet one ought not to cavil, for it stands so
bravely on the spot where its predecessor fell, and this is a very
satisfactory proof that the Venetians, for all the decay of their lovely
city and the disappearance of their marvellous power, are Venetians
still.

The old campanile, after giving various warnings, fell on July 14, 1902,
at half-past nine in the morning. On the evening of the same day the
Town Council met, under the chairmanship of Count Grimani, the mayor,
and without the least hesitation decided that a successor must be
erected: in the fine words of the count: "Dov'era, com'era" ("Where it
was and as it was"). Sympathy and contributions poured in from the
outside world to strengthen the hands of the Venetians, and on S. Mark's
Day (April 25), 1903, the first stone was laid. On S. Mark's Day, 1912,
the new campanile was declared complete in every part and blessed in the
presence of representatives of all Italy, while 2479 pigeons, brought
hither for the purpose, carried the tidings to every corner of the
country.

The most remarkable circumstance about the fall of the campanile is
that no one was hurt. The Piazza and Piazzetta are by no means empty at
half-past nine in the morning, yet these myriad tons of brick and stone
sank bodily to the ground and not a human bruise resulted. Here its
behaviour was better than that of the previous campanile of S. Giorgio
Maggiore, which, when it fell in 1774, killed one monk and injured two
others. Nor was S. Mark's harmed, although its sacristan confesses to
have been dumb for three days from the shock. The falling golden angel
from the top of the campanile was found in front of the central door as
though to protect the church. Sansovino's Loggetta, it is true, was
crushed and buried beneath the debris, but human energy is indomitable,
and the present state of that structure is a testimony to the skill and
tenacity which still inhabit Venetian hands and breasts.

What I chiefly miss in the new campanile is any aerial suggestion. It
has actual solidity in every inch of it, apart from the fact that it
also conveys the idea of solidity, as any building must which has taken
the place of one so misguided as to fall down. But its want of this
intangible quality, together with its newness, have displaced it in my
eyes as the king campanile of Venice. In my eyes the campanile of S.
Giorgio Maggiore now reigns supreme, while I am very much attached also
to those of the Frari and S. Francesco della Vigna. But let S. Mark's
campanile take heart: some day Anno Domini will claim these others too,
and then the rivalry will pass. But as it is, morning, noon, and evening
the warm red bricks and rich green copper top of S. Giorgio Maggiore's
bell-tower draw the gaze first, and hold it longest. It is the most
beautiful campanile of all, and its inevitableness is such that did we
not know the truth we should wonder if the six days of creation had not
included an afternoon for the ordainment of such edifices.

It would need a Hans Andersen to describe the feelings of the other
Venetian campaniles when S. Mark's tall column fell. S. Giorgio's I
imagine instantly took command, but no doubt there were other claimants
to the throne. I rather fancy that the Frari's had something to say, and
S. Pietro in Castello's also, on account of his age and his early
importance; but who could pay any serious attention at that time to a
tower so pathetically out of the perpendicular as he now is?

The new campanile endeavours to reproduce the old faithfully, and it was
found possible to utilize a little of the old material. The figures of
Venice on the east wall above the belfry canopy and Justice on the west
are the ancient ones pieced together and made whole; the lions on the
north and south sides are new. The golden angel on the summit is the old
one restored, with the novelty, to her, as to us, of being set on a
pivot to act as a vane. I made this discovery for myself, after being
puzzled by what might have been fancied changes of posture from day to
day, due to optical illusion. One of the shopkeepers on the Square, who
has the campanile before his eye continually, replied, however, when I
asked him if the figure was fixed or movable, "Fixed." This double duty
of the new campanile angel--to shine in golden glory over the city and
also to tell the wind--must be a little mortifying to her celestial
sister on the campanile of S. Giorgio, who is immovable. But no doubt
she has philosophy enough to consider subjection to the caprices of the
breeze a humiliation.

Another change for which one cannot be too grateful is the lift. For the
modest price of a franc one can be whirled to the belfry in a few
seconds at any time of the day and refresh one's eyes with the city and
the lagoon, the Tyrolese Alps, and the Euganean hills. Of old one
ascended painfully; but never again. Before the fall there were five
bells, of which only the greatest escaped injury. The other four were
taken to a foundry set up on the island of Sant'Elena and there fused
and recast at the personal cost of His Holiness the late Pope, who was
Patriarch of Venice. I advise no one to remain in the belfry when the
five are at work. They begin slowly and with some method; they proceed
to a deafening cacophony, tolerable only when one is far distant.

There are certain surprises in the view from the campanile. One is that
none of the water of the city is visible--not a gleam--except a few
yards of the Grand Canal and a stretch of the Canale della Giudecca; the
houses are too high for any of the by-ways to be seen. Another
revelation is that the floor pattern of the Piazza has no relation to
its sides. The roofs of Venice we observe to be neither red nor brown,
but something between the two. Looking first to the north, over the
three flagstaffs and the pigeon feeders and the Merceria clock, we see
away across the lagoon the huge sheds of the dirigibles and (to the
left) the long railway causeway joining Venice to the mainland as by a
thread. Immediately below us in the north-east are the domes of S.
Mark's, surmounted by the graceful golden balls on their branches,
springing from the leaden roof, and farther off are the rising bulk of
SS. Giovanni e Paolo, with its derivative dome and golden balls, the
leaning tower of S. Maria del Pianto, and beyond this the cemetery and
Murano. Beneath us on the east side is the Ducal Palace, and we look
right into the courtyard and on to the prison roof. Farther away are
the green trees of the Giardini Pubblici, the leaning tower of S.
Pietro di Castello, and S. Nicholas of the Lido. In the south-east are
the Lido's various hotels and the islands of S. Lazzaro (with the
campanile) and S. Servolo. In the south is the Grand Canal with a Guardi
pattern of gondolas upon it, criss-crossing like flies; then S.
Giorgio's lovely island and the Giudecca, and beyond these various
islands of the lagoon: La Grazia, S. Clemente, and, in the far distance,
Malamocco. In the south-west the Custom House pushes its nose into the
water, with the vast white mountain of the Salute behind it. In the west
is the Piazza, immediately below, with its myriad tables and chairs;
then the backs of the S. Moise statues; and farther away the Frari and
its campanile, the huge telegraph-wire carriers of the harbour; across
the water Fusina, and beyond in the far distance the jagged Euganean
hills.

At sunset the landscape is sharpened and brought nearer. The deep blue
of the real sea, beyond the lagoon, grows deeper; the great fields of
mud (if it is low tide) gleam and glisten. And so it will ever be.




CHAPTER V

THE DOGES' PALACE. I: THE INTERIOR

Uningratiating splendour--Doges and Heaven--Venetian pride--The most
beautiful picture of all--A non-scriptural Tintoretto--The Sala del
Collegio--The Sala del Senato--More Doges and Heaven--The Council of
Ten--Anonymous charges--Tintoretto's "Last Judgment"--An immense
room--Tintoretto's "Paradiso"--Sebastiano Ziani and his exploits--Pope
Alexander III and Barbarossa--Old blind Dandolo--The Crusades--Zara--The
Fall of Constantinople--Marino Faliero and his fall--The first Doge in
the room--The last Doge in the room--The Sala dello Scrutinio--Palma's
"Last Judgment"--A short way with mistresses--The rest of the Doges--Two
battle pictures--The Doges' suites--The Archaeological Museum--The Bridge
of Sighs--The dungeons.


I have to confess to weariness in the Ducal apartments. The rooms are
splendid, no doubt, and the pictures are monuments of energy; but it is
the windows that frame the most delectable scenes. In Venice, where the
sun usually shines, one's normal wish is to be out, except when, as in
S. Mark's there is the wonder of dimness too. For Venice is not like
other historic cities; Venice, for all her treasures of art, is first
and foremost the bride of the Adriatic, and the call of the sea is
strong. Art's opportunity is the dull days and rainy.

With the best will to do so, I cannot be much impressed by the glory and
power of the Doges. They wear a look, to me, very little removed from
Town Councillors: carried out to the highest power, no doubt, but
incorrigibly municipal none the less; and the journey through these
halls of their deliberations is tedious and unenchanting. That I am
wrong I am only too well aware. Does not Venetian history, with its
triumphs and pageantry of world-power, prove it? And would Titian and
Paul Veronese and Tintoretto have done all this for a Mayor and
Corporation? These are awkward questions. None the less, there it is,
and the Doges' Palace, within, would impart no thrill to me were it not
for Tintoretto's "Bacchus and Ariadne."

Having paid for our tickets (for only on Sundays and holidays is the
Palace free) we take the Scala d'Oro, designed by Sansovino, originally
intended only for the feet of the grandees of the Golden Book. The first
room is an ante-room where catalogues are sold; but these are not
needed, for every room, or nearly every room, has hand-charts of the
paintings, and every room has a custodian eager to impart information.
Next is the Hall of the Four Doors, with its famous and typical
Titian--Doge Grimani, fully armed and accompanied by warriors,
ecstatically acknowledging religion, as symbolized by a woman, a cross,
and countless cherubim. Behind her is S. Mark with an expression of some
sternness, and beside him his lion, roaring.

Doges, it appears,--at any rate the Doges who reigned during Titian's
long life--had no sense of humour, or they could not have permitted this
kind of self-glorification in paint. Both here and at the Accademia we
shall see picture after picture in which these purse-proud Venetian
administrators, suspecting no incongruity or absurdity, are placed, by
Titian and Tintoretto, on terms of perfect intimacy with the hierarchy
of heaven. Sometimes they merely fraternize; sometimes they masquerade
as the Three Kings or Wise Men from the East; but always it is into the
New Testament that, with the aid of the brush of genius, they force
their way.

Modesty can never have been a Venetian characteristic; nor is it now,
when Venice is only a museum and show place. All the Venetians--the men,
that is,--whom one sees in the Piazza have an air of profound
self-satisfaction. And this palace of the Doges is no training-place for
humility; for if its walls do not bear witness, glorious and chromatic,
to the greatness of a Doge, it is merely because the greatness of the
Republic requires the space. In this room, for example, we find Tiepolo
allegorizing Venice as the conqueror of the sea.

And now for the jewel of art in the Doges' Palace. It is in the room
opposite the door by which we entered--the ante-room of the Sala del
Collegio--and it faces us, on the left as we enter: the "Bacchus and
Ariadne" of Tintoretto. We have all seen the "Bacchus and Ariadne" of
Titian in our National Gallery, that superb, burning, synchronized
epitome of the whole legend. Tintoretto has chosen one incident only;
Love bringing Bacchus to the arms of Ariadne and at the same moment
placing on his head a starry coronal. Even here the eternal pride of
Venice comes in, for, made local, it has been construed as Love, or say
Destiny, completing the nuptials of the Adriatic (Bacchus) with Venice
(Ariadne), and conferring on Venice the crown of supremacy. But that
matters nothing. What matters is that the picture is at once
Tintoretto's simplest work and his most lovely. One can do nothing but
enjoy it in a kind of stupor of satisfaction, so soothing and perfect is
it. His "Crucifixion," which we shall see at the Scuola of S. Rocco,
must ever be this giant painter's most tremendous achievement; but the
picture before us must equally remain his culminating effort in serene,
absolute beauty. Three other mythological paintings, companions of the
"Bacchus," are here too, of which I like best the "Minerva" and the
"Mercury"; but they are far from having the quality of that other. I
have an idea that "The Origin of the Milky Way," in the National
Gallery, was painted as a ceiling piece to go with these four, but I
have no data for the theory, beyond its similarity in size and scheme.
The other great picture in this room is Paul Veronese's sumptuous "Rape
of Europa."


[Illustration: BACCHUS AND ARIADNE
FROM THE PAINTING BY TINTORETTO
_In the Doges' Palace_]


The Sala del Collegio itself, leading from this room, is full of Doges
in all the magnificence of paint, above the tawdriest of wainscotting.
Tintoretto gives us Doge Andrea Gritti praying to the Virgin, Doge
Francesco Donato witnessing as an honoured guest the nuptials of S.
Catherine, Doge Niccolo da Ponte surveying the Virgin in glory, and Doge
Alvise Mocenigo condescending to adore his Saviour. Paul Veronese
depicts an allegory of the battle of Lepanto in 1571, at which Venice
temporarily overcame the Turks. The kneeling white-bearded warrior
beside S. Giustina is the victor, afterwards Doge Sebastiano Venier, and
Christ looks on in approval. Tintoretto also painted for the Palace a
picture of this battle, but it perished in the fire of 1576. It is
Veronese who painted the virtues and attributes on the ceiling, one of
his most famous works being the woman with a web, who is sometimes
called "Industry" and sometimes "Dialectics," so flexible is symbolism.
"Fidelity" has a dog with a fine trustful head. To my weary eye the
finest of the groups is that of Mars and Neptune, with flying cherubs,
which is superbly drawn and coloured. Nothing but a chaise-longue on
which to lie supine, at ease, can make the study of these wonderful
ceilings anything but a distressing source of fatigue.

The next room is the Sala del Senato, and here again we find a blend of
heaven and Venice, with Doges as a common denominator. A "Descent from
the Cross" (by Tintoretto) is witnessed by Doge Pietro Lando and Doge
Marcantonio Trevisan; and the same hand gives us Pietro Loredan
imploring the aid of the Virgin. In the centre ceiling painting
Tintoretto depicts Venice as Queen of the Sea. The other artist here is
Palma the younger, whose principal picture represents Doge Leonardo
Loredan presiding over an attack by a lion on a bull, typifying the
position of the Republic when Pope Julius launched the League of Cambray
against it in 1508. The Doge does not look dismayed, but Venice never
recovered from the blow.

The room on the right of the throne leads to the chapel, which has
several small pictures. A Giovanni Bellini is over the altar, but it is
not one of his best. During his long life in Venice Bellini saw ten
Doges, and in his capacity as ducal painter painted four of them.

Returning to the Sala delle Quattro Porte (by way of the "Bacchus and
Ariadne" room, if we are wise), we make for the Sala del Consiglio dei
Dieci, the terrible Council of Ten. All Venetian histories are eloquent
upon this secret Tribunal, which, more powerful far than the Doge
himself, for five centuries, beginning early in the fourteenth, ruled
the city. On the walls are historical paintings which are admirable
examples of story-telling, and on the ceiling are Veroneses, original or
copied, the best of which depicts an old man with his head on his hand,
fine both in drawing and colour. It was in the wall of the next room
that the famous Bocca di Leone was placed, into which were dropped those
anonymous charges against Venetian citizens which the Council of Ten
investigated, and if true, or, very likely, if not true, punished with
such swiftness and thoroughness. How a state that offered such easy
temptations to anti-social baseness and treachery could expect to
prosper one cannot imagine. It suggests that the Venetian knowledge of
human nature was defective at the roots.

In the next room the Three Heads of the Council of Ten debated, and here
the attendant goes into spasms of delight over a dazzling inlaid floor.

This is all that is shown upstairs, for the piombi, or prison cells in
the leaden roof, are now closed.

Downstairs we come to the two Great Halls--first the gigantic Sala del
Maggior Consiglio, with Tintoretto's "Paradiso" at one end; historical
pictures all around; the portraits of the Doges above; a gorgeous
ceiling which, I fear, demands attention; and, mercifully, the little
balcony over the lagoon for escape and recovery. But first let us peep
into the room on the left, where the remains of Guariento's fresco of
Paradise, which Tintoretto was to supersede, have been set up: a
necessarily somewhat meaningless assemblage of delicate tints and pure
drawing. Then the photograph stall, which is in that ancient room of the
palace that has the two beautiful windows on a lower level than the
rest.

It is melancholy to look round this gigantic sala of the great Council
and think of the pictures which were destroyed by the great fire in
1576, when Sebastiano Venier was Doge, among them that rendering of the
battle of Lepanto, the Doge's own victory, which Tintoretto painted with
such enthusiasm. A list of only a few of the works of art which from
time to time have fallen to the flames would be tragic reading. Among
the artists whose paintings were lost in the 1576 fire were, in addition
to Tintoretto, Titian, Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, Gentile da
Fabriano and Carpaccio. Sad, too, to think that the Senators who once
thronged here--those grave, astute gentlemen in furred cloaks whom
Tintoretto and Titian and Moroni and Moretto painted for us--assemble
here no more. Sightseers now claim the palace, and the administrators of
Venetian affairs meet in the Municipio, or Town Hall, on the Grand
Canal.

The best thing about the room is the room itself: the courage of it in a
little place like Venice! Next, I suppose, all eyes turn to the
"Paradiso," and they can do nothing else if the custodian has made
himself one of the party, as he is apt to do. The custodians of Venice
are in the main silent, pessimistic men. They themselves neither take
interest in art nor understand why you should. Their attitude to you is
if not contempt only one remove from it. But one of the officials in the
Doges' Palace who is sometimes to be found in this Great Hall is both
enthusiastic and vocal. He has English too, a little. His weakness for
the "Paradiso" is chiefly due to the circumstance that it is the
"largest oil painting in the world." I dare say this is true; but the
same claim, I recall, was once made for an original poster in the
Strand. The "Paradiso" was one of Tintoretto's last works, the
commission coming to him only by the accident of Veronese's death.
Veronese was the artist first chosen, with a Bassano to assist, but when
he died, Tintoretto, who had been passed over as too old, was permitted
to try. The great man, painting on canvas, at the Misericordia, which
had been turned into a studio for him, and being assisted by his son
Domenico, finished it in 1590; and it was the delight of Venice. At
first he refused payment for it, and then consented to take a present,
but a smaller one than the Senate wished to offer.

The scheme of the work is logical and again illustrates his thoughtful
thoroughness. At the head of all is Christ with His Mother, about and
around them the angelic host led by the archangels--Michael with the
scales, Gabriel with lilies, and Raphael, in prayer, each of whom
presides, as we have seen, over one corner of the Palace. The next
circle contains the greatest Biblical figures, Moses, David, Abraham,
Solomon, Noah, the Evangelists (S. Mark prominent with his lion), and
the Early Fathers. The rest of the picture is given to saints and
martyrs. Not the least interesting figure is the S. Christopher, on the
right, low down by the door. At his feet is the painter's daughter, for
years his constant companion, who died while he was at work upon this
masterpiece.

The ceiling should be examined, if one has the strength, for Veronese's
sumptuous allegory of the Apotheosis of Venice. In this work the
painter's wife sat for Venice, as she sat also for Europa in the picture
which we have just seen in the Ante-Collegio.

On the walls are one-and-twenty representations of scenes in Venetian
history devoted to the exploits of the two Doges, Sebastiano Ziani
(1172-1178) and Enrico Dandolo (1192-1205). The greatest moment in the
career of Ziani was the meeting of Barbarossa and the Pope, Alexander
III, at S. Mark's, which has already been described; but his reign was
eventful throughout. His first act as Doge was to punish the
assassination of his predecessor, Vitale Michiel, who, for what was held
to be the bad management of an Eastern campaign which utterly and
disastrously failed, and for other reasons, was killed by the mob
outside S. Zaccaria. To him succeeded Ziani and the close of the long
feud between the Pope and the Emperor. It was the Pope's sojourn in
Venice and his pleasure in the Venetians' hospitality which led to the
elaboration of the ceremony of espousing the Adriatic. The Pope gave
Ziani a consecrated ring with which to wed his bride, and much splendour
was added to the pageant; while Ziani, on his return from a visit to the
Pope at the Vatican, where the reconciliation with Barbarossa made it
possible for the Pontiff to be at ease again, brought with him various
pompous insignia that enormously increased his prestige among simple
folk. It was also Ziani who had the columns of S. Theodore and the Lion
erected on the Molo, while it was in his reign that the first Rialto
bridge was begun. Having been Doge for six years, he retired to the
monastery of S. Giorgio and there died some years later, leaving a large
fortune to the poor of Venice and the church of S. Mark.

The paintings represent the Pope Alexander III recognized by the Doge
when hiding in Venice; the departure of the Papal and Venetian
Ambassadors for Pavia to interview the Emperor; the Pope presenting the
Doge with a blessed candle; the Ambassadors before the Emperor (by
Tintoretto); the Pope presenting the Doge with a sword, on the Molo; the
Pope blessing the Doge; the naval battle of Salvatore, in which the
Emperor Otto was captured; the Doge presenting Otto to the Pope; the
Pope giving Otto his liberty; the Emperor at the Pope's feet in the
vestibule of S. Mark's; the arrival of the Pope elsewhere; the Emperor
and the Doge at Ancona; the Pope presenting the Doge with gifts in Rome.


[Illustration: THE CORNER OF THE OLD LIBRARY AND THE DOGES' PALACE]


Ziani seems to have been a man of address, but the great Enrico Dandolo
was something more. He was a superb adventurer. He became Doge in 1193,
at the trifling age of eighty-four, with eyes that had long been dimmed,
and at once plunged into enterprises which, if not greatly to the good
of Venice, proved his own indomitable spirit and resource. It was the
time of the Fourth Crusade and the Venetians were asked to supply
transports for the French warriors of the Cross to the theatre of war.
After much discussion Dandolo replied that they would do so, the terms
being that the Venetian vessels should carry 4500 horses, 9000 esquires,
and 20,000 foot soldiers, with provisions for nine months, and for this
they should be paid 85,000 silver marks. Venice also would participate
in the actual fighting to the extent of providing fifty galleys, on
condition that half of every conquest, whether by sea or by land, should
be hers. Such was the arrangement, and the shipbuilding began at once.

But disaster after disaster occurred. The Christian commander sickened
and died; a number of Crusaders backed out; others went direct to
Palestine. This meant that the Venetians, who had prepared for a mighty
host, incurred immense expenses which could not be met. As some
reparation it was suggested to the small army of Crusaders who did
arrive in the city for deportation that on their way to the Holy Land
they should stop at Zara, on the Dalmatian coast, an unruly dependence
of the Republic, and assist in chastising it. The objections to this
course were grave. One was that the King of Hungary, in whose dominions
was Zara, was a Christian and a Crusader himself; another that the Pope
(Innocent III) forbade the project. Old blind Dandolo, however, was
adamant. Not only must the Crusaders help the Venetians whom they had so
much embarrassed by their broken bond, but he would go too. Calling the
people together in S. Mark's, this ancient sightless bravo asked if it
was not right that he should depart on this high mission, and they
answered yes. Descending from the pulpit, he knelt at the altar and on
his bonnet the Cross was fastened.

Before the expedition left, a messenger came from Alexius, nephew of the
usurping King of Constantinople and son of the rightful king, praying
the Venetians to sail first for Constantinople and support his father's
case, and to deal faithfully with Zara later; but Dandolo said that the
rebellious Zara had prior claims, and in spite of Papal threats and even
excommunication, he sailed for that place on November 10, 1202. It did
not take long to subdue the garrison, but winter setting in, Dandolo
decided to encamp there until the spring. The delay was not profitable
to the Holy Cause. The French and the Venetians grew quarrelsome, and
letters from the Pope warned the French (who held him in a dread not
shared by their allies) that they must leave Zara and proceed with the
Crusade instantly, or expect to suffer his wrath.

Then arrived the Prince Alexius once more, with definite promises of
money and men for the Crusades if the allies would come at once and win
back for him the Constantinople throne. Dandolo, who saw immense
Venetian advantage here, agreed, and carrying with it most of the
French, the fleet sailed for the Golden Horn. Dandolo, I might remark,
was now ninety-four, and it should not be forgotten that it was when he
was an emissary of the Republic at Constantinople years before that he
had been deprived forcibly of his sight. He was a soldier, a statesman,
and (as all good Doges were) a merchant, but he was humanly mindful of
past injustices too. Hence perhaps much of his eagerness to turn aside
for Byzantium.

The plan was for the French to attack on the land; the Venetians on the
sea. Blind though he had become, Dandolo's memory of the harbour and
fortifications enabled him to arrange the naval attack with the
greatest skill, and he carried all before him, himself standing on the
prow of a vessel waving the banner of S. Mark. The French on land had a
less rapid victory, but they won, none the less, and the ex-king Isaac
was liberated and crowned once more, with his son. Both, however,
instantly took to tyranny and luxurious excess, and when the time came
for the promises of reward to be fulfilled nothing was done. This led to
the mortification and anger of the allies, who declared that unless they
were paid they would take Constantinople for themselves. War was
inevitable. Meanwhile the Greeks, hating alike Venetians, French, and
the Pope, proclaimed a new king, who at once killed Alexius; and the
allies prepared for battle by signing a treaty, drawn up by the wily
nonagenarian, in which in the event of victory Venice took literally the
lion's share of the spoils.

The fighting then began. At first the Greeks were too strong, and a
feeling grew among the allies that withdrawal was best; but Dandolo
refused; they fought on, and Constantinople was theirs. Unhappily the
victors then lost all control, and every kind of horror followed,
including the wanton destruction of works of art beautiful beyond
dreams. Such visible trophies of the conquest as were saved and brought
back to Venice are now to be seen in S. Mark's. The four bronze horses
were Dandolo's spoils, the Pala d'oro, probably the four carved columns
of the high altar, and countless stone pillars and ornaments that have
been worked into the structure.

The terms of the treaty were carried out faithfully, and the French paid
the Venetians their original debt. Baldwin, Count of Flanders, the head
of the Crusade, was named Emperor and crowned; Venice acquired large
tracts of land, including the Ionian Islands; and Dandolo became "Doge
of Venice, Dalmatia, and Croatia, and Lord of one-fourth and one-eighth
of the Roman Empire."

The painters have chosen from Dandolo's career the following scenes:
Dandolo and the Crusaders pledging themselves in S. Mark's; the capture
of Zara; the request of Alexius for help; the first capture of
Constantinople by Dandolo, who set the banner on the wall; the second
capture of Constantinople; the election of Baldwin as Emperor; the
crowning of Baldwin by Dandolo.

I said at the beginning of this precis of a gigantic campaign that it
was not of great profit to Venice; nor was it. All her life she had
better have listened to the Little Venice party, but particularly then,
for only misfortune resulted. Dandolo, however, remains a terrific
figure. He died in Constantinople in 1205 and was buried in S. Sofia.
Doge Andrea Dandolo, whose tomb we saw in the Baptistery, was a
descendant who came to the throne some hundred and forty years later.

Mention of Andrea Dandolo brings us to the portraits of Doges around the
walls of this great hall, where the other Dandolo will also be found;
for in the place adjoining Andrea's head is a black square. Once the
portrait of the Doge who succeeded Andrea was here too, but it was
blacked out. Marino Faliero, for he it was, became Doge in 1354 when his
age was seventy-six, having been both a soldier and a diplomatist. He
found himself at once involved in the war with Genoa, and almost
immediately came the battle of Sapienza, when the Genoese took five
thousand prisoners, including the admiral, Niccolo Pisani. This blow was
a very serious one for the Venetians, involving as it did great loss of
life, and there was a growing feeling that they were badly governed.
The Doge, who was but a figure-head of the Council of Ten, secretly
thinking so too, plotted for the overthrow of the Council and the
establishment of himself in supreme power. The Arsenal men were to form
his chief army in the revolt; the false alarm of a Genoese attack was to
get the populace together; and then the blow was to be struck and
Faliero proclaimed prince. But the plot miscarried through one of the
conspirators warning a friend to keep indoors; the ringleaders were
caught and hanged or exiled; and the Doge, after confessing his guilt,
was beheaded in the courtyard of this palace. His coffin may be seen in
the Museo Civico, and of his unhappy story Byron made a drama.

One of Faliero's party was Calendario, an architect, employed on the
part of the Doges' Palace in which we are now standing. He was hanged or
strangled between the two red columns in the upper arches of the
Piazzetta facade.

The first Doge to be represented here is Antenorio Obelerio (804-810),
but he had had predecessors, the first in fact dating from 697. Of
Obelerio little good is known. He married a foreigner whom some believe
to have been an illegitimate daughter of Charlemagne, and her influence
was bad. His brother Beato shared his throne, and in the end probably
chased him from it. Beato was Doge when Rialto became the seat of
government, Malamocco having gone over to the Franks under Pepin. But of
Beato no account is here taken, Obelerio's successor being Angelo
Partecipazio (810-827), who was also the first occupant of the first
Ducal Palace, on the site of a portion of the present one. It was his
son Giustiniano, sharing the throne with his father, who hit upon the
brilliant idea of stealing the body of S. Mark from Alexandria and of
preserving it in Venice, thus establishing that city not only as a
religious centre but also as a place of pilgrimage and renown. As Mrs.
Richardson remarks in her admirable survey of the Doges: "Was it not
well that the government of the Doge Giustiniano and his successors
throughout the age should become the special concern of a
Saint-Evangelist in whose name all national acts might be undertaken and
accomplished; all national desires and plans--as distinct from and
dominant over purely ecclesiastical ones--be sanctified and made
righteous?" The success of the scheme of theft I have related in an
earlier chapter; and how this foresight was justified, history tells. It
is odd that Venice does not make more acclamation of Giustiniano (or
Partecipazio II). To his brother Giovanni, who early had shown
regrettable sympathy with the Franks and had been banished accordingly,
Giustiniano bequeathed the Dogeship (as was then possible), and it was
in his reign (829-836) that S. Mark's was begun.

The last Doge in this room is Girolamo Priuli (1559-1567), of whom
nothing of account is remembered save that it was he who invited
Tintoretto to work in the palace and on one of the ceilings. You may see
his portrait in one of the rooms, from Tintoretto's brush, in the
company of Venice, Justice, S. Mark and the Lion.

Of the others of the six-and-seventy Doges around the room I do not here
speak. The names of such as are important will be found elsewhere
throughout this book, as we stand beside their tombs or glide past their
palaces.

Before leaving the Hall one should, as I have said, walk to the balcony,
the door of which the custodian opens for each visitor with a mercenary
hand. It should of course be free to all; and Venice would do well to
appoint some official (if such could be found) to enforce such
liberties. Immediately below is all the movement of the Molo; then the
edge of the lagoon with its myriad gondolas; then the sparkling water,
with all its busy activities and swaying gondoliers; and away beyond it
the lovely island of S. Giorgio. A fairer prospect the earth cannot
show.

The first Doge in the Sala dello Scrutinio is Pietro Loredan (1567-1570)
and the last of all Lodovico Manin (1788-1797) who fell before the
inroads of Napoleon. "Take it away," he said to his servant, handing him
the linen cap worn beneath the ducal corno, "we shall not need it any
more." He retired into piety and left his fortune to good works.

This room, also a fine and spacious hall but smaller than the Sala del
Maggior Consiglio, has historical pictures, and a "Last Judgment," by
Palma the younger, which immensely interests the custodian by reason of
a little human touch which may or may not be true. On the left of the
picture, in the Infernal regions, low down, will be seen a large
semi-nude female sinner in torment; on the right, in heaven, the same
person is seen again, in bliss. According to the custodian this lady was
the painter's innamorata, and he set her in both places as a reward for
her varying moods. The other pictures represent the capture of Zara by
Marco Giustiniani in 1346. Zara, I may mention, had very badly the habit
of capture: this was the eighth time it had fallen. Tintoretto is the
painter, and it is one of his best historical works. The great sea-fight
picture on the right wall represents another battle of Lepanto, a later
engagement than Venier's; the painter is Andrea Vicentino, who has
depicted himself as the figure in the water; while in another naval
battle scene, in the Dardanelles, the painter, Pietro Liberi, is the fat
naked slave with a poniard. For the rest the guide-book should be
consulted. The balcony of the room, which juts over the Piazzetta, is
rarely accessible; but if it is open one should tarry there for the fine
view of Sansovino's Old Library.

The second set of showrooms (which require the expenditure of another
lira)--the oldest rooms in the palace--constitute the Archaeological
Museum. Here one sees a few pictures, a few articles of vertu, some
sumptuous apartments, some rich ceilings, and a wilderness of ancient
sculpture. The first room shown, the Sala degli Scarlatti, is the
bedroom of the Doges, with a massive and rather fine chimney piece and
an ornate ceiling. The next room, the Sala dello Scudo, has a fine
decorative, if inaccurate, map of the world, made by a monk in the
fifteenth century. The next, the Sala Grimani, has rival lions of S.
Mark by Jacobello del Fiore, an early Venetian painter, in 1415, and
Carpaccio a century later. Jacopo's lion has a very human face;
Carpaccio's picture is finer and is also interesting for its
architectural details. The next room, the Sala Erizzo, has a very
splendid ceiling. The next is not remarkable, and then we come on the
right to the Sala dei Filosofi where the custodian displays, at the foot
of the staircase, the charming fresco of S. Christopher which Titian
made for Doge Andrea Gritti. It is a very pleasing rendering, and the
Christ Child never rode more gaily or trustfully on the friendly saint.
With true patriotism Titian has placed the incident in a shallow of the
lagoon and the Doges' Palace is seen in the distance.

Then follow three rooms in the Doges' suite in which a variety of
treasures are preserved, too numerous and heterogeneous for description.


[Illustration: S. CHRISTOPHER
FROM THE FRESCO BY TITIAN
_In the Doges' Palace_]


The antique section of the Archaeological Museum is not of general
interest. It consists chiefly of Greek and Roman sculpture collected by
Cardinal Grimani or dug from time to time from the soil of Venetian
provinces. Here are a few beautiful or precious relics and much that is
indifferent. In the absence of a Hermaphrodite, the most popular
possession is (as ever) a group of Leda and the Swan. I noted among the
more attractive pieces a Roman altar with lovers (Baedeker calls them
satyrs), No. 68; a Livia in black marble, No. 102; a nice girl, Giulia
Mammea, No. 142; a boy, very like a Venetian boy of to-day, No. 145; a
giant Minerva, No. 169; a Venus, No. 174; an Apollo, No. 223. A very
beautiful Pieta by Giovanni Bellini, painted under the influence of
Duerer, should be sought and found.

The Bridge of Sighs, a little way upon which one may venture, is more
interesting in romantic fancy than in fact, and its chief merit is to
span very gracefully the gulf between the Palace and the Prison. With
the terrible cells of the Doges' Palace, to which we are about to
descend, it has no connexion. When Byron says, in the famous line
beginning the fourth canto of "Childe Harold,"

    I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs,

he probably meant that he stood in Venice on the Bridge of Straw (Ponte
di Paglia) and contemplated the Bridge of Sighs. Because one does not
stand on the Bridge of Sighs but in it, for it is merely dark passages
lit by gratings. But to stand on the Ponte di Paglia on the Riva and
gaze up the sombre Rio del Palazzo with the famous arch poised high over
it is one of the first duties of all visitors to Venice and a very
memorable experience.

Lastly, the horrible cells (which cost half a lira more), upon which and
the damp sinister rooms where the place of execution and oubliette were
situated, a saturnine custodian says all that is necessary. Let me,
however, quote a warning from the little Venetian guide-book: "Everybody
to whom are pointed out the prisons to which Carmagnola, Jacopo Foscari,
Antonio Foscarini, etc., were confined, will easily understand that such
indications cannot be true at all."




CHAPTER VI

THE DOGES' PALACE. II: THE EXTERIOR

The colour of Venice--Sunny Gothic--A magical edifice--The evolution of
a palace--A fascinating balcony--The carved capitals--A responsible
column--The _Porta della Carta_--The lions of Venice--The Giants'
Stairs--Antonio Rizzo--A closed arcade--Casanova--The bronze wells--A
wonderful courtyard--Anonymous accusations--A Venetian Valhalla.


"That house," said an American on a Lido steamboat, pointing to the
Doges' Palace, "is a wonder in its way."

Its way is unique. The soft gentle pink of its south and west facades
remains in the memory as long and as firmly as the kaleidoscopic hues of
S. Mark's. This pink is, I believe, the colour of Venice.

Whether or not the Doges' Palace as seen from S. Giorgio Maggiore, with
its seventeen massive arches below, its thirty-four slender arches
above, above them its row of quatrefoiled circles, and above them its
patterned pink wall with its little balcony and fine windows, the whole
surmounted by a gay fringe of dazzling white stone--whether or not this
is the most beautiful building in the world is a question for individual
decision; but it would, I think, puzzle anyone to name a more beautiful
one, or one half so charming. There is nothing within it so entrancing
as its exterior--always with the exception of Tintoretto's, "Bacchus and
Ariadne."

The Ducal Palace is Gothic made sprightly and sunny; Gothic without a
hint of solidity or gloom. So light and fresh is the effect, chiefly the
result of the double row of arches and especially of the upper row, but
not a little due to the zig-zagging of the brickwork and the vivid
cheerfulness of the coping fringe, that one has difficulty in believing
that the palace is of any age at all or that it will really be there
to-morrow. The other buildings in the neighbourhood--the Prison, the
Mint, the Library, the Campanile: these are rooted. But the Doges'
Palace might float away at any moment. Aladdin's lamp set it there:
another rub and why should it not vanish?

The palace as we see it now has been in existence from the middle of the
sixteenth century. Certain internal changes and rebuildings have
occurred, but its facades on the Piazzetta and lagoon, the Giants'
Stairs, the courtyard, were then as now. But before that time constant
structural modification was in progress. The original palace ran beside
the Rio del Palazzo from S. Mark's towers to the Ponte di Paglia, with a
wing along the lagoon. Its width was equal to that from the present Noah
or Vine Corner by the Ponte di Paglia to the fifth column from that
corner. Its wing extended to the Piazzetta. A wall and moat protected
it, the extent of its ramparts being practically identical with the
extent of the present building. This, the first, palace was erected in
the ninth century, after the seat of government was changed from
Malamocco to Venice proper.


[Illustration: THE PONTE OF PAGLIA AND THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS, WITH A
CORNER OF THE DOGES' PALACE AND THE PRISON]


Various conflagrations, in addition to the growing needs of the State,
led to rebuilding and enlargement. The first wing was added in the
twelfth century, when the basement and first floor of the portion from
the Porta della Carta to the thick seventh column from the Adam and Eve
group, under the medallion of Venice, on the Piazzetta facade, was set
up, but not in the style which we now know. That was copied three
centuries later from the Riva or lagoon facade. In 1301 the hall above
the original portion on the Rio del Palazzo side, now called the Sala
del Senato, was added and the lagoon wing was rebuilt, the lower arches,
which are there to-day, being then established. A few years later, a
still greater hall being needed, the present Sala del Maggior Consiglio
was erected, and this was ready for use in 1423. The lagoon facade as we
see it now, with its slender arches above the sturdy arches, thus dates
from the beginning of the fifteenth century, and this design gave the
key to the builders of later Venice, as a voyage of the Grand Canal will
prove.

It was the great Doge Tommaso Mocenigo (1413-1423) who urged upon the
Senate the necessity of completing the palace. In 1424 the work was
begun. Progress was slow and was hindered by the usual fire, but
gradually the splendid stone wall on the Rio del Palazzo side went up,
and the right end of the lagoon facade, and the Giants' Stairs, and the
Piazzetta facade, reproducing the lagoon facade. The elaborately
decorated facades of the courtyard came later, and by 1550 the palace
was finished. The irregularity of the windows on the lagoon facade is
explained by this piecemeal structure. The four plain windows and the
very graceful balcony belong to the Sala del Maggior Consiglio. The two
ornate windows on the right were added when the palace was brought into
line with this portion, and they are lower because the room they light
is on a level lower than the great Council Hall's. The two ugly little
square windows (Bonington in his picture in the Louvre makes them three)
probably also were added then.

When the elegant spired cupolas at each corner of the palace roof were
built, I do not know, but they look like a happy afterthought. The
small balcony overlooking the lagoon, which is gained from the
Sala del Maggior Consiglio, and which in Canaletto and Guardi's
eighteenth-century pictures always, as now, has a few people on it, was
built in 1404. It is to be seen rightly only from the water or through
glasses. The Madonna in the circle is charming. She has one child in her
arms and two at her knees, and her lap is a favourite resting-place for
pigeons. In the morning when the day is fine the green bronze of the
sword and crown of Justice (or, as some say, Mars), who surmounts all,
is beautiful against the blue of the sky.

The Piazzetta facade balcony was built early in the sixteenth century,
but the statue of S. George is a recent addition, Canova being the
sculptor.

Now let us examine the carved capitals of the columns of the Ducal
Palace arcade, for these are extremely interesting and transform it into
something like an encyclopedia in stone. Much thought has gone to them,
the old Venetians' love of symbols being gratified often to our
perplexity. We will begin at the end by the Porta della Carta, under the
group representing the Judgment of Solomon--the Venetians' platonic
affection for the idea of Justice being here again displayed. This
group, though primitive, the work of two sculptors from Fiesole early in
the fifteenth century, has a beauty of its own which grows increasingly
attractive as one returns and returns to the Piazzetta. Above the group
is the Angel Gabriel; below it, on the richly foliated capital of this
sturdy corner column, which bears so much weight and splendour, is
Justice herself, facing Sansovino's Loggetta: a little stone lady with
scales and sword of bronze. Here also is Aristotle giving the law to
some bearded men; while other figures represent Solon, another jurist,
Scipio the chaste, Numa Pompilius building a church, Moses receiving the
tables of the law, and Trajan on horseback administering justice to a
widow. All are named in Latin.

The second capital has cherubs with fruit and birds and no lettering.

The third has cranes and no lettering.

The fourth is allegorical, representing, but without much psychology,
named virtues and vices, such as misery, cheerfulness, folly, chastity,
honesty, falsehood, injustice, abstinence.

The fifth has figures and no lettering. A cobbler faces the campanile.
It is above this fifth column that we notice in the upper row of arches
two columns of reddish stain. It was between these that malefactors were
strangled.

The sixth has symbolical figures which I do not understand. Ruskin
suggests that they typify the degradation of human instincts. A knight
in armour is here. A musician seated on a fish faces the Old Library.
There is no lettering, and as is the case throughout the figures on the
wall side are difficult to discern.

The seventh represents the vices, and names them: luxury, gluttony,
pride, anger, avarice, idleness, vanity, envy.

The eighth represents the virtues and names them: hope, faith,
fortitude, temperance, humility, charity, justice, prudence.

The ninth has virtues and vices, named and mixed: modesty, discord,
patience, constancy, infidelity, despair, obedience, liberality.

The tenth has named fruits.

Ruskin thinks that the eleventh may illustrate various phases of
idleness. It has no lettering.

The twelfth has the months and their employments, divided thus: January
(indoors) and February, March blowing his pipes, April with a lamb and
May, June (the month of cherries), July with a sheaf of corn and August,
September (the vintage), October and November, and December,
pig-sticking.

The thirteenth, on a stouter column than the others, because it has a
heavier duty, namely, to bear the party wall of the great Council Hall,
depicts the life of man. There is no lettering. The scenes represent
love (apparently at first sight), courtship, the marriage bed, and so
forth, the birth of the baby, his growth and his death. Many years ago
this column was shown to me by the captain of a tramp steamer, as the
most interesting thing in Venice; and there are others who share his
opinion. Above it on the facade is the medallion of the Queen of the
Adriatic ruling her domains.

The fourteenth capital represents national types, named: Persian, Latin,
Tartar, Turk, Hungarian, Greek, Goth, and Egyptian.

The fifteenth is more elaborate and ingenious. It represents the ages of
man and his place in the stellar system. Thus, infancy is governed by
the moon, childhood by Mercury, youth by the sun, and so forth.

The sixteenth depicts various craftsmen: the smith, the mason, the
goldsmith, the carpenter, the notary, the cobbler, the man-servant, the
husbandman. Over this are traces of a medallion, probably of porphyry,
now removed.

The seventeenth has the heads of animals: lion, bear, wolf, and so
forth, including the griffin each with its prey.


[Illustration: THE ADAM AND EVE CORNER OF THE DOGES' PALACE]


The eighteenth has eight stone-carving saints, some with a piece of
coloured marble, all named, and all at work: S. Simplicius, S.
Symphorian, who sculps a figure, S. Claudius, and others.

And now we are at the brave corner column which unconcernedly assumes a
responsibility that can hardly be surpassed in the world. For if it were
to falter all would go. Down would topple two of the loveliest facades
that man ever constructed or the centuries ever caressed into greater
beauty. This corner of the palace has an ever-increasing fascination for
me, and at all hours of the day and night this strong column below and
the slenderer one above it hold the light--whether of sun or moon or
artifice--with a peculiar grace.

The design of this capital is, fittingly enough, cosmic. It represents
the signs of the Zodiac with the addition, on the facet opposite the
Dogana, of Christ blessing a child. Facing S. Giorgio are Aquarius and
Capricornus, facing the Lido are Pisces and Sagittarius. Elsewhere are
Justice on the Bull, the Moon in a boat with a Crab, and a Virgin
reading to the Twins.

Above this capital, on the corner of the building itself, are the famous
Adam and Eve, presiding over the keystone of the structure as over the
human race. It is a naive group, as the photograph shows, beneath the
most tactful of trees, and it has no details of beauty; and yet, like
its companions, the Judgment of Solomon and the Sin of Ham, it has a
curious charm--due not a little perhaps to the softening effect of the
winds and the rains. High above our first parents is the Angel Michael.

The first capital after the corner (we are now proceeding down the Riva)
has Tubal Cain the musician, Solomon, Priscian the grammarian, Aristotle
the logician, Euclid the geometrician, and so forth, all named and all
characteristically employed.

The second has heads of, I suppose, types. Ruskin suggests that the best
looking is a Venetian and the others the Venetians' inferiors drawn from
the rest of the world.

The third has youths and women with symbols, signifying I know not what.
All are corpulent enough to suggest gluttony. This is repeated in No. 11
on the Piazzetta side.

The fourth has various animals and no lettering.

The fifth has lions' heads and no lettering.

The sixth has virtues and vices and is repeated in the fourth on the
Piazzetta.

The seventh has cranes, and is repeated in the third on the Piazzetta.

The eighth has vices again and is repeated in the seventh on the
Piazzetta. Above it are traces of a medallion over three triangles.

The ninth has virtues and is repeated in the eighth on the Piazzetta.

The tenth has symbolical figures, and is repeated in the sixth on the
Piazzetta.

The eleventh has vices and virtues and is repeated in the ninth on the
Piazzetta.

The twelfth has female heads and no lettering.

The thirteenth has named rulers: Octavius, Titus, Trajan, Priam, Darius,
and so forth, all crowned and ruling.

The fourteenth has children and no lettering.

The fifteenth has heads, male and female, and no lettering. Above it was
once another medallion and three triangles.

The sixteenth has pelicans and no lettering.

The seventeenth and last has children with symbols and no lettering.

Above this, on the corner by the bridge, is the group representing the
Sin of Ham. Noah's two sons are very attractive figures. Above the Noah
group is the Angel Raphael.

The gateway of the palace--the Porta della Carta--was designed by
Giovanni and Bartolommeo Bon, father and son, in the fourteen thirties
and forties. Francesco Foscari (1423-1457) being then Doge, it is he who
kneels to the lion on the relief above, and again on the balcony of the
Piazzetta facade. At the summit of the portal is Justice once more, with
two attendant lions, cherubs climbing to her, and live pigeons for ever
nestling among them. I counted thirty-five lions' heads in the border of
the window and thirty-five in the border of the door, and these, with
Foscari's one and Justice's two, and those on the shields on each side
of the window, make seventy-five lions for this gateway alone. Then
there are lions' heads between the circular upper arches all along each
facade of the palace.

It would be amusing to have an exact census of the lions of Venice, both
winged and without wings. On the Grand Canal alone there must be a
hundred of the little pensive watchers that sit on the balustrades
peering down. As to which is the best lion, opinions must, of course,
differ, the range being so vast: between, say, the lion on the Molo
column and Daniele Manin's flamboyant sentinel at the foot of the statue
in his Campo. Some would choose Carpaccio's painted lion in this palace;
others might say that the lion over the Giants' Stairs is as satisfying
as any; others might prefer that fine one on the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi
by the Rialto bridge, and the Merceria clock tower's lion would not want
adherents.

Why this lovely gateway was called the Porta della Carta (paper) is not
absolutely certain: perhaps because public notices were fixed to its
door; perhaps because paper-sellers frequented it; perhaps because the
scriveners of the Republic worked hereabouts. Passing through it we have
before us the Giants' Stairs, designed by Antonio Rizzo and taking their
name from the two great figures of Mars and Neptune at the top by Jacopo
Sansovino. On the upright of each step is a delicate inlaid
pattern--where, in England, so often we read of the virtues of malted
milk or other commodity. Looking back from the foot of the stairs we see
Sansovino's Loggetta, framed by the door; looking back from the top of
the stairs we have in front of us Rizzo's statues of Adam and Eve. This
Antonio Rizzo, or Ricci, who so ably fortified Sansovino as a beautifier
of Venice, was a Veronese, of whom little is known. He flourished in the
second half of the fifteenth century.

Every opportunity of passing through the courtyard should be taken, and
during the chief hours of the day there is often--but not invariably--a
right of way between the Porta della Carta and the Riva, across the
courtyard, while the first floor gallery around it, gained by the
Giants' Stairs, is also open. For one of those capricious reasons, of
which Italian custodians everywhere hold the secret, the delightful
gallery looking on the lagoon and Piazzetta is, however, closed. I once
found my way there, but was pursued by a frantic official and scolded
back again.

The courtyard is inexhaustible in interest and beauty, from its bronze
well-heads to the grated leaden prison cells on the roof, the terrible
piombi which were so dreaded on account of their heat in summer and cold
in winter. Here in the middle of the eighteenth century that diverting
blackguard, Jacques Casanova, was imprisoned. He was "under the leads"
over the Piazzetta wing, and the account of his durance and his escape
is one of the most interesting parts, and certainly the least improper,
of his remarkably frank autobiography. Venice does not seem to have any
pride in this son of hers, but as a master of licentiousness,
effrontery, adventurousness, and unblushing candour he stands alone in
the world. Born at Venice in 1725, it was in the seminary of S. Cyprian
here that he was acquiring the education of a priest when events
occurred which made his expulsion necessary. For the history of his
utterly unprincipled but vivacious career one must seek his scandalous
and diverting pages. In 1755, on an ill-starred return visit to his
native city, he was thrown into this prison, but escaping and finding
his way to Paris, he acquired wealth and position as the Director of
State Lotteries. Casanova died in 1798, but his memories cease with
1774. His pages may be said to supply a gloss to Longhi's paintings, and
the two men together complete the picture of Venetian frivolity in their
day and night.

The well-head nearer the Giants' Stairs was the work of Alberghetti and
is signed inside. The other has the head of Doge Francesco Venier
(1554-1556) repeated in the design and is stated within to be the work
of Niccolo Conti, a son of Venice. Coryat has a passage about the wells
which shows how much more animated a scene the ducal courtyard used to
present than now. "They yeeld very pleasant water," he writes. "For I
tasted it. For which cause it is so much frequented in the Sommer time
that a man can hardly come thither at any time in the afternoone, if the
sunne shineth very hote, but he shall finde some company drawing of
water to drinke for the cooling of themselves." To-day they give water
no more, nor do the pigeons come much to the little drinking place in
the pavement here but go rather to that larger one opposite Cook's
office.

Everything that an architect can need to know--and more--may be learned
in this courtyard, which would be yet more wonderful if it had not its
two brick walls. Many styles meet and mingle here: Gothic and
Renaissance, stately and fanciful, sombre and gay. Every capital is
different. Round arches are here and pointed; invented patterns and
marble with symmetrical natural veining which is perhaps more beautiful.
Every inch has been thought out and worked upon with devotion and the
highest technical skill; and the antiseptic air of Venice and cleansing
sun have preserved its details as though it were under glass.

In the walls beneath the arcade on the Piazzetta side may be seen
various ancient letter-boxes for the reception of those accusations
against citizens, usually anonymous, in which the Venetians seem ever to
have rejoiced. One is for charges of evading taxation, another for those
who adulterate bread, and so forth.


[Illustration: S. TRIFONIO AND THE BASILISK
FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO
_At S. Giorgio dei Schiavoni_]


The upper gallery running round the courtyard has been converted into a
Venetian--almost an Italian--Valhalla. Here are busts of the greatest
men, and of one woman, Catherine Cornaro, who gave Cyprus to the
Republic and whom Titian painted. Among the first busts that I
noted--ascending the stairs close to the Porta della Carta--was that of
Ugo Foscolo, the poet, patriot, and miscellaneous writer, who spent the
last years of his life in London and became a contributor to English
periodicals. One of his most popular works in Italy was his translation
of Sterne's _Sentimental Journey_. He died at Turnham Green in 1827, but
his remains, many years after, were moved to Santa Croce in Florence.
Others are Carlo Zeno, the soldier; Goldoni, the dramatist; Paolo Sarpi,
the monkish diplomatist; Galileo Galilei, the astronomer and
mathematician; the two Cabots, the explorers, and Marco Polo, their
predecessor; Niccolo Tommaseo, the patriot and associate of Daniele
Manin, looking very like a blend of Walt Whitman and Tennyson; Dante; a
small selection of Doges, of whom the great Andrea Dandolo is the most
striking; Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini, Titian, and Paul Veronese;
Tiepolo, a big-faced man in a wig whom the inscription credits with
having "renewed the glory" of the two last named; Canova, the sculptor;
Daniele Manin, rather like John Bright; Lazzaro Mocenigo, commander in
chief of the Venetian forces, rather like Buffalo Bill; and flanking the
entrance to the palace Vittorio Pisani and Carlo Zeno, the two patriots
and warriors who together saved the Republic in the Chioggian war with
the Genoese in the fourteenth century.

This collection of great men makes no effort to be complete, but it is
rather surprising not to find such very loyal sons of Venice as
Canaletto, Guardi and Longhi among the artists, and Giorgione is of
course a grievous omission.




CHAPTER VII

THE PIAZZETTA

The two columns--An ingenious engineer--S. Mark's lion--S.
Theodore of Heraclea--The Old Library--Jacopo Sansovino--The
Venetian Brunelleschi--Vasari's life--A Venetian library--Early
printed books--The Grimani breviary--A pageant of the
Seasons--The Loggetta--Coryat again--The view from the Molo--The
gondolier--Alessandro and Ferdinando--The danger of the
traghetto--Indomitable talkers--The fair and the fare--A proud
father--The rampino.


The Piazzetta is more remarkable in its architectural riches than the
Piazza. S. Mark's main facade is of course beyond words wonderful; but
after this the Piazza has only the Merceria clock and the Old and the
New Procuratie, whereas the Piazzetta has S. Mark's small facade, the
Porta della Carta and lovely west facade of the Doges' Palace, the
columns bearing S. Mark's lion and S. Theodore, Sansovino's Old Library
and Loggetta; while the Campanile is common to both. The Piazzetta has a
cafe too, although it is not on an equality either with Florian's or the
Quadri, and on three nights a week a band plays.

The famous Piazzetta columns, with S. Theodore and his crocodile (or
dragon) on one and the lion of S. Mark on the other, which have become
as much a symbol of Venice as the facade of S. Mark's itself, were
brought from Syria after the conquest of Tyre. Three were brought in
all, but one fell into the water and was never recovered. The others
lay on the quay here for half a century waiting to be set up, a task
beyond human skill until an engineer from Lombardy volunteered to do it
on condition that he was to have any request granted. His request was to
be allowed the right of establishing a gaming-table between the columns;
and the authorities had to comply, although gambling was hateful to
them. A few centuries later the gallows were placed here too. Now there
is neither gambling nor hanging; but all day long loafers sit on the
steps of the columns and discuss pronto and subito and cinque and all
the other topics of Venetian conversation.

I wonder how many visitors to Venice, asked whether S. Theodore on his
column and the Lion of S. Mark on his, face the lagoon or the Merceria
clock, would give the right answer. The faces of both are turned towards
the clock; their backs to the lagoon. The lion, which is of bronze with
white agates for his eyes, has known many vicissitudes. Where he came
from originally, no one knows, but it is extremely probable that he
began as a pagan and was pressed into the service of the Evangelist much
later. Napoleon took him to Paris, together with the bronze horses, and
while there he was broken. He came back in 1815 and was restored, and
twenty years ago he was restored again. S. Theodore was also
strengthened at the same time, being moved into the Doges' Palace
courtyard for that purpose.

There are several saints named Theodore, but the protector and patron of
the Venetians in the early days before Mark's body was stolen from
Alexandria, is S. Theodore of Heraclea. S. Theodore, surnamed
Stretelates, or general of the army, was a famous soldier and the
governor of the country of the Mariandyni, whose capital was Heraclea.
Accepting and professing the Christian faith, he was beheaded by the
Emperor Licinius on February 7, 319. On June 8 in the same year his
remains were translated to Euchaia, the burial-place of the family, and
the town at once became so famous as a shrine that its name was changed
to Theodoropolis. As late as 970 the patronage of the Saint gave the
Emperor John I a victory over the Saracens, and in gratitude the emperor
rebuilt the church where Theodore's relics were preserved. Subsequently
they were moved to Mesembria and then to Constantinople, from which city
the great Doge Dandolo brought them to Venice. They now repose in S.
Salvatore beneath an altar.

The west side of the Piazzetta consists of the quiet and beautiful
facade of Sansovino's Old Library. To see it properly one should sit
down at ease under the Doge's arcade or mount to the quadriga gallery of
S. Mark's. Its proportions seem to me perfect, but Baedeker's
description of it as the most magnificent secular edifice in Italy seems
odd with the Ducal Palace so near. They do not, however, conflict, for
the Ducal Palace is so gay and light, and this so serious and stately.
The cherubs with their garlands are a relaxation, like a smile on a
grave face; yet the total effect is rather calm thoughtfulness than
sternness. The living statues on the coping help to lighten the
structure, and if one steps back along the Riva one sees a brilliant
column of white stone--a chimney perhaps--which is another inspiriting
touch. In the early morning, with the sun on them, these statues are the
whitest things imaginable.

The end building, the Zecca, or mint, is also Sansovino's, as are the
fascinating little Loggetta beneath the campanile, together with much of
its statuary, the giants at the head of Ricco's staircase opposite, and
the chancel bronzes in S. Mark's, so that altogether this is peculiarly
the place to inquire into what manner of man the Brunelleschi of Venice
was. For Jacopo Sansovino stands to Venice much as that great architect
to Florence. He found it lacking certain essential things, and,
supplying them, made it far more beautiful and impressive; and whatever
he did seems inevitable and right.

Vasari wrote a very full life of Sansovino, not included among his other
Lives but separately published. In this we learn that Jacopo was born in
Florence in 1477, the son of a mattress-maker named Tatti; but
apparently 1486 is the right date. Appreciating his natural bent towards
art, his mother had him secretly taught to draw, hoping that he might
become a great sculptor like Michael Angelo, and he was put as
apprentice to the sculptor Andrea Contucci of Monte Sansovino, who had
recently set up in Florence and was at work on two figures for San
Giovanni; and Jacopo so attached himself to the older man that he became
known as Sansovino too. Another of his friends as a youth was Andrea del
Sarto.

From Florence he passed to Rome, where he came under the patronage of
the Pope Julius II, of Bramante, the architect, and of Perugino, the
painter, and learned much by his studies there. Returning to Florence,
he became one of the most desired of sculptors and executed that superb
modern-antique, the Bacchus in the Bargello. Taking to architecture, he
continued his successful progress, chiefly again in Rome, but when the
sack of that city occurred in 1527 he fled and to the great good fortune
of Venice took refuge here. The Doge, Andrea Gritti, welcomed so
distinguished a fugitive and at once set him to work on the restoration
of S. Mark's cupolas, and this task he completed with such skill that
he was made a Senior Procurator and given a fine house and salary.

As a Procurator he seems to have been tactful and active, and Vasari
gives various examples of his reforming zeal by which the annual income
of the Procuranzia was increased by two thousand ducats. When, however,
one of the arches of Sansovino's beautiful library fell, owing to a
subsidence of the foundations, neither his eminent position nor ability
prevented the authorities from throwing him into prison as a bad
workman; nor was he liberated, for all his powerful friends, without a
heavy fine. He built also several fine palaces, the mint, and various
churches, but still kept time for his early love, sculpture, as his
perfect little Loggetta, and the giants on the Staircase, and such a
tomb as that in S. Salvatore, show.


[Illustration: S. JEROME IN HIS CELL
FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO
_At S. Giorgio dei Schiavoni_]


This is Vasari's description of the man: "Jacopo Sansovino, as to his
person, was of the middle height, but rather slender than otherwise, and
his carriage was remarkably upright; he was fair, with a red beard, and
in his youth was of a goodly presence, wherefore he did not fail to be
loved, and that by dames of no small importance. In his age he had an
exceedingly venerable appearance; with his beautiful white beard, he
still retained the carriage of his youth: he was strong and healthy even
to his ninety-third year, and could see the smallest object, at whatever
distance, without glasses, even then. When writing, he sat with his head
up, not supporting himself in any manner, as it is usual for men to do.
He liked to be handsomely dressed, and was singularly nice in his
person. The society of ladies was acceptable to Sansovino, even to the
extremity of age, and he always enjoyed conversing with or of them. He
had not been particularly healthy in his youth, yet in his old age he
suffered from no malady whatever, in-so-much that, for a period of fifty
years, he would never consult any physician even when he did feel
himself indisposed. Nay, when he was once attacked by apoplexy, he would
still have nothing to do with physic, but cured himself by keeping in
bed for two months in a dark and well-warmed chamber. His digestion was
so good that he could eat all things without distinction: during the
summer he lived almost entirely on fruits, and in the very extremity of
his age would frequently eat three cucumbers and half a lemon at one
time.

"With respect to the qualities of his mind, Sansovino was very prudent;
he foresaw readily the coming events, and sagaciously compared the
present with the past. Attentive to his duties, he shunned no labour in
the fulfilment of the same, and never neglected his business for his
pleasure. He spoke well and largely on such subjects as he understood,
giving appropriate illustrations of his thoughts with infinite grace of
manner. This rendered him acceptable to high and low alike, as well as
to his own friends. In his greatest age his memory continued excellent;
he remembered all the events of his childhood, and could minutely refer
to the sack of Rome and all the other occurrences, fortunate or
otherwise, of his youth and early manhood. He was very courageous, and
delighted from his boyhood in contending with those who were greater
than himself, affirming that he who struggles with the great may become
greater, but he who disputes with the little must become less. He
esteemed honour above all else in the world, and was so upright a man of
his word, that no temptation could induce him to break it, of which he
gave frequent proof to his lords, who, for that as well as other
qualities, considered him rather as a father or brother than as their
agent or steward, honouring in him an excellence that was no pretence,
but his true nature."

Sansovino died in 1570, and he was buried at San Gimignano, in a church
that he himself had built. In 1807, this church being demolished, his
remains were transferred to the Seminario della Salute in Venice, where
they now are.

Adjoining the Old Library is the Mint, now S. Mark's Library, which may
be both seen and used by strangers. It is not exactly a British Museum
Reading-room, for there are but twelve tables with six seats at each,
but judging by its usually empty state, it more than suffices for the
scholarly needs of Venice. Upstairs you are shown various treasures
brought together by Cardinal Bessarione: MSS., autographs, illuminated
books, and incunabula. A fourteenth-century Dante lies open, with
coloured pictures: the poet very short on one page and very tall on the
next, and Virgil, at his side, very like Christ. A _Relazione della
Morte de Anna Regina de Francia_, a fifteenth-century work, has a
curious picture of the queen's burial. The first book ever printed in
Venice is here: Cicero's _Epistolae_, 1469, from the press of Johannes di
Spira, which was followed by an edition of Pliny the Younger. A fine
Venetian _Hypnerotomachia_, 1499, is here, and a very beautiful
Herodotus with lovely type from the press of Gregorius of Venice in
1494. Old bindings may be seen too, among them a lavish Byzantine
example with enamels and mosaics. The exhibited autographs include
Titian's hand large and forcible; Leopardi's, very neat; Goldoni's,
delicate and self-conscious; Galileo's, much in earnest; and a poem by
Tasso with myriad afterthoughts.

But the one idea of the custodian is to get you to admire the famous
Grimani Breviary--not alas! in the original, which is not shown, but in
a coloured reproduction. Very well, you say; and then discover that the
privilege of displaying it is the perquisite of a rusty old colleague.
That is to say, one custodian extols the work in order that another may
reap a second harvest by turning its leaves. This delightful book dates
from the early sixteenth century and is the work of some ingenious and
masterly Flemish miniaturist with a fine sense of the open air and the
movement of the seasons. But it is hard to be put off with an ordinary
bookseller's traveller's specimen instead of the real thing. If one may
be so near Titian's autograph and the illuminated _Divine Comedy_, why
not this treasure too? January reveals a rich man at his table, dining
alone, with his servitors and dogs about him; February's scene is white
with snow--a small farm with the wife at the spinning-wheel, seen
through the door, and various indications of cold, without; March shows
the revival of field labours; April, a love scene among lords and
ladies; May, a courtly festival; June, haymaking outside a fascinating
city; July, sheep-shearing and reaping; August, the departure for the
chase; September, grape-picking for the vintage; October, sowing seeds
in a field near another fascinating city--a busy scene of various
activities; November, beating oak-trees to bring down acorns for the
pigs; and December, a boar hunt--the death. And all most gaily coloured,
with the signs of the Zodiac added.

The little building under the campanile is Sansovino's Loggetta, which
he seems to have set there as a proof of his wonderful catholicity--to
demonstrate that he was not only severe as in the Old Library, and
Titanic as in the Giants, but that he had his gentler, sweeter thoughts
too. The Loggetta was destroyed by the fall of the campanile; but it
has risen from its ruins with a freshness and vivacity that are
bewildering. It is possible indeed to think of its revivification as
being more of a miracle than the new campanile: for the new campanile
was a straight-forward building feat, whereas to reconstruct Sansovino's
charm and delicacy required peculiar and very unusual gifts. Yet there
it is: not what it was, of course, for the softening quality of old age
has left it, yet very beautiful, and in a niche within a wonderful
restoration of Sansovino's group of the Madonna and Child with S. John.
The reliefs outside have been pieced together too, and though here and
there a nose has gone, the effect remains admirable. The glory of Venice
is the subject of all.

The most superb of the external bronzes is the "Mercury" on the left of
the facade. To the patience and genius of Signor Giacomo Boni is the
restored statuary of the Loggetta due; Cav. Munaretti was responsible
for the bronzes, and Signor Moretti for the building. All honour to
them!

Old Coryat's enthusiasm for the Loggetta is very hearty. "There is," he
says, "adjoyned unto this tower [the campanile] a most glorious little
roome that is very worthy to be spoken of, namely the Logetto, which is
a place where some of the Procurators of Saint Markes doe use to sit in
judgement, and discusse matters of controversies. This place is indeed
but little, yet of that singular and incomparable beauty, being made all
of Corinthian worke, that I never saw the like before for the quantity
thereof."

Where the Piazzetta especially gains over the Piazza is in its lagoon
view. From its shore you look directly over the water to the church and
island of S. Giorgio Maggiore, which are beautiful from every point and
at every hour, so happily do dome and white facade, red campanile and
green roof, windowed houses and little white towers, compose. But then,
in Venice everything composes: an artist has but to paint what he sees.
From the Piazzetta's shore you look diagonally to the right to the
Dogana and the vast Salute and all the masts in the Giudecca canal;
diagonally to the left is the Lido with a mile of dancing water between
us and it.

The shore of the Piazzetta, or more correctly the Molo, is of course the
spot where the gondolas most do congregate, apparently inextricably
wedged between the twisted trees of this marine forest, although when
the time comes--that is, when the gondolier is at last secured--easily
enough detached. For there is a bewildering rule which seems to prevent
the gondolier who hails you from being your oarsman, and if you think
that the gondolier whom you hail is the one who is going to row you, you
are greatly mistaken. It is always another. The wise traveller in Venice
having chanced upon a good gondolier takes his name and number and makes
further arrangements with him. This being done, on arriving at the Molo
he asks if his man is there, and the name--let us say Alessandro Grossi,
No. 91 (for he is a capital old fellow, powerful and cheerful, with a
useful supply of French)--is passed up and down like a bucket at a fire.
If Alessandro chances to be there and available, all is well; but if
not, to acquire a substitute even among so many obviously disengaged
mariners, is no joke.

Old Grossi is getting on in years, although still powerful. A younger
Herculean fellow whom I can recommend is Ferdinando, No. 88. Ferdinando
is immense and untiring, with a stentorian voice in which to announce
his approach around the corners of canals; and his acquaintanceship
with every soul in Venice makes a voyage with him an amusing
experience. And he often sings and is always good-humoured.

All gondoliers are not so. A gondolier with a grudge can be a most
dismal companion, for he talks to himself. What he says, you cannot
comprehend, for it is muttered and acutely foreign, but there is no
doubt whatever that it is criticism detrimental to you, to some other
equally objectionable person, or to the world at large.

The gondolier does not differ noticeably from any other man whose
business it is to convey his fellow creatures from one spot to another.
The continual practice of assisting richer people than oneself to do
things that oneself never does except for a livelihood would seem to
engender a sardonic cast of mind. Where the gondolier chiefly differs
from, say, the London cabman, is in his gift of speech. Cabmen can be
caustic, sceptical, critical, censorious, but they do occasionally stop
for breath. There is no need for a gondolier ever to do so either by day
or night; while when he is not talking he is accompanying every movement
by a grunt.

It is this habit of talking and bickering which should make one very
careful in choosing a lodging. Never let it be near a traghetto; for at
traghetti there is talk incessant, day and night: argument, abuse, and
raillery. The prevailing tone is that of men with a grievance. The only
sound you never hear there is laughter.

The passion for bickering belongs to watermen, although loquacity is
shared by the whole city. The right to the back answer is one which the
Venetian cherishes as jealously, I should say, as any; so much so that
the gondolier whom your generosity struck dumb would be an unhappy man
in spite of his windfall.


[Illustration: THE DOGANA (WITH S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE JUST VISIBLE)]


The gondolier assimilates to the cabman also in his liking to be
overpaid. The English and Americans have been overpaying him for so many
years that to receive now an exact fare from foreigners fills him with
dismay. From Venetians, who, however, do not much use gondolas except as
ferry boats, he expects it; but not from us, especially if there is a
lady on board, for she is always his ally (as he knows) when it comes to
pay time. A cabman who sits on a box and whips his horse, or a chauffeur
who turns a wheel, is that and nothing more; but a gondolier is a
romantic figure, and a gondola is a romantic craft, and the poor fellow
has had to do it all himself, and did you hear how he was panting? and
do look at those dark eyes! And there you are! Writing, however,
strictly for unattended male passengers, or for strong-minded ladies,
let me say (having no illusions as to the gondolier) that every gondola
has its tariff, in several languages, on board, and no direct trip,
within the city, for one or two persons, need cost more than one franc
and a half. If one knows this and makes the additional tip sufficient,
one is always in the right and the gondolier knows it.

One of the prettiest sights that I remember in Venice was, one Sunday
morning, a gondolier in his shirt sleeves, carefully dressed in his
best, with a very long cigar and a very black moustache and a flashing
gold ring, lolling back in his own gondola while his small son, aged
about nine, was rowing him up the Grand Canal. Occasionally a word of
praise or caution was uttered, but for the most part they went along
silently, the father receiving more warmth from the consciousness of
successful paternity than we from the sun itself.

Gondoliers can have pride: but there is no pride about a rampino, the
old scaramouch who hooks the gondola at the steps. Since he too was
once a gondolier this is odd. But pride and he are strangers now. His
hat is ever in his hand for a copper, and the transference of your still
burning cigar-end to his lips is one of the most natural actions in the
world.




CHAPTER VIII

THE GRAND CANAL. I: FROM THE DOGANA TO THE PALAZZO REZZONICO, LOOKING TO
THE LEFT

The river of Venice--Canal steamers--Motor boats--Venetian nobility
to-day--The great architects--A desirable enactment--The custom house
vane--The Seminario and Giorgione--S. Maria della Salute--Tintoretto's
"Marriage in Cana"--The lost blue curtain--San Gregorio--The Palazzo
Dario--Porphyry--The story of S. Vio--Delectable homes--Browning in
Venice--S. Maria della Carita.


To me the Grand Canal is the river of Venice--its Thames, its Seine, its
Arno. I think of it as "the river." The rest are canals. And yet as a
matter of fact to the Venetians the rest are rivers--Rio this and Rio
that--and this the canal.

During a stay in Venice of however short a time one is so often on the
Grand Canal that a knowledge of its palaces should come early. For
fifteen centimes one may travel its whole length in a steamboat, and
back again for another fifteen, and there is no more interesting
half-hour's voyage in the world. The guide books, as a rule, describe
both banks from the same starting-point, which is usually the Molo. This
seems to me to be a mistake, for two reasons. One is that even in a
leisurely gondola "all'ora" one cannot keep pace with literature bearing
on both sides at once, and the other is that since one enters Venice at
the railway station it is interesting to begin forthwith to learn
something of the city from that point and one ought not to be asked to
read backwards to do this. In this book therefore the left bank, from
the custom house to the railway station, is described first, and then
the other side returning from the station to the Molo.

The Grand Canal has for long had its steamers, and when they were
installed there was a desperate outcry, led by Ruskin. To-day a similar
outcry is being made against motor-boats, with, I think, more reason, as
I hope to show later. But the steamer is useful and practically
unnoticeable except when it whistles. None the less it was an
interesting experience in April of this year (1914) to be living on the
Grand Canal during a steamer strike which lasted for several days. It
gave one the quieter Venice of the past and incidentally turned the
gondoliers into plutocrats.

But there is a great difference between the steamers and the motor-boat.
The steamer does not leave the Grand Canal except to enter the lagoon;
and therefore the injustice that it does to the gondolier is limited to
depriving him of his Grand Canal fares. The motor-boat can supersede the
gondola on the small canals too. It may be urged that the gondolier has
only to become an engineer and his position will be as secure. That may
be true; but we all know how insidious is the deteriorating influence of
petrol on the human character. The gondolier even now is not always a
model of courtesy and content; what will he be when the poison of
machinery is in him?

But there are graver reasons why the motor-boat should be viewed by the
city fathers with suspicion. One is purely aesthetic, yet not the less
weighty for that, since the prosperity of Venice in her decay resides in
her romantic beauty and associations. The symbol of these is the gondola
and gondolier, indivisible, and the only conditions under which they can
be preserved are quietude and leisure. The motor-boat, which is always
in a hurry and which as it multiplies will multiply hooters and
whistles, must necessarily destroy the last vestige of Venetian calm. A
second reason is that a small motor-boat makes a bigger wash than a
crowded Grand Canal steamer, and this wash, continually increasing as
the number of boats increases, must weaken and undermine the foundations
of the houses on each side of the canals through which they pass. The
action of water is irresistible. No natural law is sterner than that
which decrees that restless water shall prevail.

Enjoyment of voyages up and down the Grand Canal is immensely increased
by some knowledge of architecture; but that subject is so vast that in
such a _hors d'oeuvre_ to the Venetian banquet as the present book
nothing of value can be said. Let it not be forgotten that Ruskin gave
years of his life to the study. The most I can do is to name the
architects of the most famous of the palaces and draw the reader's
attention to the frequency with which the lovely Ducal gallery pattern
recurs, like a theme in a fugue, until one comes to think the symbol of
the city not the winged lion but a row of Gothic curved and pointed
arches surmounted by circles containing equilateral crosses. The
greatest names in Venetian architecture are Polifilo, who wrote the
_Hypnerotomachia_, the two Bons, Rizzo, Sansovino, the Lombardis,
Scarpagnino, Leopardi, Palladio, Sammicheli, and Longhena.

In the following notes I have tried to mention the place of practically
every rio and every calle so that the identification of the buildings
may be the more simple. The names of the palaces usually given are those
by which the Venetians know them; but many, if not more, have changed
ownership more than once since those names were fixed.

Although for the most part the palaces of the Grand Canal have declined
from their original status as the homes of the nobility and aristocracy
and are now hotels, antiquity stores, offices, and tenements, it not
seldom happens that the modern representative of the great family
retains the top floor for an annual Venetian sojourn, living for the
rest of the year in the country.

I wish it could be made compulsory for the posts before the palaces to
be repainted every year.

And so begins the voyage. The white stone building which forms the thin
end of the wedge dividing the Grand Canal from the Canale della Giudecca
is the Dogana or Customs House, and the cape is called the Punta della
Salute. The figure on the Dogana ball, which from certain points has
almost as much lightness as Gian Bologna's famous Mercury, represents
Fortune and turns with the wind. The next building (with a green and
shady garden on the Giudecca side) is the Seminario Patriarcale, a great
bare schoolhouse, in which a few pictures are preserved, and,
downstairs, a collection of ancient sculpture. Among the pictures is a
much dam-aged classical scene supposed to represent Apollo and Daphne in
a romantic landscape. Giorgione's name is often associated with it; I
know not with what accuracy, but Signor Paoli, who has written so well
upon Venice, is convinced, and the figure of Apollo is certainly free
and fair as from a master's hand. Another picture, a Madonna and Child
with two companions, is called a Leonardo da Vinci; but Baedeker gives
it to Marco d'Oggiano. There is also a Filippino Lippi which one likes
to find in Venice, where the prevailing art is so different from his.
One of the most charming things here is a little relief of the manger;
as pretty a rendering as one could wish for. Downstairs is the tomb of
the great Jacopo Sansovino.

And now rises the imposing church of S. Maria della Salute which,
although younger than most of the Venetian churches, has taken the next
place to S. Mark's as an ecclesiastical symbol of the city. To me it is
a building attractive only when seen in its place as a Venetian detail;
although it must always have the impressiveness of size and accumulation
and the beauty that white stone in such an air as this can hardly
escape. Seen from the Grand Canal or from a window opposite, it is
pretentious and an interloper, particularly if the slender and
distinguished Gothic windows of the apse of S. Gregorio are also
visible; seen from any distant enough spot, its dome and towers fall
with equal naturalness into the majestic Venetian pageant of full light,
or the fairy Venetian mirage of the crepuscle.

The church was decreed in 1630 as a thankoffering to the Virgin for
staying the plague of that year. Hence the name--S. Mary of Salvation.
It was designed by Baldassarre Longhena, a Venetian architect who worked
during the first half of the seventeenth century and whose masterpiece
this is.

Within, the Salute is notable for possessing Tintoretto's "Marriage in
Cana," one of the few pictures painted by him in which he allowed
himself an interval (so to speak) of perfect calm. It is, as it was
bound to be in his hands and no doubt was in reality, a busy scene. The
guests are all animated; the servitors are bustling about; a number of
spectators talk together at the back; a woman in the foreground holds
out a vessel to the men opposite to show them the remarkable change
which the water has undergone. But it is in the centre of his picture
(which is reproduced on the opposite page) that the painter has
achieved one of his pleasantest effects, for here is a row of pretty
women sitting side by side at the banquetting table, with a soft light
upon them, who make together one of the most charming of those rare
oases of pure sweetness in all Tintoretto's work. The chief light is
theirs and they shine most graciously in it.

Among other pictures are a S. Sebastian by Basaiti, with a good
landscape; a glowing altar-piece by Titian, in his Giorgionesque manner,
representing S. Mark and four saints; a "Descent of the Holy Ghost," by
the same hand but under no such influence; and a spirited if rather
theatrical "Nativity of the Virgin" by Lucia Giordano. In the outer
sacristy the kneeling figure of Doge Agostino Barbarigo should be looked
for.

The Salute in Guardi's day seems to have had the most entrancing light
blue curtains at its main entrance, if we may take the artist as our
authority. See No. 2098 in the National Gallery, and also No. 503 at the
Wallace collection. But now only a tiny side door is opened.


[Illustration: THE MARRIAGE AT CANA
FROM THE PAINTING BY TINTORETTO
_In the Church of the Salute_]


A steamboat station, used almost wholly by visitors, is here, and then a
canal, and then the fourteenth-century abbey of S. Gregorio, whose
cloisters now form an antiquity store and whose severe and simple apse
is such a rebuke to Longhena's Renaissance floridity. Next is a
delightful little house with one of the old cup-chimneys, forming one of
the most desirable residences in Venice. It has a glazed loggia looking
down to the Riva. We next come to a brand new spacious building divided
into apartments, then a tiny house, and then the rather squalid Palazzo
Martinengo. The calle and traghetto of S. Gregorio, and two or three old
palaces and the new building which now holds Salviati's glass business,
follow. After the Rio del Formase is a common little house, and then
the Palazzo Volkoff, once Eleonora Duse's Venetian home.

Next is the splendid fifteenth-century Palazzo Dario, to my eyes perhaps
the most satisfying of all, with its rich colouring, leaning walls,
ancient chimneys and porphyry decorations. Readers of Henri de Regnier's
Venetian novel _La Peur de l'Amour_ may like to know that much of it was
written in this palace. We shall see porphyry all along the Canal on
both sides, always enriching in its effect. This stone is a red or
purple volcanic rock which comes from Egypt, on the west coast of the
Red Sea. The Romans first detected its beauty and made great use of it
to decorate their buildings.

Another rio, the Torreselle, some wine stores, and then the foundations
of what was to have been the Palazzo Venier, which never was built.
Instead there are walls and a very delectable garden--a riot of lovely
wistaria in the spring--into which fortunate people are assisted from
gondolas by superior men-servants. A dull house comes next; then a
_stoffe_ factory; and then the Mula Palace, with fine dark blue poles
before it surmounted by a Doge's cap, and good Gothic windows. Again we
find trade where once was aristocracy, for the next palace, which is now
a glass-works' show-room, was once the home of Pietro Barbarigo,
Patriarch of Venice.

The tiny church of S. Vio, now closed, which gives the name to the Campo
and Rio opposite which we now are, has a pretty history attached to it.
It seems that one of the most devoted worshippers in this minute temple
was the little Contessa Tagliapietra, whose home was on the other side
of the Grand Canal. Her one pleasure was to retire to this church and
make her devotions: a habit which so exasperated her father that one day
he issued a decree to the gondoliers forbidding them to ferry her
across. On arriving at the traghetto and learning this decision, the
girl calmly walked over the water, sustained by her purity and piety.

The next palace, at the corner, is the Palazzo Loredan where the widow
of Don Carlos of Madrid now lives. The posts have Spanish colours and a
magnificent man-servant in a scarlet waistcoat often suns himself on the
steps. Next is the comfortable Balbi Valier, with a motor launch called
"The Rose of Devon" moored to its posts, and a pleasant garden where the
Palazzo Paradiso once stood; and then the great and splendid Contarini
del Zaffo, or Manzoni, with its good ironwork and medallions and a
charming loggia at the side. Robert Browning tried to buy this palace
for his son. Indeed he thought he had bought it; but there was a hitch.
He describes it in a letter as "the most beautiful house in Venice." The
next, the Brandolin Rota, which adjoins it, was, as a hotel, under the
name Albergo dell'Universo, Browning's first Venetian home. Later he
moved to the Zattere and after that to the Palazzo Rezzonico, to which
we are soon coming, where he died.

Next we reach the church, convent and Scuola of S. Maria della Carita,
opposite the iron bridge, which under rearrangement and restoration now
forms the Accademia, or Gallery of Fine Arts, famous throughout the
world for its Titians, Tintorettos, Bellinis, and Carpaccios. The
church, which dates from the fifteenth century, is a most beautiful
brown brick building with delicate corbelling under the eaves. Once
there was a campanile too, but it fell into the Grand Canal some hundred
and seventy years ago, causing a tidal wave which flung gondolas clean
out of the water. We shall return to the Accademia in later chapters:
here it is enough to say that the lion on the top of the entrance wall
is the most foolish in Venice, turned, as it has been, into a lady's
hack.

The first house after the Accademia is negligible--newish and dull with
an enclosed garden; the next is the Querini; the next the dull Mocenigo
Gambara; and then we come to the solid Bloomsbury-blackened stone
Palazzo Contarini degli Scrigni and its neighbours of the same
ownership. Then the Rio S. Trovaso, with a pretty garden visible a
little way up, and then a gay new little home, very attractive, with a
strip of garden, and next it the fifteenth-century Loredan. A tiny
calle, and then the low Dolfin. Then the Rio Malpaga and after it a very
delectable new residence with a terrace. A calle and traghetto, with a
wall shrine at the corner, come next, and two dull Contarini palaces,
one of which is now an antiquity store, and then the Rio S. Barnaba and
the majestic sombre Rezzonico with its posts of blue and faded pink.

This for long was the home of Robert Browning, and here, as a tablet on
the side wall states, he died. "Browning, Browning," exclaim the
gondoliers as they point to it; but what the word means to them I cannot
say.




CHAPTER IX

THE GRAND CANAL. II: BROWNING AND WAGNER

The Palazzo Rezzonico--Mr. and Mrs. Browning--Browning's Venetian
routine--In praise of Goldoni--Browning's death--A funeral service--Love
of Italy--The Giustiniani family--A last resource--Wagner in
Venice--_Tristan und Isolde_--Plays and Music--The Austrians in
power--The gondoliers' chorus--The Foscari Palace.


The Rezzonico palace and one of the Giustiniani palaces which are its
neighbours have such interesting artistic associations that they demand
a chapter to themselves.

Browning is more intimately associated with Florence and Asolo than with
Venice; but he enjoyed his later Venetian days to the full. His first
visit here in 1851, with his wife, was however marred by illness. Mrs.
Browning loved the city, as her letters tell. "I have been," she wrote,
"between heaven and earth since our arrival at Venice. The heaven of it
is ineffable. Never had I touched the skirts of so celestial a place.
The beauty of the architecture, the silver trails of water up between
all that gorgeous colour and carving, the enchanting silence, the
moonlight, the music, the gondolas--I mix it all up together, and
maintain that nothing is like it, nothing equal to it, not a second
Venice in the world."

Browning left Florence for ever after his wife's death, and to Venice he
came again in 1878, with his sister, and thereafter for some years they
returned regularly. Until 1881 their home was at the Brandolin Rota.
After that they stayed with Mrs. Arthur Bronson, to whom he dedicated
_Asolando_, his last book, and who has written a record of his habits in
the city of the sea. She tells us that he delighted in walking and was a
great frequenter of old curiosity shops. His especial triumph was to
discover a calle so narrow that he could not put up an umbrella in it.
Every morning he visited the Giardini Pubblici to feed certain of the
animals; and on every disengaged afternoon he went over to the Lido, to
walk there, or, as Byron had done, to ride. On being asked by his
gondolier where he would like to be rowed, he always said, "Towards the
Lido," and after his failure to acquire the Palazzo Manzoni he thought
seriously for a while of buying an unfinished Lido villa which had been
begun for Victor Emmanuel. Browning's desire was to see sunsets from it.

Mrs. Bronson tells us that the poet delighted in the seagulls, which in
stormy weather come into the city waters. He used to wonder that no
books referred to them. "They are more interesting," he said, "than the
doves of St. Mark." Venice did not inspire the poet to much verse. There
is of course that poignant little drama entitled "In a Gondola," but not
much else, and for some reason the collected works omit the sonnet in
honour of Goldoni which was written for the ceremonies attaching to the
erection of the dramatist's statue near the Rialto. Mrs. Orr tells us
that this sonnet, which had been promised for an album in praise of
Goldoni, was forgotten until the messenger from the editor arrived for
the copy. Browning wrote it while the boy waited. The day was November
27, 1883.

    Goldoni--good, gay, sunniest of souls--
      Glassing half Venice in that verse of thine--
      What though it just reflect the shade and shine
    Of common life, nor render, as it rolls,
    Grandeur and gloom? Sufficient for thy shoals
      Was Carnival: Parini's depths enshrine
      Secrets unsuited to that opaline
    Surface of things which laughs along thy scrolls.
    There throng the people: how they come and go,
      Lisp the soft language, flaunt the bright garb,--see,--
    On Piazza, Calle, under Portico
      And over Bridge! Dear king of Comedy,
    Be honoured! Thou that did'st love Venice so,
      Venice, and we who love her, all love thee.

The Rezzonico is the house most intimately associated with Browning in
the public mind, although most of his Venetian life was spent elsewhere.
It was here, on his last visit to his son, that the poet died. He had
not been very well for some time, but he insisted on taking his daily
walk on the Lido even although it was foggy. The fog struck in--it was
November--and the poet gradually grew weaker until on December 12, 1889,
the end came. At first he had lain in the left-hand corner room on the
ground floor; he died in the corresponding room on the top floor, where
there was more light.


[Illustration: VENICE WITH HERCULES AND CERES
FROM THE PAINTING BY VERONESE
_In the Accademia_]


Browning was buried in Westminster Abbey, but a funeral service was held
first in Venice. In his son's words, "a public funeral was offered by
the Municipality, which in a modified form was gratefully accepted. A
private service, conducted by the British Chaplain, was held in one of
the halls of the Rezzonico. It was attended by the Syndic of Venice and
the chief City authorities, as well as by officers of the Army and Navy.
Municipal Guards lined the entrance of the Palace, and a Guard of
Honour, consisting of City firemen in full dress, stood flanking the
coffin during the service, which was attended by friends and many
residents. The subsequent passage to the mortuary island of San Michele
was organized by the City, and when the service had been performed the
coffin was carried by firemen to the massive and highly decorated
funeral barge, on which it was guarded during the transit by four
'Uscieri' in gala dress, two sergeants of the Municipal Guard, and two
firemen bearing torches. The remainder of these followed in their boats.
The funeral barge was slowly towed by a steam launch of the Royal Navy.
The chief officers of the Municipality, the family, and many others in a
crowd of gondolas, completed the procession. San Michele was reached as
the sun was setting, when the firemen again received their burden and
bore it to the principal mortuary chapel."

Later the municipality of Venice fixed the memorial tablet to the wall
of the palace. The quotation, from the poet, cut under his name, runs
thus:--

    Open my heart and you will see
    Graved inside of it, Italy.

The tablet is a graceful recognition of the devotion of Browning and his
wife to their adopted country. Did the authorities, I wonder, know that
Browning's love of their city led him always to wear on his watch-chain
a coin struck by Manin in 1848 commemorating the overthrow of Austrian
power in Venice?

The Rezzonico was built by Longhena, the architect of the Salute. Carlo
Rezzonico, afterwards Pope Clement XIII, lived here. The Emperor Joseph
II stayed here. So much for fact. I like far more to remember the
Christmas dinner eaten here--only, alas, in fancy, yet with all the
illusion of fact--by Browning and a Scandinavian dramatist named Ibsen,
brought together for the purpose by the assiduous Mr. Gosse, as related
with such skill and mischief by Mr. Max Beerbohm.

Next the Rezzonico is the commonplace Nani; then a tiny calle; and then
an antiquity store, one of the three adjoining palaces of the great
Giustiniani family, in the second of which once lived Richard Wagner.

But first a word as to the Giustiniani's great feat, in the twelfth
century, of giving every male member to the Republic. It happened that
in 1171 nearly all the Venetians in Constantinople were massacred. An
expedition was quickly despatched to demand satisfaction for such a
deed, but, while anchored at Scio, the plague broke out and practically
demolished this too, among those who perished being the Giustiniani to a
man. In order that the family might persist, the sole surviving son, a
monk named Niccolo, was temporarily released from his vows to be
espoused to the daughter of the Doge, Vitale Michiel. Sufficient sons
having been born to them, the father returned to his monastery and the
mother sought a convent for herself.

In the first of the three Giustiniani palaces Mr. Howells, moving from
the Casa Falier across the way, wrote his _Venetian Life_. In the next
Wagner wrote part of _Tristan and Isolda_.

Needing solitude for this task, the composer came to Venice in the
autumn of 1858, and put up first at Danieli's. Needing a more private
abode he came here. From his _Autobiography_ I take the story. "I heard
that one of the three Giustiniani palaces, situated not far from the
Palazzo Foscari, was at present very little patronized by visitors, on
account of its situation, which in the winter is somewhat unfavourable.
I found some very spacious and imposing apartments there, all of which
they told me would remain uninhabited. I here engaged a large stately
room with a spacious bedroom adjoining. I had my luggage quickly
transferred there, and on the evening of the 30th August I said to
myself, 'At last I am living in Venice.'

"My leading idea was that I could work here undisturbed. I immediately
wrote to Zuerich asking for my Erard 'Grand' and my bed to be sent on to
me, as, with regard to the latter, I felt that I should find out what
cold meant in Venice. In addition to this, the grey-washed walls of my
large room soon annoyed me, as they were so little suited to the
ceiling, which was covered with a fresco which I thought was rather
tasteful. I decided to have the walls of the large room covered with
hangings of a dark-red shade, even if they were of quite common quality.
This immediately caused much trouble; but it seemed to me that it was
well worth surmounting, when I gazed down from my balcony with growing
satisfaction on the wonderful canal, and said to myself that here I
would complete _Tristan_."

The composer's life was very simple. "I worked," he says, "till two
o'clock, then I got into the gondola that was always in waiting, and was
taken along the solemn Grand Canal to the bright Piazzetta, the peculiar
charm of which always had a cheerful effect on me. After this I made for
my restaurant in the Piazza San Marco, and when I had finished my meal I
walked alone or with Karl along the Riva to the Giardini Pubblici, the
only pleasure-ground in Venice where there are any trees, and at
nightfall I came back in the gondola down the canal, then more sombre
and silent, till I reached the spot where I could see my solitary lamp
shining from the night-shrouded facade of the old Palazzo Giustiniani.

"After I had worked a little longer Karl, heralded by the swish of the
gondola, would come in regularly at eight o'clock for a few hours chat
over our tea. Very rarely did I vary this routine by a visit to one of
the theatres. When I did, I preferred the performances at the Camploi
Theatre, where Goldoni's pieces were very well played; but I seldom went
to the opera, and when I did go it was merely out of curiosity. More
frequently, when bad weather deprived us of our walk, we patronized the
popular drama at the Malibran Theatre, where the performances were given
in the daytime. The admission cost us six kreutzers. The audiences were
excellent, the majority being in their shirt-sleeves, and the pieces
given were generally of the ultra-melodramatic type. However, one day to
my great astonishment and intense delight I saw there _Le Baruffe
Chioggiote_, the grotesque comedy that had appealed so strongly to
Goethe in his days at this very theatre. So true to nature was this
performance that it surpassed anything of the kind I have ever
witnessed."

Wagner's impressions of Venice, where, some twenty-four years later, he
was to end his anxious and marvellous life, seem to me so interesting
that I quote a little more: "There was little else that attracted my
attention in the oppressed and degenerate life of the Venetian people,
and the only impression I derived from the exquisite ruin of this
wonderful city as far as human interest is concerned was that of a
watering-place kept up for the benefit of visitors. Strangely enough, it
was the thoroughly German element of good military music, to which so
much attention is paid in the Austrian army, that brought me into touch
with public life in Venice. The conductors in the two Austrian regiments
quartered there began playing overtures of mine, _Rienzi_ and
_Tannhaeuser_ for instance, and invited me to attend their practices in
their barracks. There I also met the whole staff of officers, and was
treated by them with great respect. These bands played on alternate
evenings amid brilliant illuminations in the middle of the Piazza San
Marco, whose acoustic properties for this class of production were
really excellent. I was often suddenly startled towards the end of my
meal by the sound of my own overtures; then as I sat at the restaurant
window giving myself up to impressions of the music, I did not know
which dazzled me most, the incomparable Piazza magnificently illuminated
and filled with countless numbers of moving people, or the music that
seemed to be borne away in rustling glory to the winds. Only one thing
was wanting that might certainly have been expected from an Italian
audience: the people were gathered round the band in thousands listening
most intently, but no two hands ever forgot themselves so far as to
applaud, as the least sign of approbation of Austrian military music
would have been looked upon as treason to the Italian Fatherland. All
public life in Venice also suffered by this extraordinary rift between
the general public and the authorities; this was peculiarly apparent in
the relations of the population to the Austrian officers, who floated
about publicly in Venice like oil on water. The populace, too, behaved
with no less reserve, or one might even say hostility, to the clergy,
who were for the most part of Italian origin. I saw a procession of
clerics in their vestments passing along the Piazza San Marco
accompanied by the people with unconcealed derision.

"It was very difficult for Ritter to induce me to interrupt my daily
arrangements even to visit a gallery or a church, though, whenever we
had to pass through the town, the exceedingly varied architectonic
peculiarities and beauties always delighted me afresh. But the frequent
gondola trips towards the Lido constituted my chief enjoyment during
practically the whole of my stay in Venice. It was more especially on
our homeward journeys at sunset that I was always over-powered by unique
impressions. During the first part of our stay in the September of that
year we saw on one of these occasions the marvellous apparition of the
great comet, which at that time was at its highest brilliancy, and was
generally said to portend an imminent catastrophe.

"The singing of a popular choral society, trained by an official of the
Venetian arsenal, seemed like a real lagoon idyll. They generally sang
only three-part naturally harmonized folk-songs. It was new to me not to
hear the higher voice rise above the compass of the alto, that is to
say, without touching the soprano, thereby imparting to the sound of the
chorus a manly youthfulness hitherto unknown to me. On fine evenings
they glided down the Grand Canal in a large illuminated gondola,
stopping before a few palaces as if to serenade (when requested and paid
for doing so, be it understood), and generally attracted a number of
other gondolas in their wake.

"During one sleepless night, when I felt impelled to go out on to my
balcony in the small hours, I heard for the first time the famous old
folk-song of the _gondolieri_. I seemed to hear the first call, in the
stillness of the night, proceeding from the Rialto, about a mile away
like a rough lament, and answered in the same tone from a yet further
distance in another direction. This melancholy dialogue, which was
repeated at longer intervals, affected me so much that I could not fix
the very simple musical component parts in my memory. However on a
subsequent occasion I was told that this folk-song was of great poetic
interest. As I was returning home late one night on the gloomy canal,
the moon appeared suddenly and illuminated the marvellous palaces and
the tall figure of my gondolier towering above the stern of the gondola,
slowly moving his huge sweep. Suddenly he uttered a deep wail, not
unlike the cry of an animal; the cry gradually gained in strength, and
formed itself, after a long-drawn 'Oh!' into the simple musical
exclamation 'Venezia!' This was followed by other sounds of which I have
no distinct recollection, as I was so much moved at the time. Such were
the impressions that to me appeared the most characteristic of Venice
during my stay there, and they remained with me until the completion of
the second act of _Tristan_, and possibly even suggested to me the
long-drawn wail of the shepherd's horn at the beginning of the third
act."

Later we shall see the palace where Wagner died, which also is on the
Grand Canal.

Now comes the great and splendid Foscari Palace, once also a Giustiniani
home and once also the lodging of a king of France--Henry III, certain
of whose sumptuous Venetian experiences we saw depicted on the walls of
the Doges' Palace. The Foscari is very splendid with its golden borders
to the windows, its rich reliefs and pretty effects of red brickwork,
and more than most it brings to mind the lost aristocratic glories of
Venice. To-day it is a commercial school, with a courtyard at the back
full of weeds. The fine lamp at its corner must give as useful a light
as any in Venice.




CHAPTER X

THE GRAND CANAL. III: FROM THE RIO FOSCARI TO S. SIMEONE, LOOKING TO THE
LEFT

Napoleon _s'amuse_--Paul Veronese--The Layard collection--The Palazzo
Papadopoli--The Rialto Bridge--The keystone--Carpaccio--The "Uncle" of
Venice--Modern painting--English artists in Venice--The Civic
Museum--Pictures and curiosities--Carnival costumes--Carpaccio and
Ruskin--Historical scenes--A pleasant garden.


The big palace on the other side of the Rio Foscari, next the shabby
brown, deserted house which might be made so desirable with its view
down the Canal, is the Balbi, and it has the distinction that Napoleon
stood in one of its windows to see a Grand Canal regatta, the races in
which ended at this point. Next it is the Angaran, and then a nice
little place with lions guarding the terrace gate, at the corner of the
Rio della Frescada, one of the prettiest of the side canals. Next we
come to another large and solid but very dull house, the Civran
(afterwards Grimani); then the forsaken Dandolo, and we are at the
steamboat station of S. Toma, where the passengers for the Frari and S.
Rocco land.

Hereabouts the houses are very uninteresting. Two more and a traghetto
and the Rio S. Toma; then the Palazzo Giustiniani, a rich Venetian red,
with a glimpse of a courtyard; then the ugliest building in the canal,
also red, like the back of a block of flats; and after passing the
pretty little Gothic Tiepolo palace with blue posts with yellow bands,
and the larger Palazzo Tiepolo adjoining it, we are at the fine
fifteenth-century Pisani Moretta, with a double row of rich Gothic
windows. Here once hung Veronese's "Family of Darius," now No. 294 in
our National Gallery, and, according to Ruskin, "the most precious" of
the painter's works. The story goes that Veronese being driven to make
use of the Pisani villa at Este as a temporary home, painted the picture
while there and left it behind him with a message that he hoped it would
pay for his board and lodging. The Pisani family sold it to the National
Gallery in 1857.

The next palace is the hideous Barbarigo della Terrazza, with a better
facade on the Rio S. Polo: now a mosaic company's head-quarters, but
once famous for its splendours, which included seventeen Titians, now in
Russia; and then the Rio S. Polo and the red Capello Palace where the
late Sir Henry Layard made his home and gathered about him those
pictures which now, like the Darius, belong to our National Gallery.
Next it is the Vendramin, with yellow posts and porphyry enrichment, and
then the desolate dirty Querini, and the Bernardo, once a splendid
palace but now offices, with its Gothic arches filled with glass. The
Rio della Madonnetta here intervenes; then two Dona palaces, the first
dating from the twelfth century. A traghetto is here and a pretty calle,
and soon we come to one of the palaces which are shown to visitors, the
Papadopoli, once the Coccina-Tiepolo, with blue posts and in the spring
a Judas-tree red in the garden.

My advice to those who visit such palaces as are shown to the public is
not to go alone. The rigours of ceremonial can be tempered to a party,
and the efficient and discreet French major-domo is less formidable to
several visitors than to one. The principal attraction of the
Papadopoli Palace is two carnival pictures by Tiepolo; but the visitor
is also shown room after room, sumptuous and unliveable in, with signed
photographs of crowned heads on ormolu tables.

The Rio dei Meloni, where is the Palazzo Albrizzi to which Byron used to
resort as a lion, runs by the Papadopoli. At the other corner is the
Businello, a nice solid building with two rows of round window-arches.
Then the tall decayed Rampinelli and, followed by a calle, the Ramo
Barzizza, and next the Mengaldo, with a very choice doorway and arches,
now a statuary store; then the yellow Avogadro, now an antiquity
dealer's and tenements, with a fondamenta; then a new building, and we
reach the fine red palace adjoining the Casa Petrarca, with its ramping
garden.

These two palaces, which have a sottoportico beneath them leading to S.
Silvestro, stand on the site of the palace of the Patriarchs of Grado,
who had supreme ecclesiastical power here until the fifteenth century,
when the Patriarchate of Venice was founded with a residence near S.
Pietro in Castello.

From this point a fondamenta runs all the way to the Rialto bridge. The
buildings are not of any particular interest, until we come to the last
one, with the two arches under it and the fine relief of a lion on the
facade: once the head-quarters of the tithe collectors.

People have come mostly to speak of the Rialto as though it was the
bridge only. But it is the district, of which the bridge is the centre.
No longer do wealthy shipowners and merchants foregather hereabouts; for
none exist. Venice has ceased to fetch and carry for the world, and all
her energies are now confined within her own borders. Enough to live and
be as happy as may be!


[Illustration: DOORWAY OF S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE]


In beauty the Rialto falls far short of most of the bridges of Venice.
Its hard angle superimposed on the great arch is unpleasing to the eye
accustomed in this city to easy fluid curves. Seen from immediately
below, the arch is noble; from any greater distance it is lost in the
over-structure, angle and curve conflicting.

Ruskin is very enthusiastic over the conceit which placed the Spirito
Santo on the keystone of the bridge, the flight, as he thinks, producing
an effect of lightness. He is pleased too with the two angels, and
especially that one on the right, whose foot is placed with horizontal
firmness. On each side of the bridge is a shrine.

Before this stone bridge was built in 1588 by Antonio da Ponte it had
wooden predecessors. Carpaccio's Santa Croce picture in the Accademia
shows us what the immediate forerunner of the present bridge was like.
It had a drawbridge in the middle to prevent pursuit that way during
brawls.

The first palace beyond the bridge, now a decaying congeries of offices,
has very rich decorative stone work, foliation and festoons. It was once
the head-quarters of the Camerlenghi, the procurators-fiscal of Venice.
Then come the long fruit and vegetable markets, and then the new fish
market, one of the most successful of new Venetian buildings, with its
springing arches below and its loggia above and its iron lamp at the
right corner and bronze fisherman at the left.

A fondamenta runs right away from the Rialto bridge to a point just
beyond the new fish market, with some nice houses on it, over shops, the
one on the left of the fish market having very charming windows. The
first palace of any importance is the dull red one on the other side of
the Calle dei Botteri, the Dona. Then a decayed palace and the Calle
del Campanile where the fondamenta ends. Here is the very attractive
Palazzo Morosini, or Brandolin, which dates from the fourteenth century.
Next is a dull house, and then a small one with little lions on the
balustrades, and then the Rio S. Cassiano. Next is a tiny and very
ancient palace with an inscription stating that the Venetian painter
Favretto worked there; then a calle, and the great pawnshop of Venice,
once the Palazzo Corner della Regina, is before us, with a number of its
own boats inside the handsome blue municipal posts with S. Mark's lion
on each. The Queen of Cyprus was born here; other proud and commanding
Corners were splendid here; and now it is a pawnshop!

The Calle della Regina, two rather nice, neglected houses (the little
pink one quite charming), and we come to the Rio Pesaro and the splendid
Palazzo Pesaro, one of the great works of Longhena. Note its fluted
pillars and rich stonework. This palace we may enter, for it is now the
Tate Gallery of Venice, housing, below, a changing exhibition of
contemporary art, and, above, a permanent collection, to which additions
are constantly being made, of modern Italian painting. Foreign artists
are admitted too, and my eyes were gladdened by Mr. Nicholson's "Nancy,"
a landscape by Mr. E.A. Walton, a melon-seller by Mr. Brangwyn, a lady
in pink by Mr. Lavery, and a fisherman by Mr. Cayley Robinson. A number
of Whistler's Venetian etchings may also be seen here, and much
characteristic work by Mr. Pennell. Here too are the "Burghers of
Calais" and the "Thinker" of Rodin, while a nude by Fantin Latour should
be sought for. One of the most interesting pictures so far as subject
goes represents the bridge of boats to the Redentore on a recent All
Souls' day.

I have been absolutely alone in this building, save for the custodians.
The Venetian can live very easily without picture galleries, ancient or
modern.

The Rio della Pergola washes the other side of the Pesaro palace, and
then come two or three houses, once Foscarini homes, given up to
antiquity dealers, and then the florid white stone facade of the church
of S. Stae (or S. Eustachio) with a delightful little Venetian-red annex
on the left. There is a campo and steamboat station here too. The next
palace has pretty little Gothic windows, and then a small brown house
stands in its garden on the site of a burnt Contarini palace. A good red
brick fifteenth-century palace, now a wine store, is next, and then the
Tron, now an institution, with a garden and well-head seen through the
open door. Great scenes have been witnessed in this building, for the
Trons were a famous and powerful Venetian family, supplying more than
one Doge, and here in 1775 was entertained the Emperor Joseph II.

Then the Rio Tron and then the Palazzo Battagia, with two rich coats of
arms in relief, which is also by Longhena, but I hope that it was not he
who placed the columns on the roof. The tiny Calle del Megio, and we
reach the venerable piece of decay which once was the granary of the
Venetian Republic--one of the most dignified and attractive buildings on
the canal, with its old brick and coping of pointed arches. The Rio del
Megio divides the granary from the old Fondaco dei Turchi, once, after a
long and distinguished life as a palace, the head-quarters of the Turks
in Venice, and now, admirably restored, the civic museum.

It is necessary to visit the collections preserved here, but I cannot
promise any feelings of exultation among them. The Museo Civico might
be so interesting and is so depressing. Baedeker is joyful over the
"excellent illustrative guide (1909), 1 franc," but though it may have
existed in 1909 there is no longer any trace of it, nor could I obtain
the reason why. Since none of the exhibits have descriptive labels (not
even the pictures), and since the only custodians are apparently retired
and utterly dejected gondoliers, the visitor's spirits steadily fall.

One enters to some fine well-heads and other sculpture, not very
different from the stock-in-trade of the ordinary dealer in antiquity
who has filched a palace. On the next floor is a library; but I found
the entrance barred. On the next is a series of rooms, the museum
proper. In the first are weapons, banners, and so forth. In the second
is a vast huddle of pictures, mostly bad copies, but patience may
discover here and there an original by a good hand not at its best. I
noticed a Tiepolo sketch that had much of his fine free way in it, and a
few typical Longhis. For the rest one imagines that some very
indifferent churches have been looted.

Follow four rooms of miscellaneous articles: weapons, ropes, a rather
fascinating white leather suit in a case, and so forth. Then a room of
coins and medals and ducats of the Doges right away from 1279. Then two
rooms (VIII and IX) which are more human, containing costumes, laces,
fans, the death masks of two Doges in their caps, a fine wooden
balustrade from a fifteenth-century palace, a set of marionettes with
all their strings, a Vivarini Madonna on an easel.


[Illustration: S. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM WITH SAINTS
FROM THE PAINTING BY PIOMBO
_In the Church of S. Giov. Crisostomo_]


Then some stairs and a set of eighteenth-century rooms with curiously
real carnival costumes in them, like Longhi's pictures come to life, and
a painting or two by Guardi, including what purports to be his own
portrait. Then a Chinese room, and a Goldoni room with first editions
of the little man's plays, his portrait, and other relics. This series
undoubtedly brings Venice of the eighteenth-century very vividly before
one.

Returning to Room X in the main sequence we find wood-carving and
pottery. In Room XI, just inside the door on the left, is a noble
gondola prow in iron, richly wrought, which one would like to see on a
boat once more. Room XII has glass and porcelain; Room XIII has ivories
and caskets; and Room XIV has illuminated manuscripts, in one of which,
No. 158, is a very attractive tiny little Annunciation; and so we come
again to the pictures, in Rooms XV and XVI of which the second contains
the pick. But there is little to cause the heart to beat any faster.

A quaint and ugly but fascinating thing, attributed to Carpaccio and
said to represent two courtesans at home, is the most memorable. Why it
should not equally represent two ladies of unimpeachable character, I
cannot see. Ruskin went beyond everything in his praises, in _St. Mark's
Rest_, of this picture. He suggests that it is the best picture in the
world. But read his amazing words. "I know," he says, "no other which
unites every nameable quality of painter's art in so intense a
degree--breadth with tenderness, brilliancy with quietness, decision
with minuteness, colour with light and shade: all that is faithfullest
in Holland, fancifullest in Venice, severest in Florence, naturalest in
England. Whatever de Hooghe could do in shade, Van Eyck in detail,
Giorgione in mass, Titian in colour, Bewick and Landseer in animal life,
is here at once; and I know no other picture in the world which can be
compared with it."

In the same room is a figure of Christ mourned by two little angels,
ascribed to Giovanni Bellini, but bearing Durer's monogram.

On the stairs are historical Venetian scenes of fires, fights, and
ceremonials which we shall find in more abundance at the Querini
Stampalia. The top floor is given to Canova, Canaletto, Guardi, and
Tiepolo, and is very rich in their drawings and studies. In Canova I
find it impossible to be much interested, but the pencil work of the
others is often exquisite. From some of Canaletto's exact architectural
drawings the Venice of his day could be reconstructed almost stone by
stone.

Before leaving the Museo Civico let me warn the reader that it is by no
means easy of access except in a gondola. Two steamboat stations pretend
to deposit you there, but neither does so: S. Stae, from which it is a
tortuous walk, and S. Marcuola, on the other side of the Canal, which
means a ferry boat.

There is a calle and a traghetto next the museum, and then a
disreputable but picturesque brown house with a fondamenta, and then the
home of the Teodoro Correr who formed the nucleus of the museum which we
have just seen and left it to Venice. His house is now deserted and
miserable. A police station comes next; then a decayed house; and then
the Palazzo Giovanelli, boarded up and forlorn, but not the one which
contains the famous Giorgione. And here, at the nice garden on the other
side of the Rio S. Giovanni Decollato, I think, we may cease to identify
the buildings, for nothing else is important.

Beyond S. Simeone, however, at the corner of the Rio della Croce, is a
large and shady garden belonging to the Papadopoli family which may be
visited on application. It is a very pleasant place.




CHAPTER XI

THE GRAND CANAL. IV: FROM THE STATION TO THE MOCENIGO PALACE, LOOKING TO
THE LEFT

The Scalzi--The Labia Palace--The missing cicerone--Tiepolo and
Cleopatra--S. Marcuola and Titian--A maker of oars--The death of
Wagner--Frescoes on palaces--The Ca' d'Oro--Baron Franchetti--S.
Sebastian--The Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne--A merry tapestry--A
cardinal's nursery--The Palazzo Lion--The Fondaco dei Tedeschi--Canova,
Titian, and Byron.


Beginning at the Railway Station and going towards the Ducal Palace, the
first building is the church of the Scalzi, by the iron bridge. The
church is a very ornate structure famous for its marbles and reliefs,
which counterfeit drapery and take the place of altar pictures; but
these are an acquired taste. On the ceiling the brave Tiepolo has
sprawled a vigorous illustration of the spiriting away of the house of
the Virgin to Loreto, near Ancona.

Next come a row of shops, and, at the corner, the Lido hotels'
motor-launch office, and then several negligible decayed palaces. The
first of any importance is the tall seventeenth-century incomplete
Flangini with Michael Angelesque figures over the door. Then the Scuola
dei Morti with its _memento mori_ on the wall, and then S. Geremia:
outside, a fine mass of yellow brick with a commanding campanile;
inside, all Palladian coolness. Against the church a little house has
been built, and at the corner of the Grand Canal and the Cannaregio is
the figure of the Virgin. The great palace a little way down the canal
which branches off here--the Cannaregio--is the Labia, interesting
chiefly as containing the masterpiece of Tiepolo, unless one agrees with
Symonds that his picture of S. Agnes in SS. Apostoli is his greatest
effort. So far as I am concerned, Tiepolo painted largely in vain. I can
admire the firm decision of his drawing and his skill in composition,
but I can never lose the feeling that his right place is the wall of a
restaurant or a theater curtain. Still, since at the Palazzo Labia we
find him decorating a banqueting hall with a secular subject, all is
well.

But first to get in, for the Labia, once so sumptuous, is now the home
of a hundred poor families, and the daughter of the concierge whose duty
it is to display the frescoes prefers play to work. For twenty minutes I
waited in the gloomy, deserted hall while her father shuffles off in one
direction and her mother in another, both calling "Emma!" "Emma!" with
increasing degrees of fury. Small boys and girls joined in the hunt
until the neighbourhood had no other sound. At last the little slovenly
Emma was discovered, and having been well rated she fetched the key and
led me up the grand staircase. Tiepolo chose two scenes from the life of
Cleopatra, and there is no doubt that he could draw. In one the
voluptuous queen is dissolving a pearl in a goblet of wine; in the other
she and her infatuated Roman are about to embark in a splendid galley.
The model for the wanton queen is said to have been a gondolier's
daughter named Cristina in whom the painter found all the graces that
his brush required.


[Illustration: THE DREAM OF S. URSULA
FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO
_In the Accademia_]


The frescoes, still in fair preservation, are masterly and
aristocratic; but they have left on my mind no impressions that it is a
pleasure to revive. Brilliant execution is not enough.

Crossing the mouth of the Cannaregio we come to the Querini Palace, now
yellow, plain, and ugly. A little campiello, a tiny ugly house and a
calle, and we are opposite the Palazzo Contarini, or Lobbia, with brown
poles on which a silver heart glistens. It is a huge place, now in part
empty, with a pretty cable design at the corner. Next, a shady green
garden and an attractive little house with a tiny roof loggia and
terrace; then a yellow stucco house with a little portico under it, and
then the Palazzo Gritti, now decayed and commonplace. A little house
with a dog in relief on it and a pretty colonnade and fondamenta, and
then the Palazzo Martinengo, or Mandelli, with that very rare thing in
Venice, a public clock on the roof, and a garden.

And so we reach the shabby S. Marcuola, her campo, traghetto, and
steamer station. S. Marcuola, whose facade, having never been finished,
is most ragged and miserable, is a poor man's church, visited by
strangers for its early Titian and a "Last Supper" by Tintoretto. The
Titian, which is dark and grimy, is quite pleasing, the infant Christ,
who stands between S. Andrew and S. Catherine on a little pedestal,
being very real and Venetian. There are, however, who deny Titian's
authorship; Mr. Ricketts, for example, gives the picture to Francesco
Vecellio, the painter's son. Tintoretto's "Last Supper," on the left of
the high altar, is more convivial than is usual: there is plenty of
food; a woman and children are coming in; a dog begs; Judas is
noticeable. Opposite this picture is a rather interesting dark canvas
blending seraphim and Italian architecture. Beside the church is the
shop of a maker of oars, who may be seen very conscientiously running
his eye along a new one.

A neat and smiling little house comes next, with blue and white posts
and an inscription stating that it was once the home of the architect
Pellegrino Orefice; then a little house with pretty windows, now an
"antichita"; then the Rio di S. Marcuola; and after a small and ugly
little house with a courtyard that might be made very attractive, we
come to the rich crumbling red wall of the garden of the Palazzo
Vendramin Calergi, which is notable as architecture, being one of the
works of Pietro Lombardi, in 1481, and also as having once housed the
noble Loredan family who produced more than one Doge. Many years later
the Duchesse de Berry lived here; and, more interesting still, here died
Richard Wagner.

We have seen Wagner's earlier residence in Venice, in 1858-59; to this
palace he came in the autumn of 1882, an old and feeble man. He was well
enough to conduct a private performance of his Symphony in C at the
Liceo Martello on Christmas Eve. He died quietly on the February 13th
following, and was buried at Bayreuth. In D'Annunzio's Venetian novel
_Il Fuoco_, called, in its English translation, _The Flame of Life_, is
most curiously woven the personality of Wagner, his ideals and theories,
and his life and death in this city. It was D'Annunzio who composed the
tablet on the wall.

The palace has an imposing but forbidding facade, and a new kind of lion
peers over the balcony. On the facade is the motto "Non nobis, Domine."
Another garden spreads before the new wing on the right, and a fine
acacia-tree is over the gateway. Next is the Palazzo Marcello, and here
too the Duchesse de Berry lived for a while. The next, with the little
prophet's chamber on the facade and a fine Gothic window and balcony,
is the fifteenth-century Erizzo. Then the Piovene, with fluted window
pillars and marble decorations; then the Emo, another antiquity shop,
with a fine view down the canal from its balcony. A traghetto is here,
and then the Palazzo Molin, now a business house, and the Rio della
Maddalena. The palace adjoining the Rio is the Barbaro, with an ancient
relief on it representing little people being blessed by the Madonna;
and then the Barbarigo, with remains of frescoes still to be seen, of
which one of a goat and infant is pretty. It was the custom once to
decorate all facades in this way, but these are now almost the only ones
that remain.

Now comes a very poor series of houses to the next rio, the Rio di
Noale, the last being the Gussoni, or Grimani, with a nice courtyard
seen through the door. It was once decorated with frescoes by
Tintoretto. Looking along the Rio di Noale we see the Misericordia, and
only a few yards up on the left is the Palazzo Giovanelli where
Giorgione's "Tempest" may be seen. At the other corner is the pretty
little Palazzo Lezze with a terrace and much greenery, and then the
massive but commonplace Boldu palace, adjoining a decayed building on
whose fondamenta are piled gondola coverings belonging to the traghetto.
A fine carved column is at the corner of the calle, and next it the
Palazzo Bonhomo, with two arches of a colonnade, a shrine and
fondamenta. Then a nice house with a tumbled garden, and in spring
purple wistaria and red Judas-trees, and then the Rio S. Felice and the
immense but unimpressive Palazzo Fontana, built possibly by no less an
architect than the great Sansovino. A massive head is over the door, and
Pope Clement XIII was born here. A little green garden adjoins--the
Giardinetto Infantile--and next is a boarded-up dolls' house, and next
the Miani or Palazzo Coletti, with two busts on it, and then the lovely
Ca' d'Oro, that exquisite riot of Gothic richness.

The history of the Ca' d'Oro--or golden house, so called from the
prevalence of gold in its ornamentation--is melancholy. It was built by
the two Bons, or Buons, of the Doges' Palace for Pietro Contarini in
1425. It passed through various hands, always, one imagines, declining
in condition, until at the end of the eighteenth century it was a
dramatic academy, and in the middle of the last century the dancer
Taglioni lived in it and not only made it squalid but sold certain of
its treasures. Of its famous internal marble staircase, for example, no
trace remains. Then, after probably more careless tenants, came Baron
Franchetti with his wealth and zeal to restore such of its glories as he
might, and although no haste is being employed, the good work continues.
The palace is not open, but an obliging custodian is pleased to grow
enthusiastic to visitors. Slowly but painstakingly the reconstruction
proceeds. Painted ceilings are being put back, mosaic floors are being
pieced together, cornices are taking the place of terrible papering and
boarding: enough of all of the old having remained for the scheme to be
faithfully completed. Stepping warily over the crazy floors of these
vast rooms, one does not envy Taglioni when the Tramontana blew. She
would have to dance then, if ever, or be cold indeed.

The facade of the Ca' d'Oro is of course its greatest possession. Venice
has nothing more satisfyingly ornate: richness without floridity. But
let no one think to know all its beauty until he has penetrated to the
little chapel and stood before Mantegna's S. Sebastian, that great
simple work of art by an intellectual master. This noble painting,
possibly the last from his brush, was found in Mantegna's studio after
his death. Notice the smoking candle-wick at the foot, and the motto
which says that everything that is not of God is as smoke evanescent.

A steamboat station for passengers going towards the Rialto is opposite
the Ca' d'Oro calle. Then comes the garden of the Palazzo Pesaro, now
the Paraguay consulate; then the Sagredo, an extremely ancient Gothic
building with a beautiful window and balcony, now badly served by paint
and stucco and shutters; and then another traghetto at the Campo S.
Sofia, with a vine ramping over its shelter. Stucco again injures the
Palazzo Foscari, which has a pretty relief of the Madonna and Child;
then we come to a calle and the Ca' d'Oro steamboat station for
passengers going towards the railway.

An ugly yellow building comes next, and then the fine dingy Palazzo
Michiel dalle Colonne with brown posts and ten columns, now the property
of Count Antonio Dona dalle Rose, who permits visitors to see it in his
absence. It is the first palace since we left the Scalzi that looks as
if it were in rightful hands. The principal attraction is its tapestry,
some of which is most charming, particularly a pattern of plump and
impish cherubs among vines and grapes, which the cicerone boldly
attributes to Rubens, but Baedeker to one of his pupils. Whoever the
designer, he had an agreeable and robust fancy and a sure hand. The
palace seems to have more rooms than its walls can contain, all
possessing costly accessories and no real beauty. The bedroom of
Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo is shown: his elaborate cradle with a stork
presiding over it, surely a case of _trop de zele_; pretty yellow
painted furniture; and a few pictures, including a fine horseback
portrait by Moretto, a Cima, a Giovanni Bellini, and the usual Longhis.
But it is the riotous little spirits of the vintage that remain in the
mind.

After the Michiel dalle Colonne is a little newish house and the Gothic
Palazzo Michiel da Brusa with blue posts with yellow stripes, rather
overweighted with balconies but having nice ironwork; and then the
comfortable-looking Mangilli Valmarana with blue posts with red and
white tops, and the Rio dei SS. Apostoli with a view of the campanile
along it. Next a dull white building with flush windows, and next that
the fine and ancient Palazzo da Mosto. This house has many old
sculptured slabs worked into the facade, and it seems a great pity that
it should so have fallen from its proper state. An ugly modern iron
balcony has been set beneath its Gothic windows. Adjoining is a house
which also has pretty Gothic windows, and then the dull and neglected
Palazzo Mocenigo, with brown posts. Then comes the Rio S. Gio.
Crisostomo, and next it a house newly faced, and then the fascinating
remains of the twelfth-century Palazzo Lion, consisting of an exposed
staircase and a very attractive courtyard with round and pointed arches.
It is now a rookery. Washing is hung in the loggia at the top, and
ragged children lean from the windows.


[Illustration: THE RIALTO BRIDGE FROM THE PALAZZO DEI DIECI SAVII]


Next, a pretty little house which might be made very liveable in, facing
the fruit market, and then the hideous modern Sernagiotto, dating from
1847 and therefore more than negligible. A green little house with a
sottoportico under it, and then a little red brick prison and the ugly
Civran palace is reached. Next, the Perducci, now a busy statuary store,
and next it the Ca Ruzzini, all spick and span, and the Rio dell'Olio o
del Fontego, through which come the fruit barges from Malamocco. And now
we touch very interesting history again, for the next great building,
with the motor-boats before it, now the central Post Office, is the very
Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the head-quarters of German merchants in Venice,
on whose walls Giorgione and Titian painted the famous frescoes and in
which Tintoretto held a sinecure post. Giorgion's frescoes faced the
Canal; Titian's the Rialto.

And so we reach the Rialto bridge, on this side of which are no shrines,
but a lion is on the keystone, and on each side is a holy man. After the
Rialto bridge there is nothing of any moment for many yards, save a
house with a high narrow archway which may be seen in Mr. Morley's
picture, until we reach Sansovino's Palazzo Manin, now the Bank of
Italy, a fine building and the home of the last Doge. The three
steamboat stations hereabouts are for passengers for the Riva and Lido,
for Mestre, and for the railway station, respectively. The palace next
the Ponte Manin, over the Rio San Salvatore, is the Bembo, with very
fine windows. Then the Calle Bembo, and then various offices on the
fondamenta, under chiefly red facades. At the next calle is a traghetto
and then the Palazzo Loredan, a Byzantine building of the eleventh or
twelfth century, since restored. It has lovely arches. This and the next
palace, the Farsetti, now form the Town Hall of Venice: hence the
splendid blue posts and golden lions. In the vestibule are posted up the
notices of engagements, with full particulars of the contracting
parties--the celibi and the nubili. It was in the Farsetti that Canova
acquired his earliest knowledge of sculpture, for he was allowed as a
boy to copy the casts collected there.

Another calle, the Cavalli, and then a comfortable-looking house with a
roof garden and green and yellow posts, opposite which the fondamenta
comes to an end. Fenimore Cooper, the novelist of the Red Man, made
this palace his home for a while. The pretty little Palazzo Valmarana
comes next, and then the gigantic, sombre Grimani with its stone as dark
as a Bath or Bloomsbury mansion, which now is Venice's Court of
Appeal. The architect was the famous Michele Sammicheli who also
designed the Lido's forts. Then the Rio di S. Luca and the Palazzo
Contarini, with rich blue posts with white rings, very striking, and two
reliefs of horses on the facade. Next a very tiny pretty little Tron
Palace; then a second Tron, and then the dreary Martinengo, now the Bank
of Naples. In its heyday Titian was a frequent visitor here, its owner,
Martino d'Anna, a Flemish merchant, being an intimate friend, and
Pordenone painted its walls.

Another calle and traghetto and we come to a very commonplace house, and
then, after a cinematograph office and another calle, to the Palazzo
Benzon, famous a hundred years ago for its literary and artistic
receptions, and now spruce and modern with more of the striking blue
posts, the most vivid on the canal. In this house Byron has often been;
hither he brought Moore. It is spacious but tawdry, and its plate-glass
gives one a shock. Then the Rio Michiel and then the Tornielli, very
dull, the Curti, decayed, and the Rio dell'Albero. After the rio, the
fine blackened Corner Spinelli with porphyry insets. At the steamboat
station of S. Angelo are new buildings--one a very pretty red brick and
stone, one with a loggia--standing on the site of the Teatro S. Angelo.
After the Rio S. Angelo we come to a palace which I always admire: red
brick and massive, with good Gothic windows and a bold relief of cupids
at the top. It is the Garzoni Palace and now an antiquity dealer's.

A calle and traghetto next, a shed with a shrine on its wall, a little
neat modern house and the Palazzo Corner with its common new glass, and
we are abreast the first of the three Mocenigo palaces, with the blue
and white striped posts and gold tops, in the middle one of which Byron
settled in 1818 and wrote _Beppo_ and began _Don Juan_ and did not a
little mischief.




CHAPTER XII

THE GRAND CANAL. V: BYRON IN VENICE

The beautiful Marianna--Rum-punch--The Palazzo Albrizzi--A play
at the Fenice--The sick _Ballerina_--The gondola--Praise of
Italy--_Beppo_--_Childe Harold_--Riding on the Lido--The inquisitive
English--Shelley in Venice--_Julian and Maddalo_--The view from the
Lido--The madhouse--The Ducal prisons.


The name of Byron is so intimately associated with Venice that I think a
brief account of his life there (so far as it can be told) might be
found interesting.

It was suggested by Madame de Flanhault that Byron was drawn to Venice
not only by its romantic character, but because, since he could go
everywhere by water, his lameness would attract less attention than
elsewhere. Be that as it may, he arrived in Venice late in 1816, being
then twenty-eight. He lodged first in the Frezzeria, and at once set to
work upon employments so dissimilar as acquiring a knowledge of the
Armenian language in the monastery on the island of San Lazzaro and
making love to the wife of his landlord. But let his own gay pen tell
the story. He is writing to Tom Moore on November 17, 1816: "It is my
intention to remain at Venice during the winter, probably, as it has
always been (next to the East) the greenest island of my imagination. It
has not disappointed me; though its evident decay would, perhaps, have
that effect upon others. But I have been familiar with ruins too long to
dislike desolation. Besides, I have fallen in love, which, next to
falling into the canal (which would be of no use, as I can swim), is the
best or the worst thing I could do. I have got some extremely good
apartments in the house of a 'Merchant of Venice,' who is a good deal
occupied with business, and has a wife in her twenty-second year.
Marianna (that is her name) is in her appearance altogether like an
antelope. She has the large, black, oriental eyes, with that peculiar
expression in them which is seen rarely among _Europeans_--even the
Italians--and which many of the Turkish women give themselves by tinging
the eyelid, an art not known out of that country, I believe. This
expression she has _naturally_--and something more than this. In
short--." The rest of this amour, and one strange scene to which it led,
very like an incident in an Italian comedy, is no concern of this book.
For those who wish to know more, it is to be found, in prose, in the
Letters, and, in verse, in _Beppo_.

On this his first visit to Venice, Byron was a private individual. He
was sociable in a quiet way, attending one or two salons, but he was not
splendid. And he seems really to have thrown himself with his customary
vigour into his Armenian studies; but of those I speak elsewhere. They
were for the day: in the evening, he tells Moore, "I do one of many
nothings--either at the theatres, or some of the conversaziones, which
are like our routs, or rather worse, for the women sit in a semi-circle
by the lady of the mansion, and the men stand about the room. To be
sure, there is one improvement upon ours--instead of lemonade with their
ices, they hand about stiff _rum-punch_--_punch_, by my palate; and this
they think _English_. I would not disabuse them of so agreeable an
error,--'no, not for "Venice"'."

The chief houses to which he went were the Palazzo Benzon and the
Palazzo Albrizzi. Moore when in Venice a little later also paid his
respects to the Countess Albrizzi. "These assemblies," he wrote home,
"which, at a distance, sounded so full of splendour and gallantry to me,
turned into something much worse than one of Lydia White's
conversaziones."

Here is one of Byron's rattling descriptions of a Venetian night. The
date is December 27, 1816, and it is written to his publisher, Murray:
"As the news of Venice must be very interesting to you, I will regale
you with it. Yesterday being the feast of St. Stephen, every mouth was
put in motion. There was nothing but fiddling and playing on the
virginals, and all kinds of conceits and divertisements, on every canal
of this aquatic city.

"I dined with the Countess Albrizzi and a Paduan and Venetian party, and
afterwards went to the opera, at the Fenice theatre (which opens for the
Carnival on that day)--the finest, by the way, I have ever seen; it
beats our theatres hollow in beauty and scenery, and those of Milan and
Brescia bow before it. The opera and its Syrens were much like all other
operas and women, but the subject of the said opera was something
edifying; it turned--the plot and conduct thereof--upon a fact narrated
by Livy of a hundred and fifty married ladies having _poisoned_ a
hundred and fifty husbands in the good old times. The bachelors of Rome
believed this extraordinary mortality to be merely the common effect of
matrimony or a pestilence; but the surviving Benedicts, being all seized
with the cholic, examined into the matter, and found that their possets
had been drugged; the consequence of which was much scandal and several
suits at law.

"This is really and truly the subject of the Musical piece at the
Fenice; and you can't conceive what pretty things are sung and
recitativoed about the _horreda straga_. The conclusion was a lady's
head about to be chopped off by a Lictor, but (I am sorry to say) he
left it on, and she got up and sang a trio with the two Consuls, the
Senate in the background being chorus.

"The ballet was distinguished by nothing remarkable, except that the
principal she-dancer went into convulsions because she was not applauded
on her first appearance; and the manager came forward to ask if there
was 'ever a physician in the theatre'. There was a Greek one in my box,
whom I wished very much to volunteer his services, being sure that in
this case these would have been the last convulsions which would have
troubled the _Ballerina_; but he would not.

"The crowd was enormous; and in coming out, having a lady under my arm,
I was obliged in making way, almost to 'beat a Venetian and traduce the
state,' being compelled to regale a person with an English punch in the
guts which sent him as far back as the squeeze and the passage would
admit. He did not ask for another; but with great signs of
disapprobation and dismay, appealed to his compatriots, who laughed at
him."

Byron's first intention was to write nothing in Venice; but fortunately
the idea of _Beppo_ came to him, and that masterpiece of gay
recklessness and high-spirited imprudence sprang into life. The desk at
which he wrote is still preserved in the Palazzo Mocenigo. From _Beppo_
I quote elsewhere some stanzas relating to Giorgione; and here are two
which bear upon the "hansom of Venice," written when that vehicle was as
fresh to Byron as it is to some of us:--

    Didst ever see a Gondola? For fear
      You should not, I'll describe it you exactly:
    'Tis a long covered boat that's common here,
      Carved at the prow, built lightly, but compactly.
    Rowed by two rowers, each call'd "Gondolier,"
      It glides along the water looking blackly,
    Just like a coffin clapt in a canoe,
    Where none can make out what you say or do.

    And up and down the long canals they go,
      And under the Rialto shoot along,
    By night and day, all paces, swift or slow,
      And round the theatres, a sable throng,
    They wait in their dusk livery of woe,--
      But not to them do woeful things belong,
    For sometimes they contain a deal of fun,
    Like mourning coaches when the funeral's done.

Those useful ciceroni in Venice, the Signori Carlo and Sarri, seem to
have had Byron's description in mind. "She is all black," they write of
the gondola, "everything giving her a somewhat mysterious air, which
awakens in one's mind a thousand various thoughts about what has
happened, happens, or may happen beneath the little felze."

It is pleasant to think that, no matter upon what other Italian
experiences the sentiments were founded, the praise of Italy in the
following stanzas was written in a room in the Mocenigo Palace, looking
over the Grand Canal upon a prospect very similar to that which we see
to-day:--

    With all its sinful doings, I must say,
      That Italy's a pleasant place to me,
    Who love to see the Sun shine every day,
      And vines (not nailed to walls) from tree to tree,
    Festooned, much like the back scene of a play,
      Or melodrama, which people flock to see,
    When the first act is ended by a dance
    In vineyards copied from the South of France.

    I like on Autumn evenings to ride out,
      Without being forced to bid my groom be sure
    My cloak is round his middle strapped about,
      Because the skies are not the most secure;
    I know too that, if stopped upon my route,
      Where the green alleys windingly allure,
    Reeling with _grapes_ red wagons choke the way,--
    In England 'twould be dung, dust or a dray.

    I also like to dine on becaficas,
      To see the Sun set, sure he'll rise to-morrow,
    Not through a misty morning twinkling weak as
      A drunken man's dead eye in maudlin sorrow,
    But with all Heaven t'himself; the day will break as
      Beauteous as cloudless, nor be forced to borrow
    That sort of farthing candlelight which glimmers
    Where reeking London's smoky cauldron simmers.

    I love the language, that soft bastard Latin
      Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
    And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
      With syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
    And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
      That not a single accent seems uncouth,
    Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural,
    Which were obliged to hiss, and spit and sputter all.

    I like the women too (forgive my folly!),
      From the rich peasant cheek of ruddy bronze,
    And large black eyes that flash on you a volley
      Of rays that say a thousand things at once,
    To the high Dama's brow, more melancholy,
      But clear, and with a wild and liquid glance,
    Heart on her lips, and soul within her eyes,
    Soft as her clime, and sunny as her skies.

Byron's next visit to Venice was in 1818, and it was then that he set up
state and became a Venetian lion. He had now his gondolas, his horses on
the Lido, a box at the Opera, many servants. But his gaiety had left
him. Neither in his letters nor his verse did he recapture the fun
which we find in _Beppo_. To this second period belong such graver
Venetian work (either inspired here or written here) as the opening
stanzas of the fourth canto of _Childe Harold_. The first line takes the
reader into the very heart of the city and is one of the best-known
single lines in all poetry. Familiar as the stanzas are, it would be
ridiculous to write of Byron in Venice without quoting them again:--

    I stood in Venice, on the "Bridge of Sighs";
      A Palace and a prison on each hand:
    I saw from out the wave her structures rise
      As from the stroke of the Enchanter's wand:
    A thousand Years their cloudy wings expand
      Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
    O'er the far times, when many a subject land
      Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
      Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles.

    She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from Ocean,
      Rising with her tiara of proud towers
    At airy distance, with majestic motion,
      A ruler of the waters and their powers:
    And such she was;--her daughters had their dowers
      From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
    Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
      In purple was she robed, and of her feast
      Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased.


[Illustration: THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST
FROM THE PAINTING BY CIMA
_In the Church of S. Giovanni in Bragora_]


Byron wrote also, in 1818, an "Ode on Venice," a regret for its decay,
in spirit not unlike the succeeding _Childe Harold_ stanzas which I do
not here quote. Here too he planned _Marino Faliero_, talking it over
with his guest, "Monk" Lewis. Another Venetian play of Byron's was _The
Two Foscari_, and both prove that he attacked the old chronicles to some
purpose and with all his brilliant thoroughness. None the less he made
a few blunders, as when in _The Two Foscari_ there is an allusion to the
Bridge of Sighs, which was not, as it happens, built for more than a
century after the date of the play.

No city, however alluring, could be Byron's home for long, and this
second sojourn in Venice was not made any simpler by the presence of his
daughter Ada. In 1819 he was away again and never returned. No one so
little liked the idea of being rooted as he; at a blow the home was
broken.

The best account of Byron at this time is that which his friend Hoppner,
the British Consul, a son of the painter, wrote to Murray. Hoppner not
only saw Byron regularly at night, but used to ride with him on the
Lido. "The spot," he says, "where we usually mounted our horses had been
a Jewish cemetery; but the French, during their occupation of Venice,
had thrown down the enclosure, and levelled all the tombstones with the
ground, in order that they might not interfere with the fortifications
upon the Lido, under the guns of which it was situated. To this place,
as it was known to be that where he alighted from his gondola and met
his horses, the curious amongst our country-people, who were anxious to
obtain a glimpse of him, used to resort; and it was amusing in the
extreme to witness the excessive coolness with which ladies, as well as
gentlemen, would advance within a very few paces of him, eyeing him,
some with their glasses, as they would have done a statue in a museum,
or the wild beasts at Exeter 'Change. However flattering this might be
to a man's vanity, Lord Byron, though he bore it very patiently,
expressed himself, as I believe he really was, excessively annoyed at
it.

"The curiosity that was expressed by all classes of travellers to see
him, and the eagerness with which they endeavoured to pick up any
anecdotes of his mode of life, were carried to a length which will
hardly be credited. It formed the chief subject of their inquiries of
the gondoliers who conveyed them from _terra firma_ to the floating
city; and these people who are generally loquacious, were not at all
backward in administering to the taste and humours of their passengers,
relating to them the most extravagant and often unfounded stories. They
took care to point out the house where he lived, and to give such hints
of his movements as might afford them an opportunity of seeing him.

"Many of the English visitors, under pretext of seeing his house, in
which there were no paintings of any consequence, nor, besides himself,
anything worthy of notice, contrived to obtain admittance through the
cupidity of his servants, and with the most barefaced impudence forced
their way even into his bedroom, in the hopes of seeing him. Hence
arose, in a great measure, his bitterness towards them, which he has
expressed in a note to one of his poems, on the occasion of some
unfounded remark made upon him by an anonymous traveller in Italy; and
it certainly appears well calculated to foster that cynicism which
prevails in his latter works more particularly, and which, as well as
the misanthropical expressions that occur in those which first raised
his reputation, I do not believe to have been his natural feeling. Of
this I am certain, that I never witnessed greater kindness than in Lord
Byron."

Byron's note to which Hoppner alludes is in _Marino Faliero_. The
conclusion of it is as follows: "The fact is, I hold in utter abhorrence
any contact with the travelling English, as my friend the Consul General
Hoppner and the Countess Benzoni (in whose house the Converzasione
mostly frequented by them is held), could amply testify, were it worth
while. I was persecuted by these tourists even to my riding ground at
Lido, and reduced to the most disagreeable circuits to avoid them. At
Madame Benzoni's I repeatedly refused to be introduced to them; of a
thousand such presentations pressed upon me, I accepted two, and both
were to Irish women."

Shelley visited Byron at the Mocenigo Palace in 1818 on a matter
concerning Byron's daughter Allegra and Claire Clairmont, whom the other
poet brought with him. They reached Venice by gondola from Padua, having
the fortune to be rowed by a gondolier who had been in Byron's employ
and who at once and voluntarily began to talk of him, his luxury and
extravagance. At the inn the waiter, also unprovoked, enlarged on the
same alluring theme. Shelley's letter describing Byron's Venetian home
is torn at its most interesting passage and we are therefore without
anything as amusing and vivid as the same correspondent's account of his
lordship's Ravenna menage. Byron took him for a ride on the Lido, the
memory of which formed the opening lines of _Julian and Maddalo_.
Thus:--

    I rode one evening with Count Maddalo
    Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow
    Of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand
    Of hillocks, heaped from ever-shifting sand,
    Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds,
    Such as from earth's embrace the salt ooze breeds,
    Is this; an uninhabited sea-side,
    Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,
    Abandons; and no other object breaks
    The waste, but one dwarf tree and some few stakes
    Broken and unrepaired, and the tide makes
    A narrow space of level sand thereon,
    Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
    This ride was my delight. I love all waste
    And solitary places; where we taste
    The pleasure of believing what we see
    Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be:
    And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
    More barren than its billows; and yet more
    Than all, with a remembered friend I love
    To ride as then I rode;--for the winds drove
    The living spray along the sunny air
    Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
    Stripped to their depths by the awakening north;
    And, from the waves, sound like delight broke forth
    Harmonizing with solitude, and sent
    Into our hearts aerial merriment.

When the ride was over and the two poets were returning in Byron's (or
Count Maddalo's) gondola, there was such an evening view as one often
has, over Venice, and beyond, to the mountains. Shelley describes it:--

    Paved with the image of the sky ... the hoar
    And aery Alps towards the North appeared
    Through mist, an heaven-sustaining bulwark reared
    Between the East and West; and half the sky
    Was roofed with clouds of rich emblazonry
    Dark purple at the zenith, which still grew
    Down the steep West into a wondrous hue
    Brighter than burning gold, even to the rent
    Where the swift sun yet paused in his descent
    Among the many-folded hills: they were
    Those famous Euganean hills, which bear,
    As seen from Lido thro' the harbour piles,
    The likeness of a clump of peaked isles--
    And then--as if the Earth and Sea had been
    Dissolved into one lake of fire, were seen
    Those mountains towering as from waves of flame
    Around the vaporous sun, from which there came
    The inmost purple spirit of light, and made
    Their very peaks transparent.

Browning never tired, says Mrs. Bronson, of this evening view from the
Lido, and always held that these lines by Shelley were the best
description of it.

The poem goes on to describe a visit to the madhouse of S. Clemente and
the reflections that arose from it. Towards the close Shelley says:--

    If I had been an unconnected man
    I, from this moment, should have formed some plan
    Never to leave sweet Venice,--for to me
    It was delight to ride by the lone sea;
    And then, the town is silent--one may write
    Or read in gondolas by day or night,
    Having the little brazen lamp alight,
    Unseen, uninterrupted; books are there.
    Pictures, and casts from all those statues fair
    Which were twin-born with poetry, and all
    We seek in towns, with little to recall
    Regrets for the green country.

Later in 1818 Mrs. Shelley joined her daughter in Venice, but it was a
tragic visit, for their daughter Clara died almost immediately after
they arrived. She is buried on the Lido.

In a letter to Peacock, Shelley thus describes the city: "Venice is a
wonderfully fine city. The approach to it over the laguna, with its
domes and turrets glittering in a long line over the blue waves, is one
of the finest architectural delusions in the world. It seems to
have--and literally it has--its foundations in the sea. The silent
streets are paved with water, and you hear nothing but the dashing of
the oars, and the occasional cries of the gondolieri. I heard nothing at
Tasso. The gondolas themselves are things of a most romantic and
picturesque appearance; I can only compare them to moths of which a
coffin might have been the chrysalis. They are hung with black, and
painted black, and carpeted with grey; they curl at the prow and stern,
and at the former there is a nondescript beak of shining steel, which
glitters at the end of its long black mass.

"The Doge's Palace, with its library, is a fine monument of aristocratic
power. I saw the dungeons, where these scoundrels used to torment their
victims. They are of three kinds--one adjoining the place of trial,
where the prisoners destined to immediate execution were kept. I could
not descend into them, because the day on which I visited it was festa.
Another under the leads of the palace, where the sufferers were roasted
to death or madness by the ardours of an Italian sun: and others called
the Pozzi--or wells, deep underneath, and communicating with those on
the roof by secret passages--where the prisoners were confined sometimes
half-up to their middles in stinking water. When the French came here,
they found only one old man in the dungeons, and he could not speak."




CHAPTER XIII

THE GRAND CANAL. VI: FROM THE MOCENIGO PALACE TO THE MOLO, LOOKING TO
THE LEFT

Mr. W.D. Howells--A gondoliers' quarrel--Mr. Sargent's Diploma
picture--The Barbarigo family--Ruskin's sherry--Palace hotels--The
Venetian balcony.


The next palace, with dark-blue posts, gold-topped, and mural
inscriptions, also belonged to the Mocenigo, and here Giordano Bruno was
staying as a guest when he was betrayed by his host and burned as a
heretic. Then comes the dark and narrow Calle Mocenigo Casa Vecchia.
Next is the great massive palace, with the square and round porphyry
medallions, of the Contarini dalle Figure; the next, with the little
inquisitive lions, is the Lezze. After three more, one of which is in a
superb position at the corner, opposite the Foscari, and the third has a
fondamenta and arcade, we come to the great Moro-Lin, now an antiquity
store. Another little modest place between narrow calli, and the plain
eighteenth-century Grassi confronts us. The Campo of S. Samuele, with
its traghetto, church, and charming campanile, now opens out. The church
has had an ugly brown house built against it. Then the Malipiero, with
its tropical garden, pretty marble rail and brown posts, and then two
more antiquity stores with hideous facades, the unfinished stonework on
the side of the second of which, with the steps and sottoportico, was
to have been a palace for the Duke of Milan, but was discontinued.

Next the Rio del Duca is the pretty little Palazzo Falier, from one of
whose windows Mr. Howells used to look when he was gathering material
for his _Venetian Life_. Mr. Howells lived there in the early
eighteen-sixties, when a member of the American Consulate in Venice. As
to how he performed his consular duties, such as they were, I have no
notion; but we cannot be too grateful to his country for appointing him
to the post, since it provided him with the experiences which make the
most attractive Anglo-Saxon book on Venice that has yet been written. It
is now almost half a century since _Venetian Life_ was published, and
the author is happily still hale.


[Illustration: MADONNA AND SLEEPING CHILD
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Accademia_]


It was not at the Palazzo Falier that Mr. Howells enjoyed the
ministrations of that most entertaining hand-maiden Giovanna; but it was
from here that he heard that quarrel between two gondoliers which he
describes so vividly and which stands for every quarrel of every
gondolier for all time. I take the liberty of quoting it here, because
one gondolier's quarrel is essential to every book that hopes to suggest
Venice to its readers, and I have none of my own worth recording. "Two
large boats, attempting to enter the small canal opposite at the same
time, had struck together with a violence that shook the boatmen to
their inmost souls. One barge was laden with lime, and belonged to a
plasterer of the city; the other was full of fuel, and commanded by a
virulent rustic. These rival captains advanced toward the bows of their
boats, with murderous looks,

    Con la test'alta e con rabbiosa fame.
      Si che parea che l'aer ne temesse,

and there stamped furiously, and beat the wind with hands of deathful
challenge, while I looked on with that noble interest which the
enlightened mind always feels in people about to punch each others'
heads.

"But the storm burst in words.

"'Figure of a pig!' shrieked the Venetian, 'you have ruined my boat for
ever!'

"'Thou liest, son of an ugly old dog!' returned the countryman, 'and it
was my right to enter the canal first.'

"They then, after this exchange of insult, abandoned the main subject of
dispute, and took up the quarrel laterally and in detail. Reciprocally
questioning the reputation of all their female relatives to the third
and fourth cousins, they defied each other as the offspring of assassins
and prostitutes. As the peace-making tide gradually drifted their boats
asunder, their anger rose, and they danced back and forth and hurled
opprobrium with a foamy volubility that quite left my powers of
comprehension behind. At last the townsman, executing a _pas seul_ of
uncommon violence, stooped and picked up a bit of stone lime, while the
countryman, taking shelter at the stern of his boat, there attended the
shot. To my infinite disappointment it was not fired. The Venetian
seemed to have touched the climax of his passion in the mere
demonstration of hostility, and gently gathering up his oar gave the
countryman the right of way. The courage of the latter rose as the
strange danger passed, and as far as he could be heard, he continued to
exult in the wildest excesses of insult: 'Ah-heigh! brutal executioner!
Ah, hideous headsman!' Da capo. I now know that these people never
intended to do more than quarrel, and no doubt they parted as well
pleased as if they had actually carried broken heads from the
encounter. But at the time I felt affronted and trifled with by the
result, for my disappointments arising out of the dramatic manner of the
Italians had not yet been frequent enough to teach me to expect nothing
from it."

I too have seen the beginning of many quarrels, chiefly on the water.
But I have seen only two Venetians use their fists--and they were
infants in arms. For the rest, except at traghetti and at the corners of
canals, the Venetians are good-humoured and blessed with an easy smiling
tolerance. Venice is the best place in the world, and they are in
Venice, and there you are! Why lose one's temper?

Next the Casa Falier is a calle, and then the great Giustinian Lolin
Palace with brown and yellow posts. Taglioni lived here for a while too.
Another calle, the Giustinian, a dull house with a garden and red and
white striped posts, and we are at the Iron Bridge and the Campo S.
Vitale, a small poor-people's church, with a Venetian-red house against
it, and inside, but difficult to see, yet worth seeing, a fine picture
by Carpaccio of a saint on horseback.

The magnificent palace in good repair that comes next is the Cavalli,
with a row of bronze dragons on the facade. This is the home of the
Franchetti family, who have done so much for modern Venice,
conspicuously, as we have seen, at the Ca d'Oro. Then the Rio dell'Orso
o Cavana, and the Palazzo Barbaro with its orange and red striped posts,
a beautiful room in which will be familiar to all visitors to the
Diploma Gallery at Burlington House, for it is the subject of one of Mr.
Sargent's most astounding feats of dexterity. It is now the Venetian
home of an American; and once no less a personage than Isabella d'Este
lived in it very shortly after America was discovered. The older of the
two Barbaro palaces is fourteenth century, the other, sixteenth. They
will have peculiar interest to anyone who has read _La Vie d'un
Patricien de Venise au XVI Siecle_, by Yriarte, for that fascinating
work deals with Marcantonio Barbaro, who married one of the Giustiniani
and lived here.

Nothing of importance--a palace with red and gold posts and an antiquity
store--before the next rio, the beautiful Rio del Santissimo o di
Stefano; nor after this, until the calle and traghetto: merely two
neglected houses, one with a fondamenta. And then a pension arises, next
to which is one of the most coveted abodes in the whole canal--the
little alluring house and garden that belong to Prince Hohenlohe. The
majestic palace now before us is one of Sansovino's buildings, the
Palazzo Corner della Ca Grande, now the prefecture of Venice. Opposite
it is the beautiful Dario palace and the Venier garden. Next is the Rio
S. Maurizio and then two dingy Barbarigo palaces, with shabby brown
posts, once the home of a family very famous in Venetian annals. Marco
Barbarigo was the first Doge to be crowned at the head of the Giants'
Stairs; it was while his brother Agostino was Doge (1486-1501) that
Venice acquired Cyprus, and its queen, Caterina Corner, visited this
city to abdicate her throne. Cardinal Barbarigo, famous not only for his
piety but for refusing to become Pope, was born in this house.

Then the Rio S. Maria Zobenigo o dei Furlani and a palace, opposite the
steamboat station. Another palace, and then a busy traghetto, with vine
leaves over its shelter, and looking up the campo we see the church of
S. Maria del Giglio with all its holy statues. Ruskin (who later moved
to the Zattre) did most of his work on _The Stones of Venice_ in the
house which is now the Palazzo Swift, an annexe of the Grand Hotel, a
little way up this campo. Here he lived happily with his young wife and
toiled at the minutiae of his great book; here too he entertained David
Roberts and other artists with his father's excellent sherry, which they
described as "like the best painting, at once tender and expressive".

And now the hotels begin, almost all of them in houses built centuries
ago for noble families. Thus the first Grand Hotel block is fourteenth
century--the Palazzo Gritti. The next Grand Hotel block is the Palazzo
Fini and is seventeenth century, and the third is the Manolesso-Ferro,
built in the fourteenth century and restored in the nineteenth. Then
comes the charming fourteenth-century Contarini-Fasan Palace, known as
the house of Desdemona, which requires more attention. The upper part
seems to be as it was: the water floor, or sea storey, has evidently
been badly botched. Its glorious possession is, however, its balconies,
particularly the lower.

Of the Grand Canal balconies, the most beautiful of which is, I think,
that which belongs to this little palace, no one has written more
prettily than that early commentator, Coryat. "Again," he says, "I noted
another thing in these Venetian Palaces that I have very seldome seen in
England, and it is very little used in any other country that I could
perceive in my travels, saving only in Venice and other Italian cities.
Somewhere above the middle of the front of the building, or (as I have
observed in many of their Palaces) a little beneath the toppe of the
front they have right opposite to their windows, a very pleasant little
tarrasse, that jutteth or butteth out from the maine building, the edge
whereof is decked with many pretty little turned pillers, either of
marble or free stone to leane over. These kinds of tarrasses or little
galleries of pleasure Suetonius calleth Meniana. They give great grace
to the whole edifice, and serve only for this purpose, that people may
from that place as from a most delectable prospect contemplate and view
the parts of the City round about them in the coole evening."--No modern
description could improve on the thoroughness of that.

Next is the pretty Barozzi Wedmann Palace, with its pointed windows,
said to be designed by Longhena, who built the great Salute church
opposite, and then the Hotel Alexandra, once the Palazzo Michiel. For
the rest, I may say that the Britannia was the Palazzo Tiepolo; the
Grand Hotel de l'Europe was yet another Giustiniani palace; while the
Grand Canal Hotel was the Vallaresso. The last house of all before the
gardens is the office of the Harbour Master; the little pavilion at the
corner of the gardens belongs to the yacht club called the Bucintoro,
whose boats are to be seen moored between here and the Molo, and whose
members are, with those of sculling clubs on the Zattere and elsewhere,
the only adult Venetians to use their waters for pleasure. As for the
Royal Palace, it is quite unworthy and a blot on the Venetian panorama
as seen from the Customs House or S. Giorgio Maggiore, or as one sees it
from the little Zattere steamboat as the Riva opens up on rounding the
Punta di Dogana. Amid architecture that is almost or quite magical it is
just a common utilitarian facade. But that it was once better can be
seen in one of the Guardis at the National Gallery, No. 2099.

Finally we have Sansovino's mint, now S. Mark's Library, with the
steamboat bridge for passengers for the Giudecca and the Zattere in
front of it, and then the corner of the matchless Old Library, and the
Molo with all its life beneath the columns.

And now that we have completed the voyage of the Grand Canal, each way,
let me remind the reader that although the largest palaces were situated
there, they are not always the best. All over Venice are others as well
worth study.




CHAPTER XIV

ISLAND AFTERNOONS' ENTERTAINMENTS. I: MURANO, BURANO AND TORCELLO

The Campo Santo--The Vivarini--The glass-blowers--An artist at work--S.
Pietro--A good Bellini--A keen sacristan--S. Donato--A foreign
church--An enthusiast--Signor "Rooskin"--The blue Madonna--The voyage to
Burano--The importunate boatman--A squalid town--The pretty lace
workers--Torcello--A Christian exodus--Deserted temples--The bishop's
throne--The Last Judgment--The stone shutters--The Porto di Lido.


The cheap way to Murano is by the little penny steamer from the
Fondamenta Nuova. This side of Venice is poor and squalid, but there is
more fun here than anywhere else, for on Sundays the boys borrow any
kind of craft that can be obtained and hold merry little regattas, which
even those sardonic officials, the captains of the steamboats, respect:
stopping or easing down so as to interfere with no event. But one should
go to Murano by gondola, and go in the afternoon.

Starting anywhere near the Molo, this means that the route will be by
the Rio del Palazzo, under the Ponte di Paglia and the Bridge of Sighs,
between the Doges' Palace and the prison; up the winding Rio di S. Maria
Formosa, and then into the Rio dei Mendicanti with a glimpse of the
superb Colleoni statue and SS. Giovanni e Paoli and the lions on the
Scuola of S. Mark; under the bridge with a pretty Madonna on it; and so
up the Rio dei Mendicanti, passing on the left a wineyard with two
graceful round arches in it and then a pleasant garden with a pergola,
and then a busy squero with men always at work on gondolas new or old.
And so beneath a high bridge to the open lagoon, with the gay walls and
sombre cypresses of the cemetery immediately in front and the island of
Murano beyond.

Many persons stop at the Campo Santo, but there is not much profit in so
doing unless one is a Blair or an Ashton. Its cypresses are more
beautiful from the water than close at hand, and the Venetian tombstones
dazzle. Moreover, there are no seats, and the custodian insists upon
abstracting one's walking-stick. I made fruitless efforts to be directed
to the English section, where among many graves of our countrymen is
that of the historical novelist, G.P.R. James.


[Illustration: THE RIO TORRESELLE AND BACK OF THE PALAZZO DARIO]


Murano is interesting in art as being the home of that early school of
painting in which the Vivarini were the greatest names, which supplied
altar-pieces for all the Venetian churches until the Bellini arrived
from Padua with more acceptable methods. The invaders brought in an
element of worldly splendour hitherto lacking. From the concentrated
saintliness of the Vivarini to the sumptuous assurance of Titian is a
far cry, yet how few the years that intervened! To-day there are no
painters in Murano; nothing indeed but gardeners and glass-blowers, and
the island is associated purely with the glass industry. Which is the
most interesting furnace, I know not, for I have always fallen to the
first of all, close to the landing stage, and spent there several
amusing half-hours, albeit hotter than the innermost pit. Nothing ever
changes there: one sees the same artificers and the same routine; the
same flames rage; glass is the same mystery, beyond all conjuring, so
ductile and malleable here, so brittle and rigid everywhere else. There
you sit, or stand, some score of visitors, while the wizards round the
furnace busily and incredibly convert molten blobs of anything (you
would have said) but glass into delicate carafes and sparkling vases.
Meanwhile the sweat streams from them in rivulets, a small Aquarius ever
and anon fetches tumblers of water from a tap outside or glasses of red
wine, and a soft voice at your ear, in whatever language you happen to
be, supplies a commentary on the proceedings. Beware of listening to it
with too much interest, for it is this voice which, when the
glass-blowing flags, is proposing to sell you something. The "entrance"
may be "free," but the exit rarely is so.

Let me describe a particular feat. After a few minutes, in sauntered a
little lean detached man with a pointed beard and a long cigar, who
casually took from a workman in the foreground a hollow iron rod, at the
end of which was a more than commonly large lump of the glowing mass.
This he whirled a little, by a rotatory movement of the rod between the
palms of his hands, and then again dipped it into the heart of the
flames, fetching it out more fiery than ever and much augmented. This
too he whirled, blowing down the pipe first (but without taking his
cigar from his mouth) again and again, until the solid lump was a great
glistening globe. The artist--for if ever there was an artist it is
he--carried on this exhausting task with perfect nonchalance, talking
and joking with the others the while, but never relaxing the
concentration of his hands, until there came a moment when the globe was
broken from the original rod and fixed in some magical way to another.
Again it went into the furnace, now merely for heat and not for any
accretion of glass, and coming out, behold it was a bowl; and so, with
repeated visits to the flames, on each return wider and shallower, it
eventually was finished as an exact replica of the beautiful greeny-blue
flower-dish on a neighbouring table. The artist, still smoking, then
sauntered out again for fresh air, and was seen no more for a while.

But one should not be satisfied with the sight of the fashioning of a
bowl or goblet, however interesting the process may be; but entering the
gondola again should insist upon visiting both S. Pietro Martire and S.
Donato, even if the gondolier, as is most probable, will affirm that
both are closed.

The first named is on the left of the canal by which we enter Murano,
and which for a while is bordered by glass factories as close together
as doctors in Harley Street. The church architecturally is nothing; its
value is in its pictures, especially a Bellini and a Basaiti, and its
sacristan.

This sacristan has that simple keenness which is a rarity in Venice. He
rejoices in his church and in your pleasure in it. He displays first the
Bellini--a Madonna with the strong protective Bellini hands about the
child, above them bodiless cherubim flying, and on the right a
delectable city with square towers. The Basaiti is chiefly notable for
what, were it cleaned, would be a lovely landscape. Before both the
sacristan is ecstatic, but on his native heath, in the sacristy itself,
he is even more contented. It is an odd room, with carvings all around
it in which sacred and profane subjects are most curiously mingled: here
John the Baptist in the chief scenes of his life, even to imprisonment
in a wooden cage, into which the sacristan slips a delighted expository
hand, and there Nero, Prometheus, Bacchus, and Seneca without a nose.

Re-entering the gondola, escorted to it by hordes of young Muranese, we
move on to the Grand Canal of the island, a noble expanse of water.
After turning first to the right and then to the left, and resisting an
invitation to enter the glass museum, we disembark, beside a beautiful
bridge, at the cathedral, which rises serenely from the soil of its
spacious campo.

The exterior of S. Donato is almost more foreign looking than that of S.
Mark's, although within S. Mark's is the more exotic. The outside wall
of S. Donato's apse, which is the first thing that the traveller sees,
is its most beautiful architectural possession and utterly different
from anything in Venice: an upper and a lower series of lovely, lonely
arches, empty and meaningless in this Saharan campo, the fire of
enthusiasm which flamed in their original builders having died away, and
this corner of the island being almost depopulated, for Murano gathers
now about its glass-works on the other side of its Grand Canal. Hence
the impression of desertion is even less complete than at Torcello,
where one almost necessarily visits the cathedral in companies twenty to
fifty strong.

At the door, to which we are guided by a boy or so who know that
cigarettes are thrown away at sacred portals, is the sacristan, an aged
gentleman in a velvet cap who has a fuller and truer pride in his fane
than any of his brothers in Venice yonder. With reason too, for this
basilica is so old as to make many Venetian churches mere mushrooms, and
even S. Mark's itself an imitation in the matter of inlaid pavement.
Speaking slowly, with the perfection of enunciation, and burgeoning with
satisfaction, the old fellow moves about the floor as he has done so
many thousand times, pointing out this beauty and that, above and below,
without the faintest trace of mechanism. In course of time, when he is
fully persuaded that we are not only English but worthy of his secret,
it comes out that he had the priceless privilege of knowing Signor
"Rooskin" in the flesh, and from his pocket he draws a copy of _The
Stones of Venice_, once the property of one Constance Boyle, but now his
own. This he fondles, for though the only words in his own chapters that
he can understand are "Murano" and "Donato," yet did not his friend the
great Signor Rooskin write it, and what is more, spend many, many days
in careful examination of everything here before he wrote it? For that
is what most appeals to the old gentleman: the recognition of his S.
Donato as being worthy of such a study.

The floor is very beautiful, and there is a faded series of saints by
one of the Vivarini of Murano, behind the altar, on which the eye rests
very comfortably--chiefly perhaps on the panels which are only painted
curtains; but the most memorable feature of the cathedral is the ancient
Byzantine mosaic of the Madonna--a Greek Madonna--in the hollow of the
apse: a long slender figure in blue against a gold background who holds
her hands rather in protest than welcome, and is fascinating rather for
the piety which set her there with such care and thought to her glory
than for her beauty. Signor Rooskin, it is true, saw her as a symbol of
sadness, and some of the most exquisite sentences of "The Stones of
Venice" belong to her; but had her robe been of less lovely hues it is
possible that he might have written differently.

When the church was built, probably in the tenth century, the Virgin was
its patron saint. S. Donato's body being brought hither by Doge Domenico
Michiel (1118-1130), the church was known as Santa Maria, or San Donato;
and to-day it is called S. Donato. And when the time comes for the old
sacristan to die, I hope (no matter what kind of a muddle his life has
been) that S. Donato will be at hand, near the gate, to pull him
through, for sheer faithfulness to his church.

The gondola returns by the same route, and as we pass the Campo Santo
the rays of the afternoon sun seem so to saturate its ruddy walls that
they give out light of their own. It is in order to pass slowly beneath
these walls and cypresses that I recommend the gondola as the medium for
a visit to Murano. But the penny steamers go to a pier close to S.
Donato and are frequent.

Murano is within every visitor's range, no matter how brief his stay,
but Burano is another matter. The steamer which sails from the pier
opposite Danieli's on all fine afternoons except Sundays and holidays
requires four hours; but if the day be fine they are four hours not to
be forgotten. The way out is round the green island of S. Elena,
skirting the Arsenal, the vastness of which is apparent from the water,
and under the north wall of Murano, where its pleasant gardens spread,
once so gay with the Venetian aristocracy but now the property of market
gardeners and lizards. Then through the channels among the shallows,
north, towards the two tall minarets in the distance, the one of Burano,
the other of Torcello. Far away may be seen the Tyrolean Alps, with, if
it is spring, their snow-clad peaks poised in the air; nearer, between
us and the islands, is a military or naval station, and here and there
yellow and red sail which we are to catch and pass. Venice has nothing
more beautiful than her coloured sails, both upon the water and
reflected in it.

The entrance to Burano is by a long winding canal, which at the Campo
Santo, with its battered campanile and sentinel cypress at the corner,
branches to left and right--left to Torcello and right to Burano. Here
the steamer is surrounded by boatmen calling seductively in their soft
rich voices "Goon-dola! Goon-dola!" their aim, being to take the visitor
either to the cypress-covered island of S. Francesco in Deserto where S.
Francis is believed to have taken refuge, or to Torcello, to allow of a
longer stay there than this steamer permits; and unless one is enamoured
of such foul canals and importunate children as Burano possesses it is
well to listen to this lure. But Burano has charms, notwithstanding its
dirt. Its squalid houses are painted every hue that the prism knows, and
through the open doors are such arrays of copper and brass utensils as
one associates with Holland. Every husband is a fisherman; every wife a
mother and a lace maker, as the doorways bear testimony, for both the
pillow and the baby in arms are punctually there for the procession of
visitors to witness. Whether they would be there did not the word go
round that the steamer approached, I cannot say, but here and there the
display seems a thought theatrical. Meanwhile in their boats in the
canals, or on the pavement mending nets, are the Burano men.

Everybody is dirty. If Venice is the bride of the Adriatic, Burano is
the kitchen slut.


[Illustration: VENUS, RULER OF THE WORLD
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Accademia_]


Yet there is an oasis of smiling cleanliness, and that is the chief
sight of the place--the Scuola Merletti, under the patronage of Queen
Margherita, the centre of the lace-making industry. This building, which
is by the church, is, outside, merely one more decayed habitation. You
pass within, past the little glass box of the custodian, whose small
daughter is steering four inactive snails over the open page of a
ledger, and ascend a flight of stairs, and behold you are in the midst
of what seem to be thousands of girls in rows, each nursing her baby. On
closer inspection the babies are revealed to be pillows held much as
babies are held, and every hand is busy with a bobbin (or whatever it
is), and every mouth seems to be munching. Passing on, you enter another
room--if the first has not abashed you--and here are thousands more.
Pretty girls too, some of them, with their black massed hair and olive
skins, and all so neat and happy. Specimens of their work, some of it of
miraculous delicacy, may be bought and kept as a souvenir of a most
delightful experience.

For the rest, the interest of Burano is in Burano itself in the
aggregate; for the church is a poor gaudy thing and there is no
architecture of mark. And so, fighting one's way through small boys who
turn indifferent somersaults, and little girls whose accomplishment is
to rattle clogged feet and who equally were born with an extended hand,
you rejoin the steamer.

Torcello is of a different quality. Burano is intensely and rather
shockingly living; Torcello is nobly dead. It is in fact nothing but
market gardens, a few houses where Venetian sportsmen stay when they
shoot duck and are royally fed by kitcheners whose brass and copper make
the mouth water, and a great forlorn solitary cathedral.

History tells us that in the sixth century, a hundred and more years
after the flight of the mainlanders to Rialto and Malamocco, another
exodus occurred, under fear of Alboin and the invading Lombards, this
time to Torcello. The way was led by the clergy, and quickly a church
was built to hearten the emigrants. Of this church there remain the
deserted buildings before us, springing from the weeds, but on a scale
which makes simple realization of the populousness of the ancient
colony.

The charming octagonal little building on the right with its encircling
arcade is the church of S. Fosca, now undergoing very thorough repair:
in fact everything that a church can ask is being restored to it, save
religion. No sea cave could be less human than these deserted temples,
given over now to sightseers and to custodians who demand admittance
money. The pit railed in on the left before the cathedral's west wall is
in the ancient baptistery, where complete immersion was practised. The
cathedral within is remarkable chiefly for its marble throne high up in
the apse, where the bishop sat with his clergy about him on
semi-circular seats gained by steps. Above them are mosaics, the Virgin
again, as at S. Donato, in the place of honour, but here she is given
her Son and instantly becomes more tender. The twelve apostles attend.
On the opposite wall is a quaint mosaic of the Last Judgment with the
usual sharp division of parties. The floor is very beautiful in places,
and I have a mental picture of an ancient and attractive carved marble
pulpit.

The vigorous climb the campanile, from which, as Signor Rooskin says,
may be seen Torcello and Venice--"Mother and Daughter ... in their
widowhood." Looking down, it is strange indeed to think that here once
were populous streets.

On the way to the campanile do not forget to notice the great stone
shutters of the windows of the cathedral; which suggest a security
impossible to be conveyed by iron. No easy task setting these in their
place and hinging them. What purpose the stone arm-chair in the grass
between the baptistery and S. Fosca served is not known. One guide will
have it the throne of Attila; another, a seat of justice. Be that as it
may, tired ladies can find it very consoling in this our twentieth
century.

For antiquaries there is a museum of excavated relics of Torcello; but
with time so short it is better to wander a little, seeking for those
wild flowers which in England are objects of solicitude to gardeners, or
watching butterflies that are seen in our country only when pinned on
cork.

The return voyage leaves S. Francesco in Deserto on the right, with
the long low Lido straight ahead. Then we turn to the right and the Lido
is on the left for most of the way to Venice. After a mile or so the
mouth of the Adriatic is passed, where the Doge dropped his ring from
the Bucintoro and thus renewed the espousals. On the day which I have in
mind two airships were circling the city, and now and then the rays of
the sun caught their envelopes and turned them to silver. Beneath, the
lagoon was still as a pond; a few fishing boats with yellow sails lay at
anchor near the Porto di Lido, like brimstone butterflies on a hot
stone; and far away the snow of the Tyrolean alps still hung between
heaven and earth.




CHAPTER XV

ON FOOT. I: FROM THE PIAZZA TO S. STEFANO

The Ridotto--The Fenice Theatre--The Goldoni Theatre--_Amleto_--A star
part--S. Zobenigo--S. Stefano--Cloisters--Francesco Morosini--A great
soldier--Nicolo Tommaseo--The Campo Morosini--Red hair.


Leaving the Piazza at the corner diagonally opposite the Merceria clock,
we come at once into the busy Salizzada S. Moise, where the shops for
the more expensive tourists are to be found. A little way on the right
is the beginning of the Frezzeria, a Venetian shopping centre second
only to the Merceria. A little way on the left is the Calle del Ridotto
where, divided now into a cinema theatre, auction rooms, a restaurant,
and the Grand Canal Hotel, is the once famous Ridotto of which Casanova
has much to tell. Here were held masquerades; here were gambling tables;
hither Venice resorted to forget that she had ever been great and to
make sure that she should be great no longer. The Austrians suppressed
it.

The church of S. Moise, with its very florid facade of statuary, has
little of interest in it. Keeping with the stream and passing the
Bauer-Gruenwald restaurant on the left, we come in a few minutes to a
bridge--the Ponte delle Ostreghe (or Oysters)--over a rio at the end of
which, looking to the right, we see the great Venetian theatre, the
Fenice.

The Fenice is, I suppose, the most romantic theatre in the world, for
the simple reason that the audience, at any rate those who occupy the
boxes, all arrive in boats. Before it is a basin for the convenience of
navigation, but even with that the confusion on a gala night must be
excessive, and a vast space of time must divide the first comers from
the last, if the last are to be punctual. And when one translates our
own difficulties over cars and cabs at the end of a performance into the
terms of gondolas and canals, one can imagine how long it must be before
the theatre is emptied.

The Fenice is also remarkable among the world's theatres for its size,
holding, as it does, three thousand persons. It is peculiar furthermore
in being open only for a few weeks in the spring.

I have not been to the Fenice, but I once attended a performance of
_Amleto_ by "G. Shakespeare" in the Goldoni. It is the gayest of
theatres, and the most intimate, for all save the floor and a trifling
space under the flat ceiling is boxes; one hundred and twenty-three
little ones and eight big ones, each packed with Venetians who really do
enjoy a play while it is in progress, and really do enjoy every minute
of the interval while it is not. When the lights are up they eat and
chatter and scrutinize the other boxes; when the lights are down they
follow the drama breathlessly and hiss if any one dares to whisper a
word to a neighbour.

As for the melancholy Prince of Danimarca, he was not my conception of
the part, but he was certainly the Venetians'. Either from a national
love of rhetoric, or a personal fancy of the chief actor for the centre
of the stage, or from economical reasons, the version of "G.
Shakespeare's" meritorious tragedy which was placed before us was almost
wholly monologue. Thinking about it now, I can scarcely recall any
action on the part of the few other characters, whereas Amleto's
millions of rapid words still rain uncomprehended on my ears, and I
still see his myriad grimaces and gestures. It was like _Hamlet_ very
unintelligently arranged for a very noisy cinema, and watching it I was
conscious of what a vast improvement might be effected in many plays if
the cinema producer as well as the author attended the rehearsals. But
to the Venetians this was as impressive and entertaining a Hamlet as
could be wished, and four jolly Jack-tars from one of the men-of-war in
the lagoon nearly fell out of their private box in their delight, and
after each of the six atti Amleto was called several times through the
little door in the curtain. Nor did he fail to respond.

About the staging of the play there was a right Shakespearian parsimony.
If all the scenery and costumes cost twenty-five pounds, I am surprised.
No attempt was made to invest "lo spettro del padre del Amleto" with
supernatural graces. He merely walked on sideways, a burly, very living
Italian, and with a nervous quick glance, to see if he was clearing the
wing (which he sometimes did not), off again. So far as the Goldoni is
concerned, Sir Henry Irving, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Sir Augustus
Harris, and Herr Reinhardt have toiled in vain. Amleto's principle, "The
play's the thing," was refined down to "Amleto's the thing". Yet no
English theatre was ever in better spirits.


[Illustration: THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN
FROM THE PAINTING BY TITIAN
_In the Accademia_]


Continuing from the Bridge of the Oysters, we come shortly to S.
Zobenigo, or S. Maria del Giglio (of the lily), of which the guide-books
take very little account, but it is a friendly, cheerful church with a
sweet little dark panelled chapel at the side, all black and gold with
rich tints in its scriptural frieze. The church is not famous for any
picture, but it has a quaint relief of S. Jerome in his cell, with his
lion and his books about him, in the entrance hall, and the first
altar-piece on the left seemed to me a pleasant soft thing, and over the
door are four female saints freely done. On the facade are stone maps of
Zara, Candia, Padua, Rome, Corfu, and Spalata, which originally were
probably coloured and must then have been very gay, and above are stone
representations of five naval engagements.

All that remains of S. Zobenigo's campanile is the isolated structure in
the Piazza. It did not fall but was taken down in time.

Still following the stream and maintaining as direct a line as the calli
permit, we come, by way of two more bridges, a church (S. Maurizio), and
another bridge, to the great Campo Morosoni where S. Stefano is
situated.

For sheer comfort and pleasure I think that S. Stefano is the first
church in Venice. It is spacious and cheerful, with a charming rosetted
ceiling and carved and coloured beams across the nave, and a bland light
illumines all. It is remarkable also as being one of the very few
Venetian churches with cloisters. Here one may fancy oneself in Florence
if one has the mind. The frescoes are by Pordenone, but they have almost
perished. By some visitors to Venice, S. Stefano may be esteemed
furthermore as offering a harbour of refuge from pictures, for it has
nothing that need be too conscientiously scrutinized.

The fine floor tomb with brass ornaments is that of Francesco Morosoni,
the heroic defender of Candia against the Turks until, in 1669, further
resistance was found to be useless and he made an honourable retreat.
Later he was commander of the forces in a new war against the Turks, and
in 1686 he was present at the sack of Athens and did what he could
(being a lover of the arts as well as a soldier) to check the destroying
zeal of his army. It was there that he at last fulfilled his dreams of
conquering the Morea. It was while he was conducting this campaign that
the Doge Marcantonio Giustinian died, and Morosoni being elected in his
place was crowned on his battleship at Porto Porro in Cephalonia. The
carousals of the army and navy lasted for three days, at the new Doge's
cost, the resources of the fleet having no difficulty in running to
every kind of pageantry and pyrotechny. Returning to Venice, after the
somewhat inglorious end of his campaign, Morosoni was again crowned.

Although a sick man when a year or so later a strong hand was again
needed in the Morea, the Doge once more volunteered and sailed from the
Lido with the fleet. But he was too old and too infirm, and he died in
Nauplia in 1694. Venice was proud of him, and with reason; for he won
back territory for her (although she was not able to keep it), and he
loved her with a pure flame. But he was behind his time: he was an iron
ruler, and iron rule was out of date. The new way was compromise and
pleasure.

The marble lions that now guard the gate of the Arsenal were saved and
brought home by Morosoni, as his great fighting ducal predecessor Enrico
Dandolo had in his day of triumph brought trophies from Constantinople.
The careers of the two men are not dissimilar; but Morosoni was a child
beside Dandolo, for at his death he was but seventy-six.

The campo in front of S. Stefano bears Morosoni's name, but the statue
in the midst is not that of General Booth, as the English visitor might
think, but of Niccolo Tommaseo (1802-1874), patriot and author and the
ally of Daniele Manin. This was once a popular arena for bull-fights,
but there has not been one in Venice for more than a hundred years.

Morosoni's palace, once famous for its pictures, is the palace on the
left (No. 2802) as we leave the church for the Accademia bridge.
Opposite is another ancient palace, now a scholastic establishment with
a fine Neptune knocker. Farther down on the left is a tiny campo, across
which is the vast Palazzo Pisani, a very good example of the decay of
Venice, for it is now a thousand offices and a conservatory of music.

Outside S. Vitale I met, in the space of one minute, two red-haired
girls, after seeking the type in vain for days; and again I lost it. But
certain artists, when painting in Venice, seem to see little else.

And now, being close to the iron bridge which leads to the door of the
Accademia, let us see some pictures.




CHAPTER XVI

THE ACCADEMIA. I: TITIAN, TINTORETTO, AND PAUL VERONESE

The important rooms--Venetian art in London--The ceiling of the thousand
wings--Some early painters--Titian's "Assumption"--Tintoretto's
"Miracle of S. Mark"--A triumph of novelty--The Campanile
miracle--Altar-pieces--Paul Veronese--Leonardo drawings--Indifferent
works--Jesus in the house of Levi--A painter on his trial--Other
Tintorettos--Another miracle of S. Mark--Titian's last painting.


The Accademia, which is to Venice what the National Gallery is to
London, the Louvre to Paris, and the Uffizi to Florence, is, I may say,
at once, as a whole a disappointment; and my advice to visitors is to
disregard much of it absolutely.

The reasons why Rooms II, IV, IX, X, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX and XX
alone are important are two. One is that so wide a gulf is fixed between
the best Venetian painters--Bellini, Titian, Carpaccio, Giorgione (but
he is not represented here), Palma, Tintoretto, Veronese, and the next
best; and the other, that Venetian painting of the second order is
rarely interesting. In the Tuscan school an effort to do something
authentic or arresting persists even to the fifth and sixth rank of
painter; but not so here.

Were it not for the Accademia's Tintorettos, Carpaccios and Bellinis,
our own Venetian collection in Trafalgar Square would be much more
interesting; and even as it is we have in "The Origin of the Milky Way"
a Tintoretto more fascinating than any here; in "Bacchus and Ariadne" a
more brilliant Titian than any here; some Bellinis, such as "The Agony
in the Garden," the portrait of Loredano, and "The Death of S. Peter
Martyr," that challenge his best here; two Giorgiones and several
pictures notably of his school that cannot be matched here; the finest
Catena that exists; a more charming Basaiti than any here; a better
Antonello da Messina; and, according to some judges, the best Paul
Veronese in the world: "The House of Darius"; while when it comes to
Carlo Crivelli, he does not exist here at all.

But it has to be remembered that one does not go to Venice to see
pictures. One goes to see Venice: that is to say, an unbelievable and
wonderful city of spires and palaces, whose streets are water and whose
sunsets are liquid gold. Pictures, as we use the word, meaning paintings
in frames on the wall, as in the National Gallery or the Louvre, are not
among its first treasures. But in painting as decoration of churches and
palaces Venice is rich indeed, and by anyone who would study the three
great Venetian masters of that art--Tintoretto, Titian and Paul
Veronese--it must not only be visited but haunted. Venice alone can
prove to the world what giants these men--and especially
Tintoretto--could be when given vast spaces to play with; and since they
were Venetians it is well that we should be forced to their well-beloved
and well-served city to learn it.

Let us walk through the Accademia conscientiously, but let us dwell only
in the rooms I have selected. The first room (with a fine ceiling which
might be called the ceiling of the thousand wings, around which are
portraits of painters ranged like the Doges in the great council halls)
belongs to the very early men, of whom Jacobello del Fiore
(1400-1439) is the most agreeable. It was he who painted one of the two
lions that we saw in the museum of the Doges' Palace, the other and
better being Carpaccio's. To him also is given, by some critics, the
equestrian S. Chrysogonus, in S. Trovaso. His Accademia picture, on the
end wall, is strictly local, representing Justice with her lion and S.
Michael and S. Gabriel attending. It is a rich piece of decoration and
you will notice that it grows richer on each visit. Two other pictures
in this room that I like are No. 33, a "Coronation of the Virgin,"
painted by Michele Giambono in 1440, making it a very complete ceremony,
and No. 24, a good church picture with an entertaining predella, by
Michele di Matteo Lambertini (died 1469). The "Madonna and Child" by
Bonconsiglio remains gaily in the memory too. No doubt about the Child
being the Madonna's own.

Having finished with this room, one ought really to make directly for
Room XVII, although it is a long way off, for that room is given to
Giovanni Bellini, and Giovanni Bellini was the instructor of Titian, and
Tintoretto was the disciple of Titian, and thus, as we are about to see
Titian and Tintoretto at their best here, we should get a line of
descent. But I reserve the outline of Venetian painting until the
Bellinis are normally reached.


[Illustration: THE MIRACLE OF S. MARK
FROM THE PAINTING BY TINTORETTO
_In the Accademia_]


The two great pictures of this next room are Titian's "Assumption" and
Tintoretto's "Miracle of S. Mark," reproduced opposite page 164, and
this one. I need hardly say that it is the Titian which wins the rapture
and the applause; but the other gives me personally more pleasure. The
Titian is massive and wonderful: perhaps indeed too massive in the
conception of the Madonna, for the suggestion of flight is lacking; but
it has an earthiness, even a theatricalness, which one cannot forget,
superb though that earthiness may be. The cherubs, however, commercial
copies of which are always being made by diligent artists, are a joy.
The Titians that hang in the gallery of my mind are other than this. A
Madonna and Child and a rollicking baby at Vienna: our own "Bacchus and
Ariadne"; the Louvre "Man with a Glove": these are among them; but the
"Assumption" is not there.

Tintoretto's great picture of the "Miracle of S. Mark" was painted
between 1544 and 1548, before he was thirty. The story tells that a
pious slave, forbidden by his master to visit and venerate the house of
S. Mark, disobeyed the command and went. As a punishment his master
ordered him to be blinded and maimed; but the hands of the executioners
were miraculously stayed and their weapons refused to act. The master,
looking on, was naturally at once converted.

Tintoretto painted his picture of this incident for the Scuola of S.
Mark (now a hospital); but when it was delivered, the novelty of its
dramatic vigour--a palpitating actuality almost of the cinema--was too
much for the authorities. The coolness of their welcome infuriated the
painter, conscious as he was that he had done a great thing, and he
demanded the work back; but fortunately there were a few good judges to
see it first, and their enthusiasm carried the day. Very swiftly the
picture became a wonder of the city. Thus has it always been with the
great innovators in art, except that Tintoretto's triumph was more
speedy: they have almost invariably been condemned first.

An interesting derivative detail of the work is the gateway at the back
over which the sculptured figures recline, for these obviously were
suggested by casts, which we know Tintoretto to have possessed, of
Michael Angelo's tombs in S. Lorenzo's sacristy at Florence. Every
individual in the picture is alive and breathing, but none more
remarkably so than the woman on the left with a child in her arms and
her knee momentarily resting on a slope of the pillar. No doubt some of
the crowd are drawn, after the fashion of the time, from public men in
Venice; but I know not if they can now be identified.

Another legend of S. Mark which, by the way, should have its Venetian
pictorial rendering, tells how a man who was working on the Campanile
fell, and as he fell had the presence of mind to cry "S. Mark! S. Mark!"
whereupon a branch instantly sprang forth from the masonry below and
sustained him until help arrived. Tintoretto, who has other miracles of
S. Mark in the Royal Palace here and in the Brera at Milan, would have
drawn that falling workman magnificently.

This room also has two of Tintoretto's simpler canvases--an Adam and Eve
(with an error in it, for they are clothed before the apple is eaten)
and a Cain and Abel. The other pictures are altar-pieces of much
sweetness, by Giovanni Bellini, Carpaccio, Basaiti and Cima. The
Carpaccio is the best known by reason of the little charming celestial
orchestra at the foot of it, with, in the middle, the adorable
mandolinist who has been reproduced as a detail to gladden so many
thousands of walls. All have quiet radiance.

High over the door by which we entered is a masterly aristocratic
allegory by Paul Veronese--Venice with Hercules and Ceres--notable for
the superb drawing and vivacity of the cupid with the wheat sheaf. I
give a reproduction opposite page 102, but the Cupid unfortunately is
not distinct enough.

Room III has a Spanish picture by Ribera, interesting so near the
Tintorettos, and little else.

I am not sure that I am not happier in Room IV than anywhere else in
this gallery, for here are the drawings, and by an odd chance Venice is
rich in Leonardos. She is rich too in Raphaels, but that is less
important. Among the Leonardos, chiefly from his note books, look at No.
217, a child's leg; No. 257, children; No. 256, a darling little "Virgin
adoring"; No. 230, a family group, very charming; No. 270, a smiling
woman (but this possibly is by an imitator); No. 233, a dancing figure;
No. 231, the head of Christ; and the spirited corner of a cavalry
battle. Some of the Raphaels are exquisite, notably No. 23, a Madonna
adoring; No. 32, a baby; No. 89, a mother and child; and No. 50, a
flying angel.

In Room V are many pictures, few of which are good enough. It belongs to
the school of Giovanni Bellini and is conspicuous for the elimination of
character. Vacuous bland countenances, indicative merely of pious
mildness, surround you, reaching perhaps their highest point of meek
ineffectually in Bissolo.

The next room has nothing but dingy northern pictures in a bad light, of
which I like best No. 201, a small early unknown French portrait, and
No. 198, an old lady, by Mor.

Sala VII is Venetian again, the best picture being Romanino's
"Deposition," No. 737. An unknown treatment of Christ in the house of
Martha and Mary, No. 152, is quaint and interesting. Mary is very
comely, with long fair hair. Martha, not sufficiently resentful, lays
the table.

In Room VIII we again go north and again are among pictures that must be
cleaned if we are to see them.

And then we come to Room IX and some masterpieces. The largest picture
here is Paul Veronese's famous work, "Jesus in the House of Levi," of
which I give a reproduction opposite page 176. Veronese is not a great
favourite of mine; but there is a blandness and aristocratic ease and
mastery here that are irresistible. As an illustration of scripture it
is of course absurd; but in Venice (whose Doges, as we have seen, had so
little humour that they could commission pictures in which they were
represented on intimate terms with the Holy Family) one is accustomed to
that. As a fine massive arrangement of men, architecture, and colour, it
is superb.

It was for painting this picture as a sacred subject--or rather for
subordinating sacred history to splendid mundane effects--that the
artist was summoned before the Holy Office in the chapel of S. Theodore
on July 8, 1573. At the end of Ruskin's brief _Guide to the Principal
Pictures in the Academy of Fine Arts at Venice_, a translation of the
examination is given. Reading it, one feels that Veronese did not come
out of it too well. Whistler would have done better. I quote a little.

     _Question._ Do you know the reason why you have been summoned?

     _Answer._ No, my lord.

     _Q._ Can you imagine it?

     _A._ I can imagine it.

     _Q._ Tell us what you imagine.

     _A._ For the reason which the Reverend Prior of SS. Giovanni and
     Paolo, whose name I know not, told me that he had been here, and
     that your illustrious lordships had given him orders that I should
     substitute the figure of the Magdalen for that of a dog; and I
     replied that I would willingly have done this, or anything else for
     my own credit and the advantage of the picture, but that I did not
     think the figure of the Magdalen would be fitting or would look
     well, for many reasons, which I will always assign whenever the
     opportunity is given me.

     _Q._ What picture is that which you have named?

     _A._ It is the picture representing the last supper that Jesus took
     with His disciples in the house of Simon.

     _Q._ Where is this picture?

     _A._ In the refectory of the Friars of SS. Giovanni and Paolo.

     _Q._ In this supper of Our Lord, have you painted any attendants?

     _A._ Yes, my lord.

     _Q._ Say how many attendants, and what each is doing.

     _A._ First, the master of the house, Simon; besides, I have placed
     below him a server, who I have supposed to have come for his own
     amusement to see the arrangement of the table. There are besides
     several others, which, as there are many figures in the picture, I
     do not recollect.

     _Q._ What is the meaning of those men dressed in the German fashion
     each with a halbert in his hand?

     _A._ It is now necessary that I should say a few words.

     _The Court._ Say on.

     _A._ We painters take the same license that is permitted to poets
     and jesters. I have placed these two halberdiers--the one eating,
     the other drinking--by the staircase, to be supposed ready to
     perform any duty that may be required of them; it appearing to me
     quite fitting that the master of such a house, who was rich and
     great (as I have been told), should have such attendants.

     _Q._ That fellow dressed like a buffoon, with the parrot on his
     wrist,--for what purpose is _he_ introduced into the canvas?

     _A._ For ornament, as is usually done.

     _Q._ At the table of the Lord whom have you placed?

     _A._ The twelve Apostles.

     _Q._ What is St. Peter doing, who is the first?

     _A._ He is cutting up a lamb, to send to the other end of the
     table.

     _Q._ What is he doing who is next to him?

     _A._ He is holding a plate to receive what St. Peter will give him.

     _Q._ Tell us what he is doing who is next to this last?

     _A._ He is using a fork as a tooth-pick.

     _Q._ Who do you really think were present at that supper?

     _A._ I believe Christ and His Apostles were present; but in the
     foreground of the picture I have placed figures for ornament, of my
     own invention.

     _Q._ Were you commissioned by any person to paint Germans and
     buffoons, and such-like things in this picture?

     _A._ No, my lord; my commission was to ornament the picture as I
     judged best, which, being large, requires many figures, as it
     appears to me.

     _Q._ Are the ornaments that the painter is in the habit of
     introducing in his frescoes and pictures suited and fitting to the
     subject and to the principal persons represented, or does he really
     paint such as strike his own fancy without exercising his judgment
     or his discretion?

     _A._ I design my pictures with all due consideration as to what is
     fitting, and to the best of my judgment.

     _Q._ Does it appear to you fitting that at our Lord's last supper
     you should paint buffoons, drunkards, Germans, dwarfs, and similar
     indecencies?

     _A._ No, my lord.

     _Q._ Why, then, have you painted them?

     _A._ I have done it because I supposed that these were not in the
     place where the supper was served....

     _Q._ And have your predecessors, then, done such things?

     _A._ Michel-Angelo, in the Papal Chapel in Rome, has painted our
     Lord Jesus Christ, His mother, St. John and St. Peter, and all the
     Court of Heaven, from the Virgin Mary downwards, all naked, and in
     various attitudes, with little reverence.

     _Q._ Do you not know that in a painting like the Last Judgment,
     where drapery is not supposed, dresses are not required, and that
     disembodied spirits only are represented; but there are neither
     buffoons, nor dogs, nor armour, nor any other absurdity? And does
     it not appear to you that neither by this nor any other example you
     have done right in painting the picture in this manner, and that it
     can be proved right and decent?

     _A._ Illustrious lord, I do not defend it; but I thought I was
     doing right....

The result was that the painter was ordered to amend the picture, within
the month, at his own expense; but he does not seem to have done so.
There are two dogs and no Magdalen. The dwarf and the parrot are there
still. Under the table is a cat.


[Illustration: THE FEAST IN THE HOUSE OF LEVI
FROM THE PAINTING BY VERONESE
_In the Accademia_]


Veronese has in this room also an "Annunciation," No. 260, in which the
Virgin is very mature and solid and the details are depressingly dull.
The worst Tuscan "Annunciation" is, one feels, better than this. The
picture of S. Mark and his lion, No. 261, is better, and in 261a we
find a good vivid angel, but she has a terrific leg. The Tintorettos
include the beautiful grave picture of the Madonna and Child giving a
reception to Venetian Senators who were pleased to represent the Magi;
the "Purification of the Virgin," a nice scene with one of his vividly
natural children in it; a "Deposition," rich and glowing and very like
Rubens; and the "Crucifixion," painted as an altar-piece for SS.
Giovanni e Paolo before his sublime picture of the same subject--his
masterpiece--was begun for the Scuola of S. Rocco. If one see this, the
earlier version, first, one is the more impressed; to come to it after
that other is to be too conscious of a huddle. But it has most of the
great painter's virtues, and the soldiers throwing dice are peculiarly
his own.

Room X is notable for a fine Giorgionesque Palma Vecchio: a Holy family,
rich and strong and sweet; but the favourite work is Paris Bordone's
representation of the famous story of the Fisherman and the Doge, full
of gracious light and animation. It seems that on a night in 1340 so
violent a storm broke that even the inner waters of the lagoon were
perilously rough. A fisherman chanced to be anchoring his boat off the
Riva when a man appeared and bade him row him to the island of S.
Giorgio Maggiore. Very unwillingly he did so, and there they took on
board another man who was in armour, and orders were given to proceed to
S. Niccolo on the Lido. There a third man joined them, and the fisherman
was told to put out to sea. They had not gone far when they met a ship
laden with devils which was on her way to unload this cargo at Venice
and overwhelm the city. But on the three men rising and making the sign
of the cross, the vessel instantly vanished. The fisherman thus knew
that his passengers were S. Mark, S. George, and S. Nicholas. S. Mark
gave him a ring in token of their sanctity and the deliverance of
Venice, and this, in the picture, he is handing to the Doge.

Here, too, is the last picture that Titian painted--a "Deposition". It
was intended for the aged artist's tomb in the Frari, but that purpose
was not fulfilled. Palma the younger finished it. With what feelings,
one wonders, did Titian approach what he knew was his last work? He
painted it in 1576, when he was either ninety-nine or eighty-nine; he
died in the same year. To me it is one of his most beautiful things: not
perhaps at first, but after one has returned to it again and again, and
then for ever. It has a quality that his earlier works lack, both of
simplicity and pathos. The very weakness of the picture engages and
convinces.




CHAPTER XVII

THE ACCADEMIA. II: THE SANTA CROCE MIRACLES AND CARPACCIO

The Holy Cross--Gentile Bellini's Venice--The empty windows--Carpaccio's
Venice--The story of S. Ursula--Gay pageantry--A famous
bedroom--Carpaccio's life--Ruskin's eulogy.


In Room XV are the Santa Croce miracles. The Holy Cross was brought by
Filippo da Massaro and presented to the Scuola di S. Giovanni
Evangelista. Every year it was carried in solemn procession through
Venice and something remarkable was expected of it.

The great picture by Gentile Bellini, which shows the progress of the
Holy Cross procession across the Piazza in 1496, is historically of much
interest. One sees many changes and much that is still familiar. The
only mosaic on the facade of S. Mark's which still remains is that in
the arch over the left door; and that also is the only arch which has
been left concave. The three flagstaffs are there, but they have wooden
pediments and no lions on the top, as now. The Merceria clock tower is
not yet, and the south arcade comes flush with the campanile's north
wall; but I doubt if that was so. The miracle of that year was the
healing of a youth who had been fatally injured in the head; his father
may be seen kneeling just behind the relic.

The next most noticeable picture, also Gentile Bellini's, records a
miracle of 1500. The procession was on its way to S. Lorenzo, near the
Arsenal, from the Piazza, when the sacred emblem fell into the canal.
Straightway in jumped Andrea Vendramin, the chief of the Scuola, to save
it, and was supernaturally buoyed up by his sanctified burden. The
picture has a religious basis, but heaven is not likely, I think, to be
seriously affronted if one smiles a little at these aquatic sports.
Legend has it that the little kneeling group on the right is Gentile's
own family, and the kneeling lady on the left, with a nun behind her, is
Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus.

Bellini has made the scene vivid, but it is odd that he should have put
not a soul at a window. When we turn to Carpaccio's "Miracle" of 1494,
representing the healing of a man possessed of a devil, who may be seen
in the loggia at the left, we find a slightly richer sense of history,
for three or four women look from the windows; but Mansueti, although a
far inferior artist, is the only one to be really thorough and Venetian
in this respect.

One very interesting detail of Carpaccio's "Miracle" picture is the
Rialto bridge of his time. It was of wood, on piles, and a portion in
the centre could be drawn up either to let tall masts through or to stop
the thoroughfare to pursuers. It is valuable, too, for its costumes and
architecture. In a gondola is a dog, since one of those animals finds
its way into most of his works. This time it is S. Jerome's dog from the
picture at S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni. An English translation of the
Santa Croce story might well be placed in this room.

Before leaving this room one should look again at the haunting portrait
of S. Lorenzo Giustiniani, No. 570, by Gentile Bellini, which has faded
and stained so graciously into a quiet and beautiful decoration.

It is the S. Ursula pictures in Room XVI for which, after Titian's
"Assumption," most visitors to Venice esteem the Accademia; but to my
mind the charm of Carpaccio is not displayed here so fully as in his
decorations at S. Giorgio. The Ursula pictures are, however, of deep
interest and are unforgettable.

But first for the story. As _The Golden Legend_ tells it, it runs thus.
Ursula was the daughter of a Christian king in Britain named Notus or
Maurus, and the fame of her beauty and wisdom spread afar, so that the
King of England, who was a heathen himself, heard of it and wished her
for his son's wife. His son, too, longed for the match, but the paganism
of his family was against it. Ursula therefore stipulated that before
the marriage could be solemnized the King of England should send to her
ten virgins as companions, and each of these virgins and herself, making
eleven, should have a retinue of a thousand other virgins, making eleven
thousand in all (or to be precise, eleven thousand and eleven) for
prayer and consecration; and that the prince moreover should be
baptised; and then at the end of three years she would marry him. The
conditions were agreed to, and the virgins collected, and all, after
some time spent in games and jousting, with noblemen and bishops among
the spectators, joined Ursula, who converted them. Being converted, they
set sail from Britain for Rome. There they met the pope, who, having a
prevision of their subsequent martyrdom, resigned the papacy, much
against the will of the Church and for reasons which are not too clear.
In Rome they were seen also by two fellow-princes named Maximus and
Africanus, who, disliking them for their Christianity, arranged with one
Julian, a prince of the Huns, that on their arrival at Cologne, on their
return journey, he should behead the whole company, and thus prevent
them from further mischief. Meanwhile Ursula's betrothed went to
Cologne to meet his bride. With the eleven thousand were many of the
most eminent bishops and other men of mark, and directly they arrived at
Cologne the Huns fell on them and killed every one except Ursula and
another named Cordula. Julian offered to make Ursula his wife, but on
her repudiation of the suggestion he shot her through the body with his
bow and arrow. Cordula hid in a ship, but the next day suffered death by
her own free will and earned a martyr's crown. All this happened in the
year A.D. 238.


[Illustration: THE DEPARTURE OF THE BRIDEGROOM AND HIS MEETING WITH
URSULA
FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO
_In the Accademia_]


Carpaccio, it will be quickly seen, disregards certain details of this
version. For example, he makes Ursula's father a King of the Moors,
although there is nothing Moorish about either that monarch, his
daughter, or his city. The first picture, which has the best light in
it, shows the ambassadors from England craving the hand of the princess.
At the back is one of those octagonal buildings so dear to this painter,
also in the city. His affection for dogs, always noticeable, is to be
seen here again, for he has placed three hounds on the quay. A clock
somewhat like that of the Merceria is on the little tower. The English
ship has a red flag. On the right is the King pondering with Ursula over
his reply. In the next picture, No. 573, the ambassadors receive this
reply. In the next the ambassadors depart, with the condition that a
term of three years must first pass. They return to a strangely
unfamiliar England: an England in which Carpaccio himself must have been
living for some time in the role of architect. This--No. 574--is a
delightful and richly mellow scene of activity, and not the least
attractive feature of it is the little fiddling boy on the left.
Carpaccio has so enjoyed the pageantry and detail, even to frescoes on
the house, crowded bridges, and so forth, that his duty as a
story-teller has suffered. In the next picture, No. 575, which is really
two, divided by the flagstaff, we have on the left the departure of the
English prince from an English seaport (of a kind which alas! has
disappeared for ever) to join in his lady-love's pilgrimage to Rome. He
bids his father farewell. Nothing could be more fascinating than the
mountain town and its battlements, and every inch of the picture is
amusing and alive. Crowds of gay people assemble and a ship has run on
the rocks. On the right, the prince meets Ursula, who also has found a
very delectable embarking place. Here are more gay crowds and sumptuous
dresses, of which the King's flowered robe is not the least. Farther
still to the right the young couple kneel before the monarch. I
reproduce this.

The apotheosis of S. Ursula, No. 576, is here interposed, very
inappropriately, for she is not yet dead or a saint, merely a pious
princess.

The story is then resumed--in No. 577--with a scene at Rome, as we know
it to be by the castle of S. Angelo, in which Ursula and her prince are
being blessed by the Pope Cyriacus, while an unending file of virgins
extends into the distance.

In the next picture, reproduced opposite page 120, Ursula, in her nice
great bed, in what is perhaps the best-known bedroom in the world,
dreams of her martyrdom and sees an angel bringing her the rewards of
fortitude. The picture has pretty thoughts but poor colour. Where the
room is meant to be, I am not sure; but it is a very charming one. Note
her little library of big books, her writing desk and hour-glass, her
pen and ink. Carpaccio of course gives her a dog. Her slippers are
beside the bed and her little feet make a tiny hillock in the
bedclothes: Carpaccio was the man to think of that! The windows are
open and she has no mosquito net. Her princess's crown is at the foot of
the bed, or is it perchance her crown of glory?

We next see the shipload of bishops and virgins arriving at Cologne.
There are fewer Carpaccio touches here, but he has characteristically
put a mischievous youth at the end of a boom. There is also a dog on the
landing-stage and a bird in the tree. A comely tower is behind with
flags bearing three crowns. The next picture shows us, on the left, the
horrid massacre of all these nice young women by a brutal German
soldiery. Ursula herself is being shot by Julian, who is not more than
six feet distant; but she meets her fate with a composure as perfect as
if instead of the impending arrow it was a benediction. On the right is
her bier, under a very pretty canopy. Wild flowers spring from the
earth.

Now should come the apotheosis.

Carpaccio was not exactly a great painter, but he was human and
ingratiating beyond any other that Venice can show, and his pictures
here and at S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni make the city a sweeter and more
lovable place, Vasari is very brief with Vittore Scarpaccia, as he calls
him, and there are few known facts. Research has placed his birth at
Capo d'Istria about 1450. His earliest picture is dated 1490: his last
1521 or 1522. Gentile Bellini was his master.

Ruskin found Carpaccio by far the most sympathetic Venetian painter.
Everything that he painted, even, as I point out later, the Museo Civico
picture of the two ladies, he exults in, here, there, and everywhere. In
his little guide to the Accademia, published in 1877, he roundly calls
Carpaccio's "Presentation of the Virgin" the "best picture" in the
gallery. In one of the letters written from Venice in _Fors
Clavigera_--and these were, I imagine, subjected to less critical
examination by their author before they saw the light than any of his
writings--is the following summary, which it may be interesting to read
here. "This, then, is the truth which Carpaccio knows, and would teach:
That the world is divided into two groups of men; the first, those whose
God is their God, and whose glory is their glory, who mind heavenly
things; and the second, men whose God is their belly, and whose glory is
in their shame, who mind earthly things. That is just as demonstrable a
scientific fact as the separation of land from water. There may be any
quantity of intermediate mind, in various conditions of bog; some,
wholesome Scotch peat,--some, Pontine marsh,--some, sulphurous slime,
like what people call water in English manufacturing towns; but the
elements of Croyance and Mescroyance are always chemically separable out
of the putrescent mess: by the faith that is in it, what life or good it
can still keep, or do, is possible; by the miscreance in it, what
mischief it can do, or annihilation it can suffer, is appointed for its
work and fate. All strong character curdles itself out of the scum into
its own place and power, or impotence: and they that sow to the Flesh,
do of the Flesh reap corruption; and they that sow to the Spirit, do of
the Spirit reap Life.

"I pause, without writing 'everlasting,' as perhaps you expected.
Neither Carpaccio nor I know anything about duration of life, or what
the word translated 'everlasting' means. Nay, the first sign of noble
trust in God and man, is to be able to act without any such hope. All
the heroic deeds, all the purely unselfish passions of our existence,
depend on our being able to live, if need be, through the Shadow of
Death: and the daily heroism of simply brave men consists in fronting
and accepting Death as such, trusting that what their Maker decrees for
them shall be well.

"But what Carpaccio knows, and what I know, also, are precisely the
things which your wiseacre apothecaries, and their apprentices, and too
often your wiseacre rectors and vicars, and _their_ apprentices, tell
you that you can't know, because 'eye hath not seen nor ear heard them,'
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God has
revealed them to _us_--to Carpaccio, and Angelico, and Dante, and
Giotto, and Filippo Lippi, and Sandro Botticelli, and me, and to every
child that has been taught to know its Father in heaven,--by the Spirit:
because we have minded, or do mind, the things of the Spirit in some
measure, and in such measure, have entered into our rest."

Let me only dare to add that it is quite possible to extract enormous
pleasure from the study of Carpaccio's works without agreeing with any
of the foregoing criticism.




CHAPTER XVIII

THE ACCADEMIA. III: GIOVANNI BELLINI AND THE LATER PAINTERS

Pietro Longhi--Hogarth--Tiepolo--A gambling wife--Canaletto--Guardi--The
Vivarini--Boccaccini--Venetian art and its beginnings--The
three Bellinis--Giovanni Bellini--A beautiful room--Titian's
"Presentation"--The busy Evangelists--A lovely ceiling.


A number of small rooms which are mostly negligible now occur. Longhi is
here, with his little society scenes; Tiepolo, with some masterly
swaggering designs; Giambettino Cignaroli, whom I mention only because
his "Death of Rachel" is on Sundays the most popular picture in the
whole gallery; and Canaletto and Guardi, with Venetian canals and
palaces and churches. For Tiepolo at his best the Labia Palace must be
visited, and Longhi is more numerously represented at the Museo Civico
than here. Both Canaletto and Guardi can be better studied in London, at
the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection. There are indeed no
works by either man to compare with the best of ours. No. 494 at
Hertford House, a glittering view of the Dogana, is perhaps Guardi's
masterpiece in England; No. 135 in the National Gallery, Canaletto's.

Pietro Longhi was born in Venice in 1702, five years after Hogarth was
born in London. He died in 1762, two years before Hogarth in Chiswick. I
mention the English painter because Longhi is often referred to as the
Venetian Hogarth. We have a picture or two by him in the National
Gallery. To see him once is to see all his pictures so far as technique
goes, but a complete set would form an excellent microcosm of
fashionable and frivolous Venice of his day. Hogarth, who no doubt
approximates more to the Venetian style of painting than to any other,
probably found that influence in the work of Sebastiano Ricci, a
Venetian who taught in St. Martin's Lane.

The brave Tiepolo--Giovanni Battista or Giambattista, as the contraction
has it--was born in Venice in 1696, the son of a wealthy merchant and
shipowner. In 1721 he married a sister of Guardi, settled down in a
house near the bridge of S. Francesco della Vigna, and had nine
children. His chief artistic education came from the study of Titian and
Paul Veronese, and he quickly became known as the most rapid and
intrepid ceiling painter of the time. He worked with tremendous spirit,
as one deduces from the the examination of his many frescoes. Tiepolo
drew with masterly precision and brio, and his colour can be very
sprightly: but one always has the feeling that he had no right to be in
a church at all, except possibly to confess.

At the National Gallery we have some small examples of Tiepolo's work,
which, if greatly magnified, would convey an excellent impression of his
mural manner. Tiepolo went to Spain in his old age to work for Charles
III, and died there in 1770. His widow survived him by nine years, dying
in 1779. She seems to have been a gambler, and there is a story of her
staking all her losses one evening against her husband's sketches.
Losing, she staked his villa, containing many of his frescoes, and lost
again.

Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, was born in Venice in 1697, the son of
a scene-painter. At first he too painted scenery, but visiting Rome he
was fascinated by its architecture and made many studies of it. On
returning to Venice he settled down as a topographical painter and
practically reproduced his native city on canvas. He died in 1768.
Venice possesses only inferior works from his hands; but No. 474
here--the view of the Scuola of S. Marco--is very fine.

Canaletto had a nephew named Bernardo Bellotto, who to much of his
uncle's skill brought a mellow richness all his own, and since he also
took the name of Canaletto, confusion has resulted. He is represented in
the Accademia; but Vienna is richest in his work.

The great Canaletto has a special interest for us in that in later life
he lived for a while in England and painted here. The National Gallery
has views of Eton College and of Ranelagh seen through his Venetian
eyes. In Venice Tiepolo often added the figures for him.

Francesco Guardi was born in Venice in 1712 and died there in 1793, and
all his life he was translating the sparkling charm of his watery city
into paint. His master was Canaletto, whom he surpassed in charm but
never equalled in foot-rule accuracy or in that gravity which makes a
really fine picture by the older man so distinguished a thing. Very
little is known of Guardi's life. That he married is certain, and he had
a daughter who eloped with an Irishman. We are told also that he was
very indolent, and late in life came upon such evil days that he
established himself at a corner of the Piazza, where Rosen's book-shop
now is, and sold sketches to whomever would buy for whatever they would
fetch; which is only one remove from a London screever. Guardi's picture
of S. Giorgio Maggiore in the Accademia, No. 707, shows us that the
earlier campanile, which fell in 1774, was higher and slenderer than the
present one.

We now come to Room XVII, which has a number of small interesting works,
some by great masters. Mantegna is here with a S. George, which I
reproduce on the opposite page. Very beautiful it is, both in feeling
and colour. It is painted on wood and the dragon is extremely dead. Here
too is Piero della Francesca, that rare spirit, but his picture, No. 47,
has almost perished. The mild Basaiti and milder Catena are here; a
pretty little Caravaggio; two good Cimas, No. 611, sweet and
translucent, and No. 592, a Tobias; and excellent examples of both
Alvise and Bartolommeo Vivarini, those pioneer brothers, a blue and
green dress of the Virgin in No. 615 by Bartolommeo being exquisite.
Here too is a Cosimo Tura, No. 628, poor in colour but fine in the
drawing of the baby Christ; and a rich unknown Lombardian version of
Christ washing His disciples' feet, No. 599, which is not strong in
psychology but has noticeable quality.

The most purely charming work in the room is a Boccaccio Boccaccini, No.
600, full of sweetness and pretty thoughts. The Madonna is surrounded by
saints, the figure in the centre having the true Boccaccini face. The
whole picture is a delight, whether as a group of nice holy people, a
landscape, or a fantasy of embroidery. The condition of the picture is
perfect too. The flight into Egypt, in two phases, goes on in the
background. I reproduce it opposite page 266.

And then we move to the room devoted to Giovanni Bellini, performing as
we do so an act of sacrilege, for one cannot pass through the pretty
blue and gold door without interrupting an Annunciation, the angel
having been placed on one side of it and the Virgin on the other.


[Illustration: S. GEORGE
FROM THE PAINTING BY MANTEGNA
_In the Accademia_]


Giovanni Bellini was born in 1426, nearly a century after Giotto died.
His father and teacher was Jacopo Bellini, who had a school of painting
in Padua and was the rival in that city of Squarcione, a scientific
instructor who depended largely on casts from the antique to point his
lessons. Squarcione's most famous pupil was Andrea Mantegna, who
subsequently married Giovanni Bellini's sister and alienated his master.

According to Vasari, oil-painting reached Venice through Antonello da
Messina, who had learned the art in the Netherlands. But that cannot be
true. It came to Venice from Verona or Padua long after Florence could
boast many fine masters, the delay being due to the circumstance that
the Venetians thought more of architecture than the sister art. The
first painters to make any success in Venice were the Vivarini of
Murano. The next were Giovanni Bellini and Gentile his brother, who
arrived from Padua about 1460, the one to paint altar-pieces in the
Tuscan manner (for there is little doubt that the sweet simplicity and
gentle radiance of the Giotto frescoes in the chapel of the Madonna
dell'Arena, which the Paduans had the privilege of seeing for two or
three generations before Squarcione was born, had greater influence than
either Jacopo Bellini or Mantegna); and the other to paint church
pageants, such as we saw in an earlier room.

Giovanni remained in Venice till his death, in 1516, at the ripe age of
ninety, and nearly to the end was he both a busy painter and an
interested and impressionable investigator of art, open to the influence
of his own pupil Giorgione, and, when eighty, being the only painter in
Venice to recognize the genius of Duerer, who was then on a visit to the
city. Duerer, writing home, says that Bellini had implored him for a work
and wanted to pay for it. "Every one gives him such a good character
that I feel an affection for him. He is very old and is yet the best in
painting."

In his long life Bellini saw all the changes and helped in their making.
He is the most varied and flexible painter of his time, both in manner
and matter. None could be more deeply religious than he, none more
tender, none more simple, none more happy. In manner he was equally
diverse, and could paint like a Paduan, a Tuscan, a Fleming, a Venetian,
and a modern Frenchman. I doubt if he ever was really great as we use
the word of Leonardo, Titian, Tintoretto, Mantegna; but he was
everything else. And he was Titian's master.

The National Gallery is rich indeed in Bellini's work. We have no fewer
than ten pictures that are certainly his, and others that might be; and
practically the whole range of his gifts is illustrated among them.
There may not be anything as fine as the S. Zaccaria or Frari
altar-pieces, or anything as exquisite as the Allegories in the
Accademia and the Uffizi; but after that our collection is unexcelled in
its examples.


[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Accademia_]


In this little precious room of the Accademia are thirteen Bellinis,
each in its way a gem: enough to prove that variousness of which I
spoke. The "Madonna degli Alberetti," for example, with its unexpected
apple-green screen, almost Bougereau carried out to the highest power,
would, if hung in any exhibition to-day, be remarkable but not
anachronistic. And then one thinks of the Gethsemane picture in our
National Gallery, and of the Christ recently acquired by the Louvre, and
marvels. For sheer delight of fancy, colour, and design the five scenes
of Allegory are the flower of the room; and here again our thoughts leap
forward as we look, for is not the second of the series, "Venus the
Ruler of the World," sheer Burne-Jones? The pictures run thus: (1)
"Bacchus tempting Endeavour," (2) either Venus, with the sporting
babies, or as some think, Science (see the reproduction opposite page
158), (3) with its lovely river landscape, "Blind Chance," (4) the Naked
Truth, and (5) Slander. Of the other pictures I like best No. 613,
reproduced opposite page 260, with the Leonardesque saint on the right;
and No. 610, with its fine blues, light and dark, and the very Venetian
Madonna; and the Madonna with the Child stretched across her knees,
reproduced opposite page 144.

Giovanni Bellini did not often paint anything that can be described as
essentially Venetian. He is called the father of Venetian painting, but
his child only faintly resembles him, if at all. That curious change of
which one is conscious at the National Gallery in passing from Rooms I
and VI to Room VII, from Tuscany and Umbria to Venice, is due less to
the Bellinis in Room VII than to any painter there. The Bellinis could
be hung in Rooms I and VI without violence; the Giorgiones and Titians
and Tintorettos would conflict. Bellini's simplicity allies him to
Giotto traditions; but there was no simplicity about Giorgione, Titian,
and Tintoretto. They were sophisticated, and the two last were also the
painters of a wealthy and commanding Republic. One can believe that
Bellini, wherever he was, even in the Doges' Palace, carried a little
enclosed portion of the Kingdom of God within him: but one does not
think of those others in that way. He makes his Madonnas so much more
real and protective too. Note the strong large hands which hold the
Child in his every picture.

Titian's fine martial challenging John the Baptist is the great picture
of the next room, No. XIX. Here also are good but not transcendent
portraits by Titian, Tintoretto, and Lotto, and the Battle of Lepanto,
with heavenly interference, by Veronese.

Finally, we come to the room set apart for Titian's charming conception
of "The Presentation of the Virgin," which fills all one wall of it. I
give a reproduction opposite page 36. The radiant figure of the
thick-set little brave girl in blue, marching so steadily away from her
parents to the awe-inspiring but kindly priests at the head of the
steps, is unforgettable. Notice the baby in the arms of a woman among
the crowd. The picture as a whole is disappointing in colour, and I
cherish the belief that if Tintoretto's beautiful variant at the Madonna
dell'Orto (see opposite page 282) could be cleaned and set up in a good
light it might conquer.

Before leaving this room one should give the ceiling a little attention,
for it is splendid in its lovely blue and gold, and its coloured
carvings are amusing. The four Evangelists have each a medallion. All
are studious. S. Matthew, on the upper left as one stands with one's
back to the Titian, has an open-air study, and he makes notes as he
reads. His eagle is in attendance. S. Mark, with his lion at ease under
his chair, has also his open-air desk, and as he reads he thinks. S.
John is indoors, reading intently, with a box full of books to fall back
on, and a little angel peeping at him from behind his chair. Finally S.
Luke, also indoors, writing at a nice blue desk. He holds his pen very
daintily and seems to be working against time, for an hour-glass is
before him. His bull is also present. Among the many good ceilings of
Venice, this is at once the most sumptuous and most charming.




CHAPTER XIX

THE CANALE DI S. MARCO AND S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE

Busy water--The lantern concerts--Venice and modern
inventions--Fireworks in perfection--S. Giorgio Maggiore--Palladian
architecture--Two Tintorettos--The Life of S. Benedict--Realistic
wood-carving--A Giudecca garden--The Redentore--A bridge of boats--A
regatta--The view from the Giudecca--House-hunting in Venice.


Strictly speaking, the Grand Canal and the Canal of the Guidecca unite
in the lagoon; but the stretch of water between the Molo and S. Giorgio
is called the Canale di San Marco. It is the busiest water of all. Every
little steamer crosses it; motor-boats here are always at full speed;
most of the gondolas which are hired start from here; the great
mercantile boats cross it on their way in and out of harbours; and the
daily invaders from Trieste disembark and embark again in the very
middle. Hence it is always a scene of gay and sparkling movement and
always more like a Guardi than any other spot in Venice.

It is just off the Custom House point, at night, that in the summer the
concert barges are moored, each with its little party of musicians, its
cluster of Venetian lanterns, arranged rather like paper travesties of
the golden balls over S. Mark's domes, and its crowded circle of
gondolas, each like a dark private box for two. Now what more can
honeymooners ask? For it is chiefly for honeymooners that this is done,
since Venetians do not spend money to sit in stationary boats. These
concerts are popular, but they are too self-conscious. Moreover, the
songs are from all countries, even America; whereas purely Venetian, or
at any rate Italian, operatic music should, I think, be given. The stray
snatches of song which one hears at night from the hotel window;
gondoliers trolling out folk choruses; the notes of a distant mandolin,
brought down on the water--these make the true music of Venice.

But just as the motor-launch has invaded the lagoon, so has other
machinery forced its way into this city--peculiarly the one place in the
world which ought to have been meticulously safeguarded against every
mechanical invention. When I was living near S. Sebastiano, on my way
home at night the gondolier used to take me up the Grand Canal as far as
the Foscari lantern and then to the left. In time we came to the campo
of S. Pantaleone, where, outside a cafe, a little group was always
seated, over its wine and beer, listening raptly to the music of--what?
A gramophone. This means that while the motor is ousting the gondolier,
the Venetian minstrel is also under death sentence.

It was the same if I chose to walk part of the way, for then I took the
steamer to S. Toma and passed through the campo of S. Margherita, which
does for the poor of its neighbourhood very much what the Piazza of S.
Mark does for the centre of the city and the elite of the world. This
campo is one of the largest in Venice, and at night it is very gay.
There is a church at one end which, having lost its sanctity, is now a
cinema theatre, with luridities pasted on the walls. There is another
ancient building converted into a cinema at the opposite end. Between
these alluring extremities are various cafes, each with its chairs and
tables, and each with a gramophone that pours its notes into the night.
The panting of Caruso mingles with Tetrazzini's shrill exultation.

In summer there are occasional firework displays on the water between S.
Giorgio and the Riva, supplied by the Municipality. The Riva is then
crowded, while gondolas put out in great numbers, and myriad overloaded
crafts full of poorer sightseers enter the lagoon by all the small
canals. Having seen Venetian pyrotechny, one realizes that all fireworks
should be ignited over water. It is the only way. A rocket can climb as
fiercely and dazzlingly into any sky, no doubt, but over land the
falling stars and sparks have but one existence; over water, like the
swan "on St. Mary's lake," they have two. The displays last for nearly
an hour, and consist almost entirely of rockets. Every kind of rocket is
there: rockets which simply soar with a rush, burst into stars and fall;
rockets which when they reach the highest point of their trajectory
explode with a report that shakes the city and must make some of the
campanili very nervous; rockets which burst into a million sparks;
rockets which burst into a thousand streamers; rockets whose stars
change colour as they fall; rockets whose stars do not fall at once but
hang and hover in the air. All Venice is watching, either from the land
or the water, and the band plays to a deserted Piazza, but directly the
display is over every one hastens back to hear its strains.

To get to the beautiful island of S. Giorgio it is almost necessary to
take a gondola; for although there is the Giudecca steamer every half
hour, it is an erratic boat, and you may be left stranded too long
waiting to return. The island is military, save for the church, and that
is chiefly a show-place to-day. It is large and light, but it has no
charm, for that was not Palladio's gift. That he was a great man, every
visitor to Vicenza knows; but it is both easy and permissible to dislike
the architecture to which he gives his name. Not that any fault can be
found with S. Giorgio Maggiore as a detail in the landscape: to me it
will always be the perfect disposition of buildings in the perfect
place; but then, on the other hand, the campanile was not Palladio's,
nor was the facade, while the principal attraction of his dome is its
green copper. The church of the Redentore, on the Giudecca, is much more
thoroughly Palladian.

Andrea Palladio was born in Vicenza in 1518. In Venice he built S.
Giorgio Maggiore (all but the facade), the facade of S. Francesco della
Vigna, the Redentore, Le Zitelle and S. Lucia. Such was Palladio's
influence that for centuries he practically governed European
architecture. Our own St. Paul's would be very different but for him. He
died in 1580 and was buried at Vicenza. By the merest chance, but very
fortunately, he was prevented from bedevilling the Ducal Palace after
the fire in 1576. He had the plans all ready, but a wiser than he, one
Da Ponte, undertook to make the structure good without rebuilding, and
carried out his word. Terrible to think of what the Vicenza classicist
would have done with that gentle, gay, and human facade!


[Illustration: TRAGHETTO OF S. ZOBENIGO, GRAND CANAL]


S. Giorgio has a few pictures, chief of which are the two great
Tintorettos in the choir. These are, however, very difficult to see. My
own efforts once led me myself to open the gates and enter, so that I
might be nearer and in better light: a proceeding which turned the
sacristan from a servant of God into an ugly brawler. A gift of money,
however, returned him to his rightful status; but he is a churlish
fellow. I mention the circumstance because it is isolated in my
Venetian wanderings. No other sacristan ever suggested that the whole
church was not equally free or resented any unaccompanied exploration.

The Tintorettos belong to his most spacious and dramatic style. One,
"The Last Supper," is a busy scene of conviviality. The company is all
at one side of the table and the two ends, except the wretched
foredoomed Judas. There is plenty to eat. Attendants bustle about
bringing more food. A girl, superbly drawn and painted, washes plates,
with a cat beside her. A dog steals a bone. The disciples seem restless
and the air is filled with angels. Compared with the intensity and
single-mindedness of Leonardo, this is a commonplace rendering; but as
an illustration to the Venetian Bible, it is fine; and as a work of art
by a mighty and original genius glorying in difficulties of light and
shade, it is tremendous. Opposite is a quieter representation of the
miracle of the manna, which has very charming details of a domestic
character in it, the women who wash and sew and carry on other
employments being done with splendid ease and naturalness. The manna
lies about like little buttons; Moses discourses in the foreground; in
the distance is the Israelite host. All that the picture lacks is light:
a double portion: light to fall on it, and its own light to be allowed
to shine through the grime of ages.

Tintoretto also has two altar-pieces here, one an "Entombment," in the
Mortuary Chapel--very rich and grave and painful, in which Christ's
mother is seen swooning in the background; and the other a death of S.
Stephen, a subject rare with the Old Masters, but one which, were there
occasion to paint it, they must have enjoyed. Tintoretto has covered the
ground with stones.

The choir is famous for its series of forty-six carved panels,
representing scenes in the life of S. Benedict; but some vandal having
recently injured one or two, the visitor is no longer allowed to
approach near enough to examine them with the thoroughness that they
demand and deserve. They are the work of a carver named Albert de Brule,
of whose life I have been able to discover nothing. Since before
studying them it is well to know something of the Saint's career, I tell
the story here, from _The Golden Legend_, but not all the incidents
which the artist fixed upon are to be found in that biography.

Benedict as a child was sent to Rome to be educated, but he preferred
the desert. Hither his nurse accompanied him, and his first token of
signal holiness was his answered prayer that a pitcher which she had
broken might be made whole again. Leaving his nurse, he associated with
a hermit who lived in a pit to which food was lowered by a rope. Near by
dwelt a priest, who one day made a great meal for himself, but before he
could eat it he received a supernatural intimation that Benedict was
hungry in a pit, and he therefore took his dinner to him and they ate it
together. A blackbird once assailing Benedict's face was repelled by the
sign of the cross. Being tempted by a woman, Benedict crawled about
among briars and nettles to maintain his Spartan spirit. He now became
the abbot of a monastery, but the monks were so worldly that he had to
correct them. In retaliation they poisoned his wine, but the saint
making the sign of the cross over it, the glass broke in pieces and the
wine was innocuously spilt. Thereupon Benedict left the monastery and
returned to the desert, where he founded two abbeys and drove the devil
out of a monk who could not endure long prayers, his method being to
beat the monk. Here also, and in the other abbeys which he founded, he
worked many miracles: making iron swim, restoring life to the dead, and
so forth. Another attempt to poison him, this time with bread, was made,
but the deadly stuff was carried away from him by a pet raven. For the
rest of the saint's many wonderful deeds of piety you must seek _The
Golden Legend_: an agreeable task. He died in the year 518.

The best or most entertaining panels seem to me the first, in which the
little bald baby saint is being washed and his mother is being coaxed to
eat something; the fourth, where we see the saint, now a youth, on his
knees; the sixth, where he occupies the hermit's cell and the hermit
lets down food; the seventh, where the hermit and Benedict occupy the
cell together and a huntsman and dog pursue their game above; the tenth,
in the monastery; the twelfth, where the whip is being laid on; the
fourteenth, with an especially good figure of Benedict; the sixteenth,
where the meal is spread; the twentieth, with the devil on the tree
trunk; the twenty-first, when the fire is being extinguished; the
twenty-fifth, with soldiers in the distance; the twenty-seventh, with a
fine cloaked figure; the twenty-eighth, where there is a struggle for a
staff; the thirtieth, showing the dormitory and a cat and mouse; the
thirty-second, a burial scene; the thirty-third, with its monsters; the
thirty-sixth, in which the beggar is very good; the thirty-ninth, where
the soldiers kiss the saint's feet; and the forty-fourth, showing the
service in the church and the soldiers' arms piled up.

One would like to know more of this Albert de Brule and his work: how
long it took; why he did it; how it came to Venice; and so forth. The
date, which applies, I suppose, to the installation of the carvings, is
1598.

The other carvings are by other hands: the S. George and dragon on the
lectern in the choir, and the little courageous boys driving Behemoths
on the stalls.

As one leaves the church by the central aisle the Dogana is seen framed
by the doorway. With each step more of Venice comes into view. The
Campanile is worth climbing for its lovely prospect.

From the little island of S. Giorgio it is but a stone's throw to the
larger island of the Giudecca, with its factories and warehouses and
stevedores, and tiny cafes each with a bowling alley at the back. The
Giudecca, which looks so populous, is however only skin deep; almost
immediately behind the long busy facade of the island are gardens, and
then the shallow lagoon stretching for miles, where fishermen are
mysteriously employed, day and night. The gardens are restful rather
than beautiful--at least that one, open to visitors, on the Rio della
Croce, may be thus described, for it is formal in its parallelograms
divided by gritty paths, and its flowers are crudely coloured. But it
has fine old twisted mulberry trees, and a long walk beside the water,
where lizards dart among the stones on the land side and on the other
crabs may be seen creeping.

On the way to this garden I stopped to watch a family of gossiping
bead-workers. The old woman who sat in the door did not thread the beads
as the girl does in one of Whistler's Venetian etchings, but stabbed a
basketful with a wire, each time gathering a few more.

The great outstanding buildings of the Giudecca are Palladio's massive
Redentore and S. Eufemia, and at the west end the modern Gothic polenta
mill of Signor or Herr Stucky, beyond which is the lagoon once more. In
Turner's picture in the National Gallery entitled "San Benedetto,
looking towards Fusina" there is a ruined tower where Stucky's mill now
stands.

The steps of the Redentore are noble, but within it is vast and cold and
inhuman, and the statues in its niches are painted on the flat.
Tintoretto's "Descent from the Cross" in the church proper is very
vivid. In the sacristy, however, the chilled visitor will be restored to
life by a truly delightful Madonna and Child, with two little celestial
musicians playing a lullaby, said to be by Bellini, but more probably by
Alvise Vivarini, and two companion pictures of much charm. Like the
Salute, the Redentore was a votive offering to heaven for stopping a
plague. Every year, on the third Sunday in July, a bridge of boats
crosses the Grand Canal at the Campo S. Zobenigo, and then from the
Zattere it crosses the Giudecca canal to this church. That day and night
the island is _en fete_. Originally these bridges were constructed in
order that the Doges might attend a solemn service; but to-day the
occasion is chiefly one of high spirits. In the gallery of the Palazzo
Pesaro is a painting representing the event at a recent date; in the
Querini Stampalia gallery a more ancient procession may be seen.

There, too, are many views of regattas which of old were held on the
Grand Canal but now belong to the canal of the Giudecca. The Venetians,
who love these races, assemble in great numbers, both on the water, in
every variety of craft, and on the quay. The winning-post is off the end
of the island of S. Giorgio; the races start from varying points towards
the harbour. In April I saw races for six oars, four oars, two oars, and
men-of-war's boats. The ordinary rowers were dull, but the powerful
bending gondoliers urging their frail craft along with tremendous
strokes in unison were a magnificent spectacle. The excitement was
intense towards the end, but there was no close finish. Between the
races the exchange of chaff among the spectators was continuous.

The question of where to live in Venice must, I think, be a difficult
one to solve. I mean by live, to make one's home, as so many English and
Americans have done. At the first blush, of course, one would say on the
Grand Canal; but there are objections to this. It is noisy with
steamboat whistles and motor horns, and will become noisier every day
and night, as the motor gains increasing popularity. On the other hand,
one must not forget that so fine a Venetian taster as Mr. Howells has
written, "for myself I must count as half lost the year spent in Venice
before I took a house upon the Grand Canal."

Personally, I think, I should seek my home elsewhere. There is a house
on this Giudecca--a little way along from the S. Giorgio end--which
should make a charming abode; for it has good windows over the water,
immediately facing, first, the little forest of masts by the Custom
House, and then the Molo and the Ducal Palace, and upon it in the
evening would fall the sinking sun, while behind it is a pleasant
garden. The drawbacks are the blasts of the big steamers entering and
leaving the harbour, the contiguity of some rather noisy works, and the
infrequency of steamboats to the mainland.

Ruskin was fond of this view. Writing to old Samuel Rogers, he said:
"There was only one place in Venice which I never lost the feeling of
joy in--at least the pleasure which is better than joy; and that was
just half way between the end of the Giudecca and St. George of the
Seaweed, at sunset. If you tie your boat to one of the posts there you
can see the Euganeans where the sun goes down, and all the Alps and
Venice behind you by the rosy sunlight: there is no other spot so
beautiful. Near the Armenian convent is, however, very good too also;
the city is handsomer, but the place is not so simple and lovely. I have
got all the right feeling back now, however; and hope to write a word or
two about Venice yet, when I have got the mouldings well out of my
head--and the mud. For the fact is, with reverence be it spoken, that
whereas Rogers says: 'There is a glorious city in the Sea,' a truthful
person must say, 'There is a glorious city in the mud'. It is startling
at first to say so, but it goes well enough with marble. 'Oh, Queen of
Marble and of Mud.'"

Another delectable house is that one, on the island of S. Giorgio
Maggiore; which looks right up the Giudecca canal and in the late
afternoon flings back the sun's rays. But that is the property of the
army. Another is at the corner of the Rio di S. Trovaso and the
Fondamenta delle Zaterre, with wistaria on it, looking over to the
Redentore; but every one, I find, wants this.




CHAPTER XX

ON FOOT. II: THREE CHURCHES AND CARPACCIO AGAIN

The Ponte di Paglia--A gondolier's shrine--The modern
prison--Danieli's--A Canaletto--S. Zaccaria--A good Bellini--A funeral
service--Alessandro Vittorio--S. Giovanni in Bragora--A good Cima--The
best little room--A seamen's institute--Carpaccio at his best--The story
of the dragon--The saint triumphant--The story of S. George--S. Jerome
and the lion--S. Jerome and the dog--S. Tryphonius and the basilisk--S.
Francesco della Vigna--Brother Antonio's picture--The Giustiniani
reliefs--Cloisters--A Veronese--Doge Andrea Gritti--Doge Niccolo
Sagredo.


I propose that we should walk from the Molo to S. Francesco della Vigna.

Our first bridge is the Ponte di Paglia (or straw), the wide and easy
glistening bridge which spans the Rio del Palazzo at the Noah corner of
the Doges' Palace. Next to the Rialto, this is the busiest bridge in the
city. Beautiful in itself, it commands great beauty too, for on the
north side you see the Bridge of Sighs and on the south the lagoon. On
its lagoon facade is a relief of a primitive gondola and the Madonna and
Child, but I have never seen a gondolier recognizing the existence of
this symbol of celestial interest in his calling.

The stern building at the corner of this bridge is the prison, with
accommodation for over two hundred prisoners. Leaning one day over the
Ponte di Paglia I saw one being brought in, in a barca with a green
box--as we should say, a Black and Green Maria. I cannot resist quoting
Coryat's lyrical passage in praise of what to most of us is as sinister
a building as could be imagined. "There is near unto the Dukes Palace a
very faire prison, the fairest absolutely that ever I saw, being divided
from the Palace by a little channell of water, and againe joyned unto it
by a merveilous faire little gallery that is inserted aloft into the
middest of the Palace wall East-ward. [He means the Bridge of Sighs.] I
thinke there is not a fairer prison in all Christendome: it is built
with very faire white ashler stone, having a little walke without the
roomes of the prison which is forty paces long and seven broad.... It is
altogether impossible for the prisoners to get forth."

The next important building is the famous hotel known as Danieli's, once
a palace, which has its place in literature as having afforded a shelter
to those feverish and capricious lovers, George Sand and Alfred de
Musset. Every one else has stayed there too, but these are the classic
guests. If you want to see what Danieli's was like before it became a
hotel you have only to look at No. 940 in the National Gallery by
Canaletto. This picture tells us also that the arches of the Doges'
Palace on the canal side were used by stall-holders. To-day they are
merely a shelter from sun or rain and a resting-place, and often you may
see a gondolier eating his lunch there. In this picture of Canaletto's,
by the way, the loafers have gathered at the foot of the Lion's column
exactly as now they do, while the balcony of the great south window of
the palace has just such a little knot of people enjoying the prospect;
but whether they were there naturally or at the invitation of a
custodian eager for a tip (as now) we shall not know.

The first calle after Danieli's brings us to S. Zaccaria, one of the few
Venetian churches with any marble on its facade. S. Zaccaria has no
longer the importance it had when the Doge visited it in state every
Easter. It is now chiefly famous for its very beautiful Bellini
altar-piece, of which I give a reproduction on the opposite page. The
picture in its grouping is typical of its painter, and nothing from his
hand has a more pervading sweetness. The musical angel at the foot of
the throne is among his best and the bland old men are more righteous
than rectitude itself. To see this altar-piece aright one must go in the
early morning: as I did on my first visit, only to find the central
aisle given up to a funeral mass.

The coffin was in the midst, and about it, on their knees, were the
family, a typical gondolier all in black being the chief mourner. Such
prayers as he might have been uttering were constantly broken into by
the repeated calls of an attendant with a box for alms, and it was
interesting to watch the struggle going on in the simple fellow's mind
between native prudence and good form. How much he ought to give?
Whether it was quite the thing to bring the box so often and at such a
season? Whether shaking it so noisily was not peculiarly tactless? What
the spectators and church officials would think if he refused? Could he
refuse? and, However much were these obsequies going to cost?--these
questions one could discern revolving almost visibly beneath his
short-haired scalp. At last the priests left the high altar and came
down to the coffin, to sprinkle it and do whatever was now possible for
its occupant; and in a few minutes the church was empty save for the
undertaker's men, myself, and the Bellini. It is truly a lovely picture,
although perhaps a thought too mild, and one should go often to see it.


[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINTS
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Church of S. Zaccaria_]


The sculptor Alessandro Vittoria, who did so much to perpetuate the
features of great Venetians and was the friend of so many artists,
including Tintoretto and Paul Veronese, is buried here. The floor slabs
of red stone with beautiful lettering should be noticed; but all over
Venice such memorials have a noble dignity and simplicity.

It will be remembered that the site of this church was determined by the
vision of Bishop Magnus, S. John appearing to him and commanding it to
be built in honour of his father. The first structure probably dates
from the seventh century; the present is fifteenth century, and beneath
it is the ancient crypt adjoining the chapel of S. Tarasio, where in the
twelfth century a hundred nuns seeking refuge from a fire were
suffocated. In the chapel are ecclesiastical paintings, but no proper
provision is made for seeing them. Eight Doges lie in S. Zaccaria.

Outside I found a great crowd to see the embarcation of the corpse for
its last home, the Campo Santo. This, I may say, was rather a late
funeral. Most of them are at eight or even earlier.

It is best now to return to the Riva by the calle which comes out beside
Danieli's and then walk Lido-wards over two bridges and take the first
calle after them. This brings us to S. Giovanni in Bragora, S. John's
own church, built according to his instructions to Bishop Magnus, and it
has one of the keenest little sacristans in Venice. From altar to altar
he bustles, fixing you in the best positions for light. The great
picture here is the Cima behind the high altar, of which I give a
reproduction opposite page 136. A little perch has been made, the better
to see it. It represents "The Baptism of Christ," and must in its heyday
have been very beautiful. Christ stands at the edge of the water and the
Baptist holds a little bowl--very different scene from that mosaic
version in S. Mark's where Christ is half submerged. It has a sky full
of cherubs, delectable mountains and towns in the distance, and all
Cima's sweetness; and when the picture cleaning millionaire, of whom I
speak elsewhere, has done his work it will be a joy. There is also a
fine Bartolommeo Vivarini here, and the sacristan insists on your
admiring a very ornate font which he says is by Sansovino.

As you leave, ask him the way to S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, which is
close by, and prepare to be very happy.

I have said something about the most beautiful spacious places in
Venice--S. Mark's, the Doges' Palace, the Scuola di S. Rocco, and so
forth; we now come to what is, without question, the most fascinating
small room in Venice. It is no bigger than a billiard-room and unhappily
very dark, with a wooden ceiling done in brown, gold, and blue; an altar
with a blue and gold canopy; rich panels on the walls; and as a frieze a
number of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio, which, in my opinion,
transcend in interest the S. Ursula series at the Accademia.

The story of the little precious room is this. In the multitude of
seafaring men who in the course of their trade came to Venice with
cargoes or for cargoes were a large number of Dalmatians, or
Sclavonians, whose ships lay as a rule opposite that part of the city
which is known as the Riva degli Schiavoni. Their lot being somewhat
noticeably hard, a few wealthy Dalmatian merchants decided in 1451 to
make a kind of Seamen's Institute (as we should now say), and a little
building was the result of this effort, the patron saints of the altar
in it being S. George and S. Tryphonius. Fifty years later the original
"Institute" was rebuilt and Carpaccio was called in to decorate it.

The most famous of the pictures are those on the left wall as you
enter--S. George attacking the dragon, S. George subduing the dragon,
and (on the end wall) S. George baptising the king and princess. These
are not only lovely autumnal schemes of colour, but they are perfect
illustrations to a fairy tale, for no artist has ever equalled this
Venetian in the art of being entertaining. Look at the spirit of the
first picture: the onset of both antagonists; and then examine the
detail--the remains of the dragon's victims, the half-consumed maidens;
the princess in despair; the ships on the sea; the adorable city
mounting up and up the hill, with spectators at every balcony. (I
reproduce it opposite page 212). And then in the next how Carpaccio must
have enjoyed his work on the costumes! Look at the crowds, the band in
full blast, the restless horses which like dragons no more than they
like bears.

The third, although the subject is less entertaining, shows no decrease
of liveliness. Carpaccio's humour underlies every touch of colour. The
dog's averted face is one of the funniest things in art--a dog with
sceptical views as to baptism!--and the band is hard at it, even though
the ceremony, which, from the size of the vase, promises to be very
thorough, is beginning.

S. George is a link between Venice and England, for we both honour him
as a patron. He is to be seen in pictures again and again in Venetian
churches, but these three scenes by Carpaccio are the finest. The Saint
was a Cappadocian gentleman and the dragon ranged and terrorized the
Libyan desert. Every day the people of the city which the dragon most
affected bribed him away with two sheep. When the sheep gave out a man
was substituted. Then children and young people, to be selected by lot,
and the lot in time fell on the king's daughter. The king in despair
offered his subjects gold and silver instead, but they refused saying
that it was his own law and must be obeyed. They gave her, however
(this, though from the lives of the saints, is sheer fairy tale, isn't
it?) eight days grace, in which anything might happen; but nothing
happened, and so she was led out to the dragon's lair.

As she stood there waiting to be devoured, S. George passed by. He asked
her what she was doing, and she replied by imploring him to run or the
dragon would eat him too. But S. George refused, and instead swore to
rescue her and the city in the name (and here the fairy tale disappears)
of Jesus Christ. The dragon then advancing, S. George spurred his horse,
charged and wounded him grievously with his spear. (On English gold
coins, as we all know to our shame, he is given nothing but a short
dagger which could not reach the enemy at all; Carpaccio knew better.)
Most of the painters make this stroke of the saint decisive; according
to them, S. George thrust at the dragon and all was over. But the true
story, as Caxton and Carpaccio knew, is, that having wounded the dragon,
S. George took the maiden's girdle and tied it round the creature's
neck, and it became "a meek beast and debonair," and she led it into the
city. (Carpaccio makes the saint himself its leader.) The people were
terrified and fled, but S. George reassured them, and promised that if
they would be baptised and believe in Jesus Christ he would slay the
dragon once and for all. They promised, and he smote off its head; and
in the third picture we see him baptising.

I have given the charming story as _The Golden Legend_ tells it; but one
may also hold the opinion, more acceptable to the orthodox hagiologist,
that the dreadful monster was merely symbolical of sin.


[Illustration: S. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO
_At S. Giorgio dei Schiavoni_]


As for S. George himself, the most picturesque and comely of all the
saints and one whom all the nations reverence, he was born in
Cappadocia, in the third century, of noble Christian parents. Becoming a
soldier in Diocletian's army he was made a tribune or colonel. The
Emperor showed him marks of especial favour, but when the imperial
forces were turned against the Christians, George remonstrated and
refused. He was therefore beheaded.

For broad comedy the picture of S. Jerome and the lion on the right wall
is the best. The story tells us that S. Jerome was one day sitting with
the brethren listening to a holy lesson when a lion came hobbling
painfully into the monastery. The brethren fled, but S. Jerome, like
Androcles, approached the beast, and finding that it had a sore foot,
commanded the others to return and minister to it. This they did, and
the lion was ever attached to the monastery, one of its duties being to
take care of an ass. Carpaccio has not spared the monks: he makes their
terror utterly absurd in the presence of so puzzled and gentle a
man-eater. In the next picture, the death of the saint, we see the lion
again, asleep on the right, and the donkey quietly grazing at the back.
As an impressive picture of the death of a good man it can hardly be
called successful; but how could it be, coming immediately after the
comic Jerome whom we have just seen? Carpaccio's mischief was a little
too much for him--look at the pince-nez of the monk on the right reading
the service.

Then we have S. Jerome many years younger, busy at his desk. He is just
thinking of a word when (the camera, I almost said) when Carpaccio
caught him. His tiny dog gazes at him with fascination. Not bad
surroundings for a saint, are they? A comfortable study, with a more
private study leading from it; books; scientific instruments; music;
works of art (note the little pagan bronze on the shelf); and an
exceedingly amusing dog. I reproduce the picture opposite page 82.

Two pictures with scriptural subjects represent Christ in the garden of
Gethsemane, and Matthew (an Evangelist rarely painted in Venice, where
his colleague Mark has all the attention) being called from the receipt
of custom. And finally there is the delightful and vivid representation
of S. Tryphonius and the basilisk. This picture, of which I give a
reproduction opposite page 76, is both charming and funny. The basilisk
is surely in the highest rank of the comic beasts of art. It seems to be
singing, but that is improbable; what it is unmistakably not doing is
basilisking. The little saint stands by in an attitude of prayer, and
all about are comely courtiers of the king. In the distance are
delightful palaces in the Carpaccio style of architecture, cool marble
spaces, and crowded windows and stairs. The steps of the raised temple
in which the saint and the basilisk perform have a beautiful intarsia of
foliage similar to that on the Giants' Staircase at the Doges' Palace.
So much for the ingredients of this bewitching picture; but as to what
it is all about I have no knowledge, for I have looked in vain among
books for any information. I find a S. Tryphonius, but only as a grown
man; not a word of his tender years and his grotesque attendant. How
amusing it would be to forget the halo and set the picture as a theme
among a class of fanciful fantastic writers, to fit it with an
appropriate fairy story! For of course it is as absolute a fairy tale
illustration as the dragon pictures on the other wall.

It is now well to ask the way to S. Francesco della Vigna, where we
shall find S. Jerome and his lion again. This vast church, with its
pretentious and very unwelcoming facade by Palladio covering the
friendly red brick, is at the first sight unattractive, so huge and
cold and deserted is it. But it has details. It has, for example, just
inside the door on the entrance wall, high up, a very beautiful early
Christian coloured relief of the Madonna and Child: white on blue, but
far earlier than the Delia Robbias. The Madonna is slender as a pole but
memorably sweet. It has also a curious great altar picture on wood by a
strange painter, Frater Antonius da Negropon, as he signs himself--this
in a little chapel in the right transept--with most charming details of
birds, and flowers, and scrolls, and monochrome reliefs surrounding a
Madonna and Child who beam comfort and assurance of joy. The date is
supposed to be about 1450 and the source of Brother Antonio's
inspiration must have been similar to that of the great Mantegna's.

There are also the very delightful marble pictures in the chapel of the
Giustiniani family to the left of the choir, the work of the Lombardi.
About the walls are the evangelists and prophets (S. John no more than a
beautiful and sensitive boy), while over the altar are scenes in the
life of S. Jerome, whom we again see with his lion. In one relief he
extracts the thorn from its foot; in another the lion assists in holding
up the theological work which the saint is perusing, while in his other
hand the saint poises a model of the church and campanile of S.
Zaccaria. Below, on the altar cloth, is a Last Judgment, with the
prettiest little angel boys to sound the dreadful trumps. To these must
be added two pictures by Paul Veronese, one with a kneeling woman in it
who at once brings to mind the S. Helena in our National Gallery.

Furthermore, in the little Cappella Santa is a rich and lovely Giovanni
Bellini, with sacred relics in jars above and below it, and outside is
the gay little cloistered garden of the still existing monastery, with
a figure of S. Francis in the midst of its greenery.

So much for the more ingratiating details of this great church, which
are displayed with much spirit by a young sacristan who is something of
a linguist: his English consisting of the three phrases: "Good morning,"
"Very nice," and "Come on!"

The great church has also various tombs of Doges, the most splendid
being that noble floor slab in front of the high altar, beneath which
repose the bones of Marcantonio Trevisan (1553-1554). What Trevisan was
like may be learned from the relief over the sacristy entrance, where he
kneels to the crucifix. He made no mark on his times. Andrea Gritti
(1523-1538), who also is buried here, was a more noticeable ruler, a
born monarch who had a good diplomatic and fighting training abroad
before he came to the throne. He was generous, long-memoried, astute,
jovial, angry, healthy, voluptuous and an enthusiast for his country. He
not only did all that he could for Venice (and one of his unfulfilled
projects was to extend the Ducal Palace to absorb the prison) but he was
quite capable of single-handed negotiations with foreign rulers.

Other Doges who lie here are the two Contarini, Francesco (1623-1624)
and Alvise (1676-1684), but neither was of account; and here, too, in
his own chapel lies Alvise's predecessor, Niccolo Sagredo (1674-1676)
who had trouble in Candia for his constant companion. Of the Giustiniani
only Marcantonio became a Doge and he succeeded Alvise Contarini not
only to the throne but to the Candia difficulty, giving way after four
years, in 1688, to the great soldier who solved it--Francesco Morosini.




CHAPTER XXI

ON FOOT. III. THE MERCERIA AND THE RIALTO

Walking in Venice--The late Colonel Douglas--Shops--The Merceria
clock--S. Zulian--S. Salvatore--Sansovino--Carlo Goldoni--the Campo
Bartolommeo and Mr. Howells--S. Giovanni Crisostomo--Piombo and
Giorgione--A Sacristan artist--Marino Faliero's house--SS. Apostoli and
Tiepolo--Venetian skittles--A broad walk--Filled in canals--The Rialto
Bridge--S. Giacomo di Rialto--The two Ghettos--The Rialto
hunchback--Vegetables and fruits--The fish market--Symmetrical irony--S.
Giovanni Elemosinario--A busy thoroughfare--Old books--The convivial
gondoliers.


The best of Venice--Venice itself, that is--can never find its way into
a book; and even if it did, no reader could extract it again. The best
of Venice must be one's own discovery and one's own possession; and one
must seek it, as Browning loved to do, in the narrow calli, in the tiny
canals, in the smaller campi, or seated idly on bridges careless of
time. Chiefly on foot does one realize the inner Venice.

I make no effort in this work to pass on any detailed account of my
researches in this way. All I would say is that every calle leads to
another; there is hardly a dull inch in the whole city; and for the
weary some kind of resting-place--a church, a wine shop, a cafe, or a
stone step--is always close by. If you are lost--and in Venice in the
poorer populous districts a map is merely an aggravation of dismay,
while there is no really good map of the city to be obtained--there is
but one thing to do and that is to go on. Before very long you must of
necessity come to a calle with more traffic than the others and then you
need but flow with the stream to reach some recognizable centre; or
merely say "San Marco" or "gondola" to the first boy and he will
consider it a privilege to guide you. Do not, however give up before you
must, for it is a privilege to be lost in Venice.

For those who prefer exercise to sitting in a gondola there is the
stimulating and instructive book by the late Col. Douglas, _Venice on
Foot_, which is a mine of information and interest; but I must admit
that the title is against it. Youthful travellers in particular will
have none of it. If Venice is anything at all to them, it is a city of
water, every footstep in which is an act of treachery to romance.

Even they, however, are pleased to jostle in the Merceria.


[Illustration: THE GRAND CANAL, SHOWING S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE]


The shops of Venice, I may say at once, are not good. They satisfy the
Venetians, no doubt, but the Venetians are not hard to please; there is
no Bond Street or Rue de la Paix. But a busy shopping centre always
being amusing, the Merceria and Frezzeria become attractive haunts of
the stranger; the Merceria particularly so. To gain this happy hunting
ground one must melt away with the crowd through the gateway under the
famous blue clock, which is worth a visit on account of its two bronze
giants: one punctual and one late, for that one on the left of the bell,
as we face the tower from the Piazza, is always a minute or two after
his brother in striking the hours. The right hand giant strikes first,
swinging all his upper part as he does so; and then the other. From
their attitude much of Venice is revealed, but only the thin can enjoy
this view, such being the narrowness of the winding stairs and doorway
by which it is gained. At Easter a procession of mechanical figures
below the clock-face delights the spectators.

It was while Coryat was in Venice that one of these giants, I know not
which, performed a deed of fatal savagery. The traveller thus describes
it: "A certaine fellow that had the charge to looke to the clocke, was
very busie about the bell, according to his usuall custome every day, to
the end to amend something in it that was amisse. But in the meane time
one of those wilde men that at the quarters of the howers doe use to
strike the bell, strooke the man in the head with his brazen hammer,
giving him such a violent blow, that therewith he fell down dead
presently in his place, and never spake more."

At the third turning to the right out of the Merceria is the church of
S. Giuliano, or S. Zulian, which the great Sansovino built. One evening,
hearing singing as I passed, I entered, but found standing-room only,
and that only with the greatest discomfort. Yet the congregation was so
happy and the scene was so animated that I stayed on and on--long enough
at any rate for the offertory box to reach me three separate times.
Every one present was either poor or on the borders of poverty; and the
fervour was almost that of a salvation army meeting. And why not, since
the religion both of the Pope and of General Booth was pre-eminently
designed for the poor? I came away with a tiny coloured picture of the
Virgin and more fleas than I ever before entertained at the same time.

At the end of the Merceria is S. Salvatore, a big quiet church in the
Renaissance style, containing the ashes of S. Theodore, the tombs of
various Doges, and a good Bellini: a warm, rich, and very human scene of
a wayside inn at Emmaus and Christ appearing there. An "Annunciation" by
Titian is in the church proper, painted when he was getting very old,
and framed by Sansovino; a "Transfiguration" by Titian is in the pretty
sacristy, which, like many of the Venetian churches, is presided over by
a dwarf. A procession of Venetian sacristans would, by the way, be a
strange and grotesque spectacle.

The best of the S. Salvatore monuments is that by Sansovino of Doge
Francesco Venier (1554-1556), with beautiful figures in the niches from
the same hand--that of Charity, on the left, being singularly sweet.
When Sansovino made these he was nearly eighty. Sansovino also designed
the fine doorway beneath the organ. The most imposing monuments are
those of Caterina Cornaro (or Corner) the deposed queen of Cyprus, in
the south transept; of three Cardinals of the Corner family; and of the
Doges Lorenzo and Girolamo Priuli, each with his patron saint above him.
The oddity of its architecture, together with its situation at a point
where a little silence is peculiarly grateful, makes this church a
favourite of mine, but there are many buildings in Venice which are more
beautiful.

Opposite, diagonally, is one of the depressing sights of Venice, a
church turned into a cinema.

Leaving S. Salvatore by the main door and turning to the left, we soon
come (past a hat shop which offers "Rooswelts" at 2.45 each), to the
Goldoni Theatre. Leaving San Salvatore by the same door and turning to
the right, we come to Goldoni himself, in bronze, in the midst of the
Campo S. Bartolommeo: the little brisk observant satirist upon whom
Browning wrote the admirably critical sonnet which I quote earlier in
this book.

The comedies of Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793) still hold the Italian stage,
but so far as translations can tell me they are very far from justifying
any comparison between himself and Moliere. Goldoni's _Autobiography_
is not a very entertaining work, but it is told with the engaging
minuteness which seems to have been a Venetian trait.

The church of S. Bartolommeo contains altar pieces by Giorgione's pupil,
Sebastian del Piombo, but there is no light by which to see them.

It was in this campo that Mr. Howells had rooms before he married and
blossomed out on the Grand Canal, and his description of the life here
is still so good and so true, although fifty years have passed, that I
make bold to quote it, not only to enrich my own pages, but in the hope
that the tastes of the urbane American book which I give now and then
may send readers to it. The campo has changed little except that the
conquering Austrians have gone and Goldoni's statue is now here. Mr.
Howells thus describes it: "Before the winter passed, I had changed my
habitation from rooms near the Piazza to quarters on the Campo San
Bartolommeo, through which the busiest street in Venice passes, from S.
Mark's to the Rialto Bridge. It is one of the smallest squares of the
city, and the very noisiest, and here the spring came with intolerable
uproar. I had taken my rooms early in March, when the tumult under my
windows amounted only to a cheerful stir, and made company for me; but
when the winter broke, and the windows were opened, I found that I had
too much society.

"Each campo in Venice is a little city, self-contained and independent.
Each has its church, of which it was in the earliest times the
burial-ground; and each within its limits compasses an apothecary's
shop, a blacksmith's and shoemaker's shop, a caffe more or less
brilliant, a greengrocer's and fruiterer's, a family grocery--nay, there
is also a second-hand merchant's shop where you buy and sell every kind
of worn out thing at the lowest rates. Of course there is a
coppersmith's and a watchmaker's, and pretty certainly a wood carver's
and gilder's, while without a barber's shop no campo could preserve its
integrity or inform itself of the social and political news of the day.
In addition to all these elements of bustle and disturbance, San
Bartolommeo swarmed with the traffic and rang with the bargains of the
Rialto market.

"Here the small dealer makes up in boastful clamour for the absence of
quantity and assortment in his wares; and it often happens that an
almost imperceptible boy, with a card of shirt buttons and a paper of
hair pins, is much worse than the Anvil Chorus with real anvils.
Fishermen, with baskets of fish upon their heads; peddlers, with trays
of housewife wares; louts who dragged baskets of lemons and oranges back
and forth by long cords; men who sold water by the glass; charlatans who
advertised cement for mending broken dishes, and drops for the cure of
toothache; jugglers who spread their carpets and arranged their temples
of magic upon the ground; organists who ground their organs; and poets
of the people who brought out new songs, and sang and sold them to the
crowd--these were the children of confusion, whom the pleasant sun and
friendly air woke to frantic and interminable uproar in San Bartolommeo.

"In San Bartolommeo, as in other squares, the buildings are palaces
above and shops below. The ground floor is devoted to the small commerce
of various kinds already mentioned; the first story above is occupied by
tradesmen's families; and on the third or fourth is the appartimento
signorile. From the balconies of these stories hung the cages of
innumerable finches, canaries, blackbirds, and savage parrots, which
sang and screamed with delight in the noise that rose from the crowd.
All the human life, therefore, which the spring drew to the casements
was perceptible only in dumb show. One of the palaces opposite was used
as a hotel, and faces continually appeared at the windows. By all the
odds the most interesting figure there was that of a stout peasant
serving-girl, dressed in a white knitted jacket, a crimson neckerchief,
and a bright coloured gown, and wearing long dangling earrings of
yellowest gold. For hours this idle maiden balanced herself half over
the balcony rail in perusal of the people under her, and I suspect made
love at that distance, and in that constrained position, to some one in
the crowd. On another balcony a lady sat; at the window of still another
house, a damsel now looked out upon the square, and now gave a glance
into the room, in the evident direction of a mirror. Venetian neighbours
have the amiable custom of studying one another's features through
opera-glasses; but I could not persuade myself to use this means of
learning the mirror's response to the damsel's constant "Fair or not?"
being a believer in every woman's right to look well a little way off. I
shunned whatever trifling temptation there was in the case, and turned
again to the campo beneath--to the placid dandies about the door of the
cafe; to the tide of passers-by from the Merceria; the smooth shaven
Venetians of other days, and the bearded Venetians of these; the
dark-eyed white-faced Venetians, hooped in cruel disproportion to the
narrow streets, but richly clad, and moving with southern grace; the
files of heavily burdened soldiers; the little policemen loitering
lazily about with their swords at their sides, and in their spotless
Austrian uniforms."

Having reached Goldoni's statue there are two courses open to us if we
are in a mood for walking. One is to cross the Rialto bridge and join
the stream which always fills the narrow busy calli that run parallel
with the Grand Canal to the Frari. The other is to leave this campo at
the far end, at Goldoni's back, and join the stream which is always
flowing backwards and forwards along the new Via Vittorio Emmanuele.


[Illustration: S. CHRISTOPHER, S. JEROME AND S. AUGUSTINE
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Church of S. Giov. Crisostomo_]


Let me describe both routes, beginning with the second. A few yards
after leaving the campo we come on the right to the little church of S.
Giovanni Crisostomo where there are two unusually delightful pictures: a
Sebastiano del Piombo and a Bellini, with a keen little sacristan who
enjoys displaying their beauties and places you in the best light. The
Bellini is his last signed work, and was painted when the old man was in
his eighty-fifth year. The restorer has been at it, but not to its
detriment. S. Christopher, S. Jerome, and S. Augustine are sweetly
together in a delectable country; S. Christopher (as the photograph on
the opposite page shows) bearing perhaps the most charming Christ Child
of all, with his thumb in his mouth. The Piombo--another company of
saints--over the high altar, is a fine mellow thing with a very
Giorgionesque figure of the Baptist dominating it, and a lovely
Giorgionesque landscape spreading away. The picture (which I reproduce
opposite page 116) is known to be the last which Sebastiano painted
before he went to Rome and gave up Giorgione's influence for Michael
Angelo's. It has been suggested that Giorgione merely supplied the
design; but I think one might safely go further and affirm that the
painting of the right side was his too and the left Piombo's. How far
Piombo departed from Giorgione's spell and came under the other may be
seen in our National Gallery by any visitor standing before No. 1--his
"Raising of Lazarus". Very little of the divine chromatic melody of
Castel Franco there!

S. Giovanni Crisostomo has also two fine reliefs, one by Tullio Lombardi
with a sweet little Virgin (who, however, is no mother) in it, and the
twelve Apostles gathered about. The sacristan, by the way, is also an
amateur artist, and once when I was there he had placed his easel just
by the side door and was engaged in laboriously copying in pencil
Veronese's "Christ in the House of Levi" (the original being a mile
away, at the Accademia) from an old copper plate, whistling the while.
Having no india-rubber he corrected his errors either with a penknife or
a dirty thumb. Art was then more his mistress than Pecunia, for on this
occasion he never left his work, although more than one Baedeker was
flying the red signal of largesse.

Continuing on our way we come soon to a point where the Calle Dolfin
meets a canal at right angles, with a large notice tablet like a
gravestone to keep us from falling into the water. It bears an ancient,
and I imagine, obsolete, injunction with regard to the sale of bread by
unauthorized persons. Turning to the left we are beneath the arcade of
the house of the ill-fated Marino Faliero, the Doge who was put to death
for treason, as I have related elsewhere. It is now shops and tenements.
Opposite is the church of SS. Apostoli, which is proud of possessing an
altar-piece by Tiepolo which some think his finest work, and of which
the late John Addington Symonds wrote in terms of excessive rapture. It
represents the last communion of S. Lucy, whose eyes were put out. Her
eyes are here, in fact, on a plate. No one can deny the masterly drawing
and grouping of the picture, but, like all Tiepolo's work, it leaves me
cold.

I do not suggest the diversion at this moment; but from SS. Apostoli
one easily gains the Fondamenta Nuovo, on the way passing through a
rather opener Venice where canals are completely forgotten. Hereabouts
are two or three popular drinking places with gardens, and on one Sunday
afternoon I sat for some time in the largest of them--the Trattoria alla
Libra--watching several games of bowls--the giuocho di bocca--in full
swing. The Venetian workman--and indeed the Italian workman
generally--is never so happy as when playing this game, or perhaps he is
happiest when--ball in hand--he discusses with his allies various lines
of strategy. The Giudecca is another stronghold of the game, every
little bar there having a stamped-down bowling alley at the back of it.

The longest direct broad walk in Venice--longer than the Riva--begins at
SS. Apostoli and extends to the railway station. The name of the street
is the Via Vittorio Emmanuele, and in order to obtain it many canals had
to be filled-in. To the loss of canals the visitor is never reconciled.
Wherever one sees the words Rio Terra before the name of a calle, one
knows that it is a filled-in canal. For perhaps the best example of the
picturesque loss which this filling-in entails one should seek the Rio
Terra delle Colonne, which runs out of the Calle dei Fabri close to the
Piazza of S. Mark. When this curved row of pillars was at the side of
water it must have been impressive indeed.

And now we must return to the Goldoni statue to resume that other
itinerary over the Rialto bridge, which is as much the centre of Venice
by day as S. Mark's Square is by night. In another chapter I speak of
the bridge as seen from the Grand Canal, which it so nobly leaps. More
attractive is the Grand Canal as seen from it; and the visitor to Venice
should spend much time leaning upon the parapet of one side and the
other at the highest point. He will have it for the most part to
himself, for the Venetians prefer the middle way between the shops.
These shops are, however, very dull--principally cheap clothiers and
inferior jewellers--and the two outer tracks are better. From here may
best be seen the facade of the central Post Office, once the Fondaco dei
Tedeschi splendid with the frescoes of Giorgione and Titian. The
frescoes have gone and it is now re-faced with stucco. From here, too,
the beautiful palace of the Camerlenghi at the edge of the Erberia is
most easily studied. The Rialto bridge itself exerts no spell. It does
not compare in interest or charm with the Ponte Vecchio of Florence.

The busiest and noisiest part of Venice begins at the further foot of
the bridge, for here are the markets, crowded by housewives with their
bags or baskets, and a thousand busy wayfarers.

The little church of the market-place--the oldest in Venice--is S.
Giacomo di Rialto, but I have never been able to find it open. Commerce
now washes up to its walls and practically engulfs it. A garden is on
its roof, and its clock has stopped permanently at four.

It was in this campo that the merchants anciently met: here, in the
district of the Rialto, and not on the bridge itself, as many readers
suppose, did Antonio transact his business with one Shylock a Jew. There
are plenty of Jews left in Venice; in fact, I have been told that they
are gradually getting possession of the city, and judging by their
ability in that direction elsewhere, I can readily believe it; but I saw
none in the least like the Shylock of the English stage, although I
spent some time both in the New Ghetto and the Old by the Cannaregio.
All unwilling I once had the company of a small Jewish boy in a
gaberdine for the whole way from the New Ghetto to the steamboat station
of S. Toma, his object in life being to acquire for nothing a coin
similar to one which I had given to another boy who had been really
useful. If he avowed once that he was a starving Jewish boy and I was a
millionaire, he said it fifty times. Every now and then he paused for an
anxious second to throw a somersault. But I was obdurate, and embarking
on the steamer, left the two falsehoods to fight it out.

The two Ghettos, by the way, are not interesting; no traveller, missing
them, need feel that he has been in Venice in vain.

At the other end of the Rialto campo, opposite the church, is the famous
hunchback, the Gobbo of the Rialto, who supports a rostrum from which
the laws of the Republic were read to the people, after they had been
read, for a wider audience, from the porphyry block at the corner of S.
Mark's.

Leaving the Gobbo on our left and passing from the campo at the
right-hand corner, we come to the great arcaded markets for fruit and
vegetables, and further to the wholesale and retail fish markets, all of
which are amusing to loiter in, particularly in the early hours of the
morning. To the Erberia are all the fruit-laden barges bound, chiefly
from Malamocco, the short cut from the lagoon being through the Rio del
Palazzo beneath the Bridge of Sighs and into the Grand Canal, just
opposite us, by the Post Office. The fruit market is busy twice a day,
in the early morning and in the late afternoon; the fish market in the
morning only.


[Illustration: S. MARIA GLORIOSA DEI FRARI]


The vegetables and fruit differ according to the seasons; the fish are
always the same. In the autumn, when the quay is piled high with golden
melons and flaming tomatoes, the sight is perhaps the most splendid.
The strangest of the fish to English eyes are the great cuttle-fish,
which are sold in long slices. It strikes one as a refinement of
symmetrical irony that the ink which exudes from these fish and stains
everything around should be used for indicating what their price is.

Here also are great joints of tunny, huge red scarpenna, sturgeon,
mullet, live whole eels (to prove to me how living they were, a
fishmonger one morning allowed one to bite him) and eels in writhing
sections, aragosta, or langouste, and all the little Adriatic and lagoon
fish--the scampi and shrimps and calimari--spread out in little wet
heaps on the leaves of the plane-tree. One sees them here lying dead;
one can see them also, alive and swimming about, in the aquarium on the
Lido, where the prettiest creatures are the little cavalli marini, or
sea horses, roosting in the tiny submarine branches.

From all the restlessness and turmoil of these markets there is escape
in the church of S. Giovanni Elemosinario, a few yards along the Ruga
Vecchia di San Giovanni on the left. Here one may sit and rest and
collect one's thoughts and then look at a fine rich altar-piece by
Pordenone--S. Sebastian, S. Rocco, and S. Catherine. The lion of the
church is a Titian, but it is not really visible.

As typical a walk as one can take in democratic Venice is that from this
church to the Frari, along the Ruga Vecchia di San Giovanni, parallel
with the Grand Canal. I have been here often both by day and by night,
and it is equally characteristic at either time. Every kind of shop is
here, including two old book-shops, one of which (at the corner of the
Campiello dei Meloni) is well worth rummaging in. A gentle old lady sits
in the corner so quietly as to be invisible, and scattered about are
quite a number of English books among them, when I was last there, a
surprising proportion of American minor verse. Another interesting shop
here supplies Venetians with the small singing birds which they love so
much, a cage by a window being the rule rather than the exception; and
it was hereabouts that an old humorous greengrocer once did his voluble
best to make me buy a couple of grilli, or crickets, in a tiny barred
prison, to make their shrill mysterious music for me. But I resisted.

At night, perhaps, is this walk best, for several very popular wine
shops for gondoliers are hereabouts, one or two quite large, with rows
of barrels along the walls; and it is good to see every seat full, and
an arm round many a waist, and everybody merry. Such a clatter of
tongues as comes from these taverns is not to be beaten; and now and
then a tenor voice or a mandolin adds a grace.




CHAPTER XXII

S. ROCCO AND TINTORETTO

The Scuola di S. Rocco--Defective lighting--A competition of
artists--The life of the Virgin--A dramatic Annunciation--Ruskin's
analysis--S. Mary of Egypt--The upper hall--"The Last Supper"--"Moses
striking the rock"--"The Crucifixion"--A masterpiece--Tintoretto's
career--Titian and Michel Angelo--A dramatist of the Bible--Realistic
carvings--The life of S. Rocco--A humorist in wood--A model council
chamber--A case of reliquaries--The church of S. Rocco--Giorgione or
Titian?


There are Tintorettos everywhere in Venice, in addition to the immense
canvases in the Doges' Palace, but I imagine that were we able to ask
the great man the question, Where would he choose to be judged? he would
reply, "At the Scuola di S. Rocco,"--with perhaps a reservation in
favour of "The Miracle of S. Mark" at the Accademia, and possibly the
"Presentation" (for I feel he must have loved that work) at the Madonna
dell'Orto, and "The Marriage in Cana," that fascinating scene, in the
Salute. In the superb building of the S. Rocco Scuola he reigns alone,
and there his "Crucifixion" is.

The Scuola and the church, in white stone, hide behind the lofty
red-brick apse of the Frari. The Scuola's facade has, in particular, the
confidence of a successful people. Within, it is magnificent too, while
to its architectural glories it adds no fewer than six-and-fifty
Tintorettos; many of which, however, can be only dimly seen, for the
great Bartolommeo Bon, who designed the Scuola, forgot that pictures
require light. Nor was he unique among Venice's builders in this matter;
they mostly either forgot it or allowed their jealousy of a sister art
to influence them. "Light, more light," is as much the cry of the
groping enthusiast for painting in this fair city, as it was of the
dying Goethe.

The story of Tintoretto's connexion with the Scuola illustrates his
decision and swiftness. The Scuola having been built, where, under the
banner of S. Rocco, a philanthropical confraternity might meet to confer
as to schemes of social amelioration, it was, in 1560, decided to invite
the more prominent artists to make proposals as to its decoration.
Tintoretto, then forty-two, Paul Veronese and Schiavone were among them.
They were to meet in the Refectory and display their sketches; and on a
given day all were there. Tintoretto stood aside while the others
unfolded their designs, which were examined and criticized. Then came
his turn, but instead of producing a roll he twitched a covering, which
none had noticed, and revealed in the middle of the ceiling the finished
painting of S. Rocco in glory. A scene of amazement and perplexity
ensued. The other artists, accepting defeat, retired from the field; the
authorities gazed in a fine state of confusion over the unconventional
foreshortening of the saint and his angel. They also pointed out that
Tintoretto had broken the condition of the competition in providing a
painting when only sketches were required. "Very well," he said, "I make
you a present of it." Since by the rules of the confraternity all gifts
offered to it had to be accepted, he thus won his footing; and the rest
was easy. Two or three years later he was made a brother of the Order,
at fifty pounds a year, in return for which he was each year to provide
three paintings; and this salary he drew for seventeen years, until the
great work was complete.

The task comprises the scenes in the life of the Virgin, in the lower
hall; the scenes in the life of Christ, on the walls of the upper hall;
the scenes from the Old Testament, on the ceiling of the upper hall; and
the last scenes in the life of Christ, in the Refectory. In short, the
Scuola di S. Rocco is Tintoretto's Sistine Chapel.

We enter to an "Annunciation"; and if we had not perceived before, we at
once perceive here, in this building, Tintoretto's innovating gift of
realism. He brought dailiness into art. Tremendous as was his method, he
never forgot the little things. His domestic details leaven the whole.

This "Annunciation" is the most dramatic version that exists. The Virgin
has been sitting quietly sewing in her little room, poorly enough
furnished, with a broken chair by the bed, when suddenly this celestial
irruption--this urgent flying angel attended by a horde of cherubim or
cupids and heralded by the Holy Spirit. At the first glance you think
that the angel has burst through the wall, but that is not so. But as it
is, even without that violence, how utterly different from the demure
treatment of the Tuscans! To think of Fra Angelico and Tintoretto
together is like placing a violet beside a tiger lily.

A little touch in the picture should be noticed: a carpenter at work
outside. Very characteristic of Tintoretto.

Next--but here let me remind or inform the reader that the Venetian
Index at the end of the later editions of _The Stones of Venice_
contains an analysis of these works, by Ruskin, which is as
characteristic of that writer as the pictures are of their artist. In
particular is Ruskin delighted by "The Annunciation," by "The Murder of
the Innocents," and, upstairs, by the ceiling paintings and the
Refectory series.

Next is "The Adoration of the Magi," with all the ingredients that one
can ask, except possibly any spiritual rapture; and then the flight into
a country less like the Egypt to which the little family were bound, or
the Palestine from which they were driven, than one can imagine, but a
dashing work. Then "The Slaughter of the Innocents," a confused scene of
fine and daring drawing, in which, owing to gloom and grime, no
innocents can be discerned. Then a slender nocturnal pastoral which is
even more difficult to see, representing Mary Magdalen in a rocky
landscape, and opposite it a similar work representing S. Mary of Egypt,
which one knows to be austere and beautiful but again cannot see.

Since the story of S. Mary of Egypt is little known, I may perhaps be
permitted to tell it here. This Mary, before her conversion, lived in
Alexandria at the end of the fourth century and was famous for her
licentiousness. Then one day, by a caprice, joining a company of
pilgrims to Jerusalem, she embraced Christianity, and in answer to her
prayers for peace of mind was bidden by a supernatural voice to pass
beyond Jordan, where rest and comfort were to be found. There, in the
desert, she roamed for forty-seven years, when she was found, naked and
grey, by a holy man named Zosimus who was travelling in search of a
hermit more pious than himself with whom he might have profitable
converse. Zosimus, having given her his mantle for covering, left her,
but he returned in two years, bringing with him the Sacrament and some
food.

When they caught sight of each other, Mary was on the other side of the
Jordan, but she at once walked to him calmly over the water, and after
receiving the Sacrament returned in the same manner; while Zosimus
hastened to Jerusalem with the wonderful story.

The next year Zosimus again went in search of her, but found only her
corpse, which, with the assistance of a lion, he buried. She was
subsequently canonized.

The other two and hardly distinguishable paintings are "The Presentation
of Christ in the Temple" and "The Assumption of the Virgin."

Now we ascend the staircase, on which is a beautiful "Annunciation" by
Titian, strangely unlike Tintoretto's version below. Here the Virgin
kneels before her desk, expectant, and the angel sails quietly in with a
lily. The picture is less dramatic and more sympathetic; but personally
I should never go to Venice for an "Annunciation" at all. Here also is
Tintoretto's "Visitation," but it is not easily seen.

The upper hall is magnificent, but before we examine it let us proceed
with the Tintorettos. In "The Adoration of the Shepherds," in the far
left-hand corner as one enters, there is an excellent example of the
painter's homeliness. It is really two pictures, the Holy Family being
on an upper floor, or rather shelf, of the manger and making the
prettiest of groups, while below, among the animals, are the shepherds,
real peasants, looking up in worship and rapture. This is one of the
most attractive of the series, not only as a painting but as a Biblical
illustration.

In the corresponding corner at the other end of this wall is another of
the many "Last Suppers" which Tintoretto devised. It does not compare in
brilliance with that in S. Giorgio Maggiore, but it must greatly have
interested the painter as a composition, and nothing could be more
unlike the formality of the Leonardo da Vinci convention, with the
table set square to the spectators, than this curious disordered
scramble in which several of the disciples have no chairs at all. The
attitudes are, however, convincing, Christ is a gracious figure, and the
whole scene is very memorable and real.

The Tintorettos on the walls of the upper hall I find less interesting
than those on the ceiling, which, however, present the usual physical
difficulties to the student. How Ruskin with his petulant impatience
brought himself to analyse so minutely works the examination of which
leads to such bodily discomfort, I cannot imagine. But he did so, and
his pages should be consulted. He is particularly interesting on "The
Plague of Serpents." My own favourite is that of Moses striking the
rock, from which, it is said, an early critic fled for his life for fear
of the torrent. The manna scene may be compared with another and more
vivid version of the same incident in S. Giorgio Maggiore.


[Illustration: THE CRUCIFIXION (CENTRAL DETAIL)
FROM THE PAINTING BY TINTORETTO
_In the Scuola di S. Rocco_]


The scenes from the Life of Christ around the walls culminate in the
wonderful "Crucifixion," in the Refectory leading from this room. This
sublime work, which was painted in 1565, when the artist was
forty-seven, he considered his masterpiece. It is the greatest single
work in Venice, and all Tintoretto is in it, except the sensuous
colourist of the "Origin of the Milky Way": all his power, all his
thought, all his drama. One should make this room a constant retreat.
The more one studies the picture the more real is the scene and the more
amazing the achievement. I do not say that one is ever moved as one can
be in the presence of great simplicity; one is aware in all Tintoretto's
work of a hint of the self-conscious entrepreneur; but never, one feels,
was the great man so single-minded as here; never was his desire to
impress so deep and genuine. In the mass the picture is overpowering;
in detail, to which one comes later, its interest is inexhaustible. As
an example of the painter's minute thought, one writer has pointed out
that the donkey in the background is eating withered palm leaves--a
touch of ironical genius, if you like. Ruskin calls this work the most
exquisite instance of the "imaginative penetrative." I reproduce a
detail showing the soldiers with the ropes and the group of women at the
foot of the cross.

The same room has Tintoretto's noble picture of Christ before Pilate and
the fine tragic composition "The Road to Calvary," and on the ceiling is
the S. Rocco of which I have already spoken--the germ from which sprang
the whole wonderful series.

The story of this, the most Venetian of the Venetian painters and the
truest to his native city (for all his life was spent here), may more
fittingly be told in this place, near his masterpiece and his portrait
(which is just by the door), than elsewhere. He was born in 1518, in the
ninth year of our Henry VIII's reign, the son of a dyer, or tintore,
named Battista Robusti, and since the young Jacopo Robusti helped his
father in his trade he was called the little dyer, or il tintoretto. His
father was well to do, and the boy had enough leisure to enable him to
copy and to frequent the arcades of S. Mark's Square, under which such
artists as were too poor to afford studios were allowed to work.

The greatest name in Venetian art at that time, and indeed still, was
that of Titian, and Tintoretto was naturally anxious to become his
pupil. Titian was by many years Tintoretto's senior when, at the age of
seventeen, the little dyer obtained leave to study under him. The story
has it that so masterly were Tintoretto's early drawings that Titian,
fearing rivalry, refused to teach him any longer. Whether this be true
or not, and one dislikes to think of Titian in this way, Tintoretto left
the studio and was thrown upon his own resources and ambition.
Fortunately he did not need money: he was able even to form a collection
of casts from the antique and also from Michael Angelo, the boy's other
idol, who when Tintoretto was seventeen was sixty-one. Thus supplied,
Tintoretto practised drawing and painting, day and night, his motto
being "Titian's colour and Michael Angelo's form"; and he expressed
himself as willing to paint anything anywhere, inside a house or
outside, and if necessary for nothing, rather than be idle. Practice was
what he believed in: practice and study; and he never tired. All
painting worth anything, he held, must be based on sound drawing. "You
can buy colours on the Rialto," he would remark, "but drawing can come
only by labour." Some say that he was stung by a sarcasm of his Tuscan
hero that the Venetians could not draw; be that as it may, he made
accurate drawing his corner-stone; and so thorough was he in his study
of chiaroscuro that he devised little toy houses in which to manufacture
effects of light and shade. One of his first pictures to attract
attention was a portrait of himself and his brother illuminated by a
lamp.

So passed, in miscellaneous work, even to painting furniture, at least
ten years, towards the close of which he painted for the Madonna
dell'Orto his earliest important work, "The Last Judgment," which though
derived from Michael Angelo yet indicates much personal force. It was in
1548, when he was thirty, that Tintoretto's real chance came, for he was
then invited to contribute to the decoration of the Scuola of S. Marco,
and for it he produced one of his greatest works, "The Miracle of S.
Mark," now in the Accademia. The novelty of its vivid force and drama,
together with its power and assurance, although, as I have said, at
first disconcerting to the unprepared critics, soon made an impression;
spectators were carried off their feet; and Tintoretto's fame was
assured. See opposite page 170.

I have not counted the Venetian churches with examples of Tintoretto's
genius in them (it would be simpler to count those that have none); but
they are many and his industry was enormous. One likes to think of his
studio being visited continually by church patrons and prelates anxious
to see how their particular commission was getting on.

Tintoretto married in 1558, two years after Shakespeare's birth, his
wife being something of an heiress, and in 1562 his eldest son,
Domenico, who also became an artist, was born. We have seen how in 1560
Tintoretto competed for the S. Rocco decorations; in 1565 he painted
"The Crucifixion"; and he was working on the walls of the Scuola until
1588. In the meantime he worked also for the Doges' Palace, his first
picture, that of the Battle of Lepanto, being destroyed with many others
in the fire of 1576, first obtaining him as a reward a sinecure post in
the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, that central office of German merchants and
brokers on the facade of which Giorgione and Titian painted their famous
(now obliterated) frescoes. Small posts here with no obligations were
given to public servants, much as we give Civil List pensions.

Tintoretto's life was very methodical, and was divided strictly between
painting and domestic affairs, with few outside diversions. He had
settled down in the house which now bears his name and a tablet, close
to the church of the Madonna dell'Orto. His children were eight in
number, among whom his favourite was Marietta, his eldest daughter. He
and she were in fact inseparable, Marietta even donning boy's attire in
order to be with him at his work on occasions when as a girl it would
have been difficult. Perhaps it is she who so often appears in his
pictures as a beautiful sympathetic human girl among so much that is
somewhat frigidly Biblical and detached. Among his closer friends were
some of the best Venetian intellects, and, among the artists, Andrea
Schiavone, who hovers like a ghost about so many painters and their
work, Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese, Jacopo da Ponte, or Bassano, and
Alessandro Vittoria, the sculptor. He had musician friends, too; for
Tintoretto, like Giorgione before him, was devoted to music, and himself
played many instruments. He was a man of simple tastes and a quiet and
somewhat dry humour; liked home best; chaffed his wife, who was a bit of
a manager and had to check his indiscriminate generosity by limiting him
to one coin a day; and, there is no doubt whatever, studied his Bible
with minuteness. His collected works make the most copious illustrated
edition of scripture that exists.


[Illustration: THE COLLEONI STATUE AND S.S. GIOVANNI E PAOLO]


Certain of Tintoretto's sayings prove his humour to have had a caustic
turn. Being once much harassed by a crowd of spectators, including men
of civic eminence, he was asked why he painted so quickly when Bellini
and Titian had been so deliberate. "They had not so many onlookers to
drive them to distraction," he replied. Of Titian, in spite of his
admiration for his colour, he was always a little jealous and could not
bear to hear him much praised; and colour without drawing eternally
vexed him. His own colour is always subservient. The saying of his which
one remembers best bears upon the difficulties that beset the
conscientious artist: "The farther you go in, the deeper is the sea."

Late in life Tintoretto spent much time with the brothers of S. Rocco.
In 1594, at the age of seventy-six, he died, after a short illness. All
Venice attended his funeral.

He was one of the greatest of painters, and, like Michael Angelo, he did
nothing little. All was on the grand scale. He had not Michael Angelo's
towering superiority, but he too was a giant. His chief lack was
tenderness. There is something a little remote, a little unsympathetic,
in all his work: one admires and wonders, and awaits in vain the
softening moment. To me he is as much a dramatist of the Bible as a
painter of it.

One is rarely satisfied with the whole of a Tintoretto; but a part of
most of his works is superb. Of all his pictures in Venice my favourite
secular one is the "Bacchus and Ariadne" in the Doges' Palace, which has
in it a loveliness not excelled in any painting that I know. Excluding
"The Crucifixion" I should name "The Marriage in Cana" at the Salute as
his most ingratiating Biblical scene. See opposite pages 48 and 96.

The official programme of the Scuola pictures, printed on screens in
various languages, badly needs an English revisor. Here are two titles:
"Moise who makes the water spring"; "The three children in the oven of
Babylony." It also states "worthy of attention are as well the
woodcarvings round the wall sides by an anonymous." To these we come
later. Let me say first that everything about the upper hall, which you
will note has no pillars, is splendid and thorough--proportions,
ceiling, walls, carvings, floor.

The carvings on each side of the high altar (not those "by an anonymous"
but others) tell very admirably the life of the patron saint of the
school whose "S.R.," nobly devised in brass, will be found so often both
here and in the church across the way. S. Rocco, or Saint Rocke, as
Caxton calls him, was born at Montpelier in France of noble parentage.
His father was lord of Montpelier. The child, who came in answer to
prayer, bore at birth on his left shoulder a cross and was even as a
babe so holy that when his mother fasted he fasted too, on two days in
the week deriving nourishment from her once only, and being all the
gladder, sweeter, and merrier for this denial. The lord of Montpelier
when dying impressed upon his exemplary son four duties: namely, to
continue to be vigilant in doing good, to be kind to the poor, to
distribute all the family wealth in alms, and to haunt and frequent the
hospitals.

Both his parents being dead, Rocco travelled to Italy. At Acquapendente
he healed many persons of the pestilence, and also at Cesena and at
Rome, including a cardinal, whom he rendered immune to plague for ever
more by drawing a cross on his forehead. The cardinal took him to see
the pope, in whose presence Rocco's own forehead shone with a
supernatural light which greatly impressed the pontiff. After much
further wandering and healing, Rocco himself took the disease under both
his arms and was so racked with pain that he kept the other patients in
the hospital awake. This distressing him, he crept away where his groans
were out of hearing, and there he lay till the populace, finding him,
and fearing infection, drove him from the city. At Piacenza, where he
took refuge, a spring of fair water, which is there to this day, gushed
out of the earth for his liquid refreshment and as mark of heaven's
approval; while the hound of a neighbouring sportsman brought him bread
from the lord Golard's table: hence the presence of a dog in all
representations of the saint. In the church of S. Rocco across the way
Tintoretto has a picture of this scene in which we discern the dog to
have been a liver-and-white spaniel.

Golard, discovering the dog's fidelity to Rocco, himself passed into the
saint's service and was so thoroughly converted by him that he became a
humble mendicant in the Piacenza streets. Rocco meanwhile continued to
heal, although he could not heal himself, and he even cured the wild
animals of their complaints, as Tintoretto also shows us. Being at last
healed by heaven, he travelled to Lombardy, where he was taken as a spy
and imprisoned for five years, and in prison he died, after being
revealed as a saint to his gaoler. His dying prayer was that all
Christians who prayed to him in the name of Jesus might be delivered
from pestilence. Shortly after Rocco's death an angel descended to earth
with a table written in letters of gold stating that this wish had been
granted. In the carvings in the chancel, the bronzes on the gate and in
Tintoretto's pictures in the neighbouring church, much of this story may
be traced.

The most noteworthy carvings round the room represent types and
attributes. Here is the musician, the conspirator (a very Guy Fawkes,
with dark lantern and all), the scholar, and so forth, all done with
humorous detail by one Pianta. When he came to the artist he had a
little quiet fun with the master himself, this figure being a caricature
of no less a performer than the great Tintoretto.

The little room leading from the upper hall is that rare thing in
Venice, a council chamber which presents a tight fit for the council.
Just inside is a wax model of the head of one of the four Doges named
Alvise Mocenigo, I know not which. Upstairs is a Treasury filled with
valuable ecclesiastical vessels, missals and vestments, and two fine
religious pictures from the masterly worldly hand of Tiepolo. Among the
sacred objects enshrined in gold and silver reliquaries are a piece of
the jawbone of S. Barbara, a piece of the cranium of S. Martin, a tiny
portion of the veil of the Madonna, and a tooth of S. Apollonius held in
triumph in a pair of forceps by a little golden cherub. And now,
descending again, let us look once more at the great picture of Him
whose Life and Crucifixion put into motion all this curious
ecclesiastical machinery--so strangely far from the original idea.

The church of S. Rocco is opposite, and one must enter it for
Tintoretto's scenes in the life of the saint, and for a possible
Giorgione over the altar to the right of the choir in a beautiful old
frame. The subject is Christ carrying the cross, with a few urging Him
on. The theory that Giorgione painted this picture is gaining ground,
and we know that only about a century after Giorgione's death Van Dyck,
when sketching in Venice, made some notes of the work under the
impression that it was the divine Castel Francan's. The light is poor
and the picture is in a bad state, but one is conscious of being in the
presence of a work of very delicate beauty and a profound soft richness.
The picture, Vasari says, once worked miracles, and years ago it brought
in, in votive money, great sums. One grateful admirer has set up a
version of it in marble, on the left wall of the choir. Standing before
this Giorgione, as before the Tintorettos here and over the way, one
again wishes, as so often in Venice, that some American millionaire, in
love with this lovely city and in doubt as to how to apply his
superfluity of cash, would offer to clean the pictures in the churches.
What glorious hues would then come to light!




CHAPTER XXIII

THE FRARI AND TITIAN

A noble church--The tomb of Titian--A painter-prince--A lost
garden--Pomp and colour--A ceaseless learner--Canova--Bellini's
altar-piece--The Pesaro Madonna--The Frari cat--Tombs vulgar and
otherwise--Francesco Foscari--Niccolo Tron's beard.


From S. Rocco to the Frari is but a step, and plenty of assistance in
taking that step will be offered you by small boys.

Outside, the Frari--whose full title is Santa Maria Gloriosa dei
Frari--is worth more attention than it wins. At the first glance it is a
barn built of millions of bricks; but if you give it time it grows into
a most beautiful Gothic church with lovely details, such as the
corbelling under the eaves, the borders of the circular windows, and
still more delightful borders of the long windows, and so forth; while
its campanile is magnificent. In size alone the Frari is worthy of all
respect, and its age is above five centuries. It shares with SS.
Giovanni e Paolo the duty of providing Venice with a Westminster Abbey,
for between them they preserve most of the illustrious dead.

Within, it is a gay light church with fine sombre choir stalls. Next to
S. Stefano, it is the most cheerful church in Venice, and one should
often be there. Nothing is easier than to frequent it, for it is close
to the S. Toma steamboat station, and every visit will discover a new
charm.

The most cherished possession of the Frari is, I suppose, the tomb of
Titian. It is not a very fine monument, dating from as late as 1852, but
it marks reverently the resting-place of the great man. He sits there,
the old painter, with a laurel crown. Behind him is a relief of his
"Assumption", now in the Accademia; above is the lion of Venice.
Titian's work is to be seen throughout Venice, either in fact or in
influence, and all the great cities of the world have some superb
creation from his hand, London being peculiarly fortunate in the
possession of his "Bacchus and Ariadne". Standing before the grave of
this tireless maker of beauty, let us recall the story of his life.
Titian, as we call him--Tiziano Vecellio, or Vecelli, or Tiziano da
Cadore, as he was called by his contemporaries--was born in Cadore, a
Venetian province. The year of his birth varies according to the
biographer. Some say 1477, some 1480, some 1487 or even 1489 and 1490.
Be that as it may, he was born in Cadore, the son of a soldier and
councillor, Gregorio Vecelli. As a child he was sent to Venice and
placed under art teachers, one of whom was Gentile Bellini, and one
Giovanni Bellini, in whose studio he found Giorgione. And it is here
that his age becomes important, because if he was born in 1477 he was
Giorgione's contemporary as a scholar; if ten years later he was much
his junior. In either case there is no doubt that Giorgione's influence
was very powerful. On Titian's death in 1576 he was thought to be
ninety-nine.


[Illustration: THE MADONNA OF THE PESARO FAMILY
FROM THE PAINTING BY TITIAN
_In the Church of the Frari_]


One of Titian's earliest known works is the visitation of S. Mary and S.
Elizabeth, in the Accademia. In 1507 he helped Giorgione with the
Fondaco dei Tedeschi frescoes. In 1511 he went to Padua. In 1512 he
obtained a sinecure in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and was appointed a
State artist, his first task being the completion of certain pictures
left unfinished by his predecessor Giovanni Bellini, and in 1516 he was
put in possession of a patent granting him a painting monopoly, with a
salary of 120 crowns and 80 crowns in addition for the portrait of each
successive Doge. Thereafter his career was one long triumph and his
brush was sought by foreign kings and princes as well as the aristocracy
of Venice. Honours were showered upon him at home and abroad, and
Charles V made him a Count and ennobled his progeny. He married and had
many children, his favourite being, as with Tintoretto, a daughter,
whose early death left him, again as with Tintoretto, inconsolable. He
made large sums and spent large sums, and his house was the scene of
splendid entertainments. It still stands, not far from the Jesuits'
church, but it is now the centre of a slum, and his large garden, which
extended to the lagoon where the Fondamenta Nuovo now is, has been built
over.

Titian's place in art is high and unassailable. What it would have been
in colour without Giorgione we cannot say; but Giorgione could not
affect his draughtsmanship. As it is, the word Titianesque means
everything that is rich and glorious in paint. The Venetians, with their
ostentation, love of pageantry, and intense pride in their city and
themselves, could not have had a painter more to their taste. Had
Giorgione lived he would have disappointed them by his preoccupation
with romantic dreams; Bellini no doubt did disappoint them by a certain
simplicity and divinity; Tintoretto was stern and sparing of gorgeous
hues. But Titian was all for sumptuousness.

Not much is known of his inner life. He seems to have been over-quick to
suspect a successful rival, and his treatment of the young Tintoretto,
if the story is true, is not admirable. He was more friendly with
Aretino than one would expect an adorner of altars to be. His love of
money grew steadily stronger. As an artist he was a pattern, for he was
never satisfied with his work but continually experimented and sought
for new secrets, and although quite old when he met Michael Angelo in
Rome he returned with renewed ambitions. Among his last words, on his
death-bed, were that he was at last almost ready to begin.

As it happens, it is the pyramidal tomb opposite Titian's that was
designed to hold his remains. It is now the tomb of Canova. Why it was
not put to its maker's purpose, I do not know, but to my mind it is a
far finer thing than the Titian monument and worthier of Titian than of
Canova, as indeed Canova would have been the first to admit. But there
was some hitch, and the design was laid in a drawer and not taken out
again until Canova died and certain of his pupils completed it for
himself. Canova was not a Venetian by birth. He was born at Passagno,
near Asolo, in 1757, and was taught the elements of art by his
grandfather and afterwards by a sculptor named Torretto, who recommended
him to the Falier family as a "phenomenon". The Faliers made him their
protege, continued his education in Venice, and when the time was ripe
sent him to Rome, the sculptors' Mecca. In Rome he remained practically
to the end of his life, returning to Venice to die in 1822. It is
possible not too highly to esteem Canova's works, but the man's career
was marked by splendid qualities of industry and purpose and he won
every worldly honour. In private life he practised unremittingly that
benevolence and philanthropy which many Italians have brought to a fine
art.

It is these two tombs which draw most visitors to the Frari; but there
are two pictures here that are a more precious artistic possession. Of
these let us look first at Bellini's altar-piece in the Sacristy. This
work represents the Madonna enthroned, about her being saints and the
little angelic musicians of whom Bellini was so fond. In this work these
musicians are younger than usual; one pipes while the other has a
mandolin. Above them is the Madonna, grave and sweet, with a resolute
little Son standing on her knee. The venerable holy men on either side
have all Bellini's suave benignancy and incapacity for sin: celestial
grandfathers. The whole is set in a very splendid frame. I give a
reproduction opposite page 252, but the colour cannot be suggested.

The other great Frari picture--stronger than this but not more
attractive--is the famous Titian altar-piece, the "Pesaro Madonna". This
is an altar-piece indeed, and in it unite with peculiar success the
world and the spirit. The picture was painted for Jacopo Pesaro, a
member of a family closely associated with this church, as the tombs
will show us. Jacopo, known as "Baffo," is the kneeling figure, and, as
his tonsure indicates, a man of God. He was in fact Bishop of Paphos in
Cyprus, and being of the church militant he had in 1501 commanded the
Papal fleet against the Turks. The expedition was triumphant enough to
lead the Bishop to commission Titian to paint two pictures commemorating
it. In the first the Pope, Alexander Borgia, in full canonicals,
standing, introduces Baffo, kneeling, to S. Peter, on the eve of
starting with the ships to chastise the Infidel. S. Peter blesses him
and the Papal standard which he grasps. In the second, the picture at
which we are now looking (see the reproduction opposite page 246), Baffo
again kneels to S. Peter, while behind him a soldier in armour (who
might be S. George and might merely be a Venetian warrior and a
portrait) exhibits a captured Turk. Above S. Peter is the Madonna, with
one of Titian's most adorable and vigorous Babes. Beside her are S.
Francis and S. Anthony of Padua, S. Francis being the speaking brother
who seems to be saying much good of the intrepid but by no means
over-modest Baffo. The other kneeling figures are various Pesari.
Everything about the picture is masterly and aristocratic, and S. Peter
yields to no other old man in Venetian art, which so valued and
respected age, in dignity and grandeur. In the clouds above all are two
outrageously plump cherubs--fat as butter, as we say--sporting (it is
the only word) with the cross.

As I sat one day looking at this picture, a small grey and white cat
sprang on my knee from nowhere and immediately sank into a profound
slumber from which I hesitated to wake it. Such ingratiating acts are
not common in Venice, where animals are scarce and all dogs must be
muzzled. Whether or not the spirit of Titian had instructed the little
creature to keep me there, I cannot say, but the result was that I sat
for a quarter of an hour before the altar without a movement, so that
every particular of the painting is photographed on my retina. Six
months later the same cat led me to a courtyard opposite the Sacristy
door and proudly exhibited three kittens.

Jacopo Pesaro's tomb is near the Baptistery. The enormous and repellent
tomb on the same wall as the Titian altar-piece is that of a later
Pesaro, Giovanni, an unimportant Doge of Venice for less than a year,
1658-1659. It has grotesque details, including a camel, giant negroes
and skeletons, and it was designed by the architect of S. Maria della
Salute, who ought to have known better. The Doge himself is not unlike
the author of a secretly published English novel entitled _The Woman
Thou Gavest Me_.

As a gentle contrast look at the wall tomb of a bishop on the right of
the Pesaro picture. The old priest lies on his bier resting his head on
his hand and gazing for ever at the choir screen and stalls. It is one
of the simplest and most satisfactory tombs in this church.

But it is in the right transept, about the Sacristy door, that the best
tombs cluster, and here also, in the end chapel, is another picture, by
an early Muranese painter of whom we have seen far too little,
Bartolommeo Vivarini, who is credited with having produced the first oil
picture ever seen in Venice. His Frari altar-piece undoubtedly had
influence on the Bellini in the Sacristy, but it is less beautiful,
although possibly a deeper sincerity informs it. Other musicianly angels
are here, and this time they make their melody to S. Mark. In the next
chapel are some pretty and cool grey and blue tombs.

Chief of the tombs in this corner is the fine monument to Jacopo
Marcello, the admiral. This lovely thing is one of the most Florentine
sculptures in Venice; above is a delicate fresco record of the hero's
triumphs. Near by is the monument of Pacifico Bon, the architect of the
Frari, with a Florentine relief of the Baptism of Christ in terra-cotta,
a little too high to be seen well. The wooden equestrian figure of Paolo
Savello, an early work, is very attractive. In his red cap he rides with
a fine assurance and is the best horseman in Venice after the great
Colleoni.

In the choir, where Titian's "Assumption" once was placed, are two more
dead Doges. On the right is Francesco Foscari, who reigned from
1423-1457, and is one of the two Foscari (his son being the other) of
Byron's drama. Francesco Foscari, whom we know so well by reason of his
position in the relief on the Piazzetta facade of the Doges' Palace,
and again on the Porta della Carta, was unique among the Doges both in
the beginning and end of his reign. He was the first to be introduced to
the populace in the new phrase "This is your Doge," instead of "This is
your Doge, an it please you," and the first to quit the ducal throne not
by death but deposition. But in many of the intervening thirty-four
years he reigned with brilliance and liberality and encouraged the arts.
His fall was due to the political folly of his son Jacopo and the
unpopularity of a struggle with Milan. He died in the famous Foscari
palace on the Grand Canal and, in spite of his recent degradation, was
given a Doge's funeral.

The other Doge here, who has the more ambitious tomb, is Niccolo Tron
(1471-1473) who was before all a successful merchant. Foscari, it will
be noticed, is clean shaven; Tron bearded; and to this beard belongs a
story, for on losing a dearly loved son he refused ever after to have it
cut and carried it to the grave as a sign of his grief.

The Sacristy is, of course, chiefly the casket that contains the Bellini
jewel, but it has other possessions, including the "Stations of the
Cross" by Tiepolo, which the sacristan is far more eager to display: a
brilliant but fatiguing series. Here, too, are a "Crucifixion" and
"Deposition" by Canova. A nice ciborium by the door and a quaint wooden
block remain in my memory.


[Illustration: THE MADONNA TRIPTYCH
BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Church of the Frari_]


For the rest, I recall a gaunt Baptist in wood, said to be by Donatello,
on one of the altars to the left of the choir; and the bronze Baptist in
the Baptistery, less realistic, by Sansovino; the pretty figures of
Innocence and S. Anthony of Padua on the holy water basins just inside
the main door; and the corners of delectable medieval cities in
intarsia work on the stalls.

And, after the details and before them, there is always the great
pleasant church, with its coloured beams and noble spaces.




CHAPTER XXIV

SS. GIOVANNI E PAOLO

A noble statue--Bartolommeo Colleoni--Verrocchio--A Dominican
church--Mocenigo Doges--The tortured Bragadino--The Valier
monument--Leonardo Loredano--Sebastian Venier--The Chapel of the
Rosary--Sansovino--An American eulogy--Michele Steno--Tommaso
Mocenigo--A brave re-builder--The Scuola di S. Marco.


It is important to reach SS. Giovanni e Paolo by gondola, because the
canals are particularly fascinating between this point and, say, the
Molo. If one embarks at the Molo (which is the habit of most visitors),
the gondolier takes you up the Rio Palazzo, under the Ponte di Paglia
and the Bridge of Sighs, past the superb side walls of the Ducal Palace;
then to the right, with relics of fine architecture on either side, up
the winding Rio di S. Maria Formosa, and then to the right again into
the Rio di S. Marina and the Rio dei Mendicanti (where a dyer makes the
water all kinds of colours). A few yards up this canal you pass the
Fondamenta Dandolo on the right, at the corner of which the most
commanding equestrian statue in the world breaks on your vision, behind
it rising the vast bulk of the church. All these little canals have
palaces of their own, not less beautiful than those of the Grand Canal
but more difficult to see.

Before entering the church--and again after coming from it--let us look
at the Colleoni. It is generally agreed that this is the finest horse
and horseman ever cast in bronze; and it is a surprise to me that South
Kensington has no reproduction of it, as the Trocadero in Paris has.
Warrior and steed equally are splendid; they are magnificent and they
are war. The only really competitive statue is that of Gattamalata (who
was Colleoni's commander) by Donatello at Padua; but personally I think
this the finer.

Bartolommeo Colleoni was born in 1400, at Bergamo, of fighting stock,
and his early years were stained with blood. The boy was still very
young when he saw his father's castle besieged by Filippo Maria
Visconti, Duke of Milan, and his father killed. On becoming himself a
condottiere, he joined the Venetians, who were then busy in the field,
and against the Milanese naturally fought with peculiar ardour. But on
the declaration of peace in 1441 he forgot his ancient hostility, and in
the desire for more battle assisted the Milanese in their campaigns.
Fighting was meat and drink to him. Seven years later he returned to the
Venetians, expecting to be appointed Captain-General of the Republic's
forces, but failing in this wish he put his arm again at the service of
the Milanese. A little later, however, Venice afforded him the coveted
honour, and for the rest of his life he was true to her, although when
she was miserably at peace he did not refrain from a little strife on
his own account, to keep his hand in. Venice gave him not only honours
and money but much land, and he divided his old age between agriculture
and--thus becoming still more the darling of the populace--almsgiving.

Colleoni died in 1475 and left a large part of his fortune to the
Republic to be spent in the war with the Turks, and a little for a
statue in the Piazza of S. Mark. But the rules against statues being
erected there being adamant, the site was changed to the campo of SS.
Giovanni e Paolo, and Andrea Verrocchio was brought from Florence to
prepare the group. He began it in 1479 and died while still working on
it, leaving word that his pupil, Lorenzo di Credi, should complete it.
Di Credi, however, was discouraged by the authorities, and the task was
given to Alessandro Leopardi (who made the sockets for the three
flagstaffs opposite S. Mark's), and it is his name which is inscribed on
the statue. But to Verrocchio the real honour.

Among the Colleoni statue's great admirers was Robert Browning, who
never tired of telling the story of the hero to those unacquainted with
it.

The vast church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo does for the Dominicans what the
Frari does for the Franciscans; the two churches being the Venetian
equivalents of Florence's S. Maria Novella and Santa Croce. Like too
many of the church facades of Venice, this one is unfinished and
probably ever will be. Unlike the Frari, to which it has a general
resemblance, the church of John and Paul is domed; or rather it
possesses a dome, with golden balls upon its cupola like those of S.
Mark. Within, it is light and immense but far inferior in charm to its
great red rival. It may contain no Titian's ashes, but both Giovanni and
Gentile Bellini lie here; and its forty-six Doges give it a cachet. We
come at once to two of them, for on the outside wall are the tombs of
Doge Jacopo Tiepolo, who gave the land for the church, and of his son,
Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo.


[Illustration: BARTOLOMMEO COLLEONI FROM THE STATUE BY ANDREA
VERROCCHIO]


Just within we find Alvise Mocenigo (1570-1577) who was on the throne
when Venice was swept by the plague in which Titian died, and who
offered the church of the Redentore on the Guidecca as a bribe to
Heaven to stop the pestilence. Close by lie his predecessors and
ancestors, Pietro Mocenigo, the admiral, and Giovanni Mocenigo, his
brother, whose reign (1478-1485) was peculiarly belligerent and
witnessed the great fire which destroyed so many treasures in the Ducal
Palace. What he was like you may see in the picture numbered 750 in our
National Gallery, once given to Carpaccio, then to Lorenzo Bastiani, and
now to the school of Gentile Bellini. In this work the Doge kneels to
the Virgin and implores intercession for the plague-stricken city.
Pietro's monument is the most splendid, with a number of statues by
Pietro Lombardi, architect of the Ducal Palace after the same fire. S.
Christopher is among these figures, with a nice little Christ holding on
to his ear.

In the right aisle we find the monument of Bragadino, a Venetian
commander who, on the fall of Cyprus, which he had been defending
against the Turks, was flayed alive. But this was not all the punishment
put upon him by the Turks for daring to hold out so long. First his nose
and ears were cut off; then for some days he was made to work like the
lowest labourer. Then came the flaying, after which his skin was stuffed
with straw and fastened as a figure-head to the Turkish admiral's prow
on his triumphant return to Constantinople. For years the trophy was
kept in the arsenal of that city, but it was removed by some means or
other, purchase or theft, and now reposes in the tomb at which we are
looking. This monument greatly affected old Coryat. "Truly," he says, "I
could not read it with dry eyes."

Farther on is the pretentious Valier monument, a triumph of bad taste.
Here we see Doge Bertucci Valier (1656-1658) with his courtly abundant
dame, and Doge Silvestro Valier (1694-1700), all proud and foolish in
death, as I feel sure they must have been in life to have commissioned
such a memorial. In the choir are more Doges, some of sterner stuff:
Michele Morosini (1382), who after only a few months was killed by a
visitation of the plague, which carried off also twenty thousand more
ordinary Venetians, but who has a tomb of great distinction worthy of
commemorating a full and sagacious reign; Leonardo Loredan (1501-1521)
whose features we know so well by reason of Bellini's portrait in the
National Gallery, the Doge on the throne when the League of Cambray was
formed by the Powers to crush the Republic; and Andrea Vendramini
(1476-1478) who has the most beautiful monument of all, the work of
Tullio and Antonio Lombardi. Vendramini, who came between Pietro and
Giovanni Mocenigo, had a brief and bellicose reign. Lastly here lies
Doge Marco Corner (1365-1368), who made little history, but was a fine
character.

In the left transept we find warlike metal, for here is the modern
statue of the great Sebastian Venier whom we have already seen in the
Ducal Palace as the hero of the battle of Lepanto in 1571, and it is
peculiarly fitting that he should be honoured in the same church as the
luckless Bragadino, for it was at Lepanto that the Turks who had
triumphed at Cyprus and behaved so vilely were for the moment utterly
defeated. On the death of Alvise Mocenigo, Venier was made Doge, at the
age of eighty, but he occupied the throne only for a year and his end
was hastened by grief at another of those disastrous fires, in 1576,
which destroyed some of the finest pictures that the world then
contained. This statue is vigorous, and one feels that it is true to
life, but for the old admiral at his finest and most vivid you must go
to Vienna, where Tintoretto's superb and magnificent portrait of him is
preserved. There he stands, the old sea dog, in his armour, but
bare-headed, and through a window you see the Venetian fleet riding on a
blue sea. It is one of the greatest portraits in the world and it ought
to be in Venice.

The chapel of the Rosary, which is entered just by the statue of Venier,
was built in honour of his Lepanto victory. It was largely destroyed by
fire in 1867, and is shown by an abrupt white-moustached domineering
guide who claims to remember it before that time. Such wood carving as
was saved ("Saved! Saved!" he raps out in tones like a pistol shot) is
in the church proper, in the left aisle. Not to be rescued were Titian's
great "Death of S. Peter, Martyr" a copy of which, presented by King
Victor Emmanuel, is in the church, and a priceless altar-piece by
Giovanni Bellini. The beautiful stone reliefs by Sansovino are in their
original places, and remain to-day as they were mutilated by the flames.
Their unharmed portions prove their exquisite workmanship, and
fortunately photography has preserved for us their unimpaired form. An
American gentleman who followed me into the church, after having
considered for some time as to whether or not he (who had "seen ten
thousand churches") would risk the necessary fifty centimes, expressed
himself, before these Sansovino masterpieces, as glad he came. "These
reliefs," he said to me, "seem to be of a high order of merit." The
restoration of the chapel is being carried out thoroughly but slowly.
Modern Sansovinos, in caps made from the daily paper, are stone-cutting
all day long, and will be for many years to come.

Returning to the church proper, we find more Doges. An earlier Venier
Doge, Antonio (1382-1400), is here. In the left aisle is another fine
Ducal monument, that of Pasquale Malipiero (1457-1462), who succeeded
Foscari on his deposal and was the first Doge to be present at the
funeral of another, for Foscari died only ten days after his fall. Here
also lie Doge Michele Steno (1400-1413), who succeeded Antonio Venier,
and who as a young man is credited with the insult which may be said to
have led to all Marino Faliero's troubles. For Steno having annoyed the
Doge by falling in love with a maid of honour, Faliero forbade him the
palace, and in retaliation Steno scribbled on the throne itself a
scurrilous commentary on the Doge's wife. Faliero's inability to induce
the judges to punish Steno sufficiently was the beginning of that rage
against the State which led to his ruin. It was during Steno's reign
that Carlo Zeno was so foolishly arrested and imprisoned, to the loss of
the Republic of one of its finest patriots.


[Illustration: MADONNA WITH THE MAGDALEN AND S. CATHERINE
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI
_In the Accademia_]


The next Ducal tomb is the imposing one of the illustrious Tommaso
Mocenigo (1413-1423) who succeeded Steno and brought really great
qualities to his office. Had his counsels been followed the whole
history of Venice might have changed, for he was firm against the
Republic's land campaigns, holding that she had territory enough and
should concentrate on sea power: a sound and sagacious policy which
found its principal opponent in Francesco Foscari, Mocenigo's successor,
and its justification years later in the calamitous League of Cambray,
to which I have referred elsewhere. Mocenigo was not only wise for
Venice abroad, but at home too. A fine of a thousand ducats had been
fixed as the punishment of anyone who, in those days of expenses
connected with so many campaigns, chiefly against the Genoese, dared to
mention the rebuilding or beautifying of the Ducal Palace. But Mocenigo
was not to be deterred, and rising in his place with his thousand ducat
penalty in his hand, he urged with such force upon the Council the
necessity of rebuilding that he carried his point, and the lovely
building much as we now know it was begun. That was in 1422. In 1423
Mocenigo died, his last words being a warning against the election of
Foscari as his successor. But Foscari was elected, and the downfall of
Venice dates from that moment.

The last Ducal monument is that of Niccolo Marcello (1473-1474) in whose
reign the great Colleoni died. Pietro Mocenigo was his successor.

In pictures this great church is not very rich, but there is a Cima in
the right transept, a "Coronation of the Virgin," which is sweet and
mellow. The end wall of this transept is pierced by one of the gayest
and pleasantest windows in the city, from a design of Bartolommeo
Vivarini. It has passages of the intensest blue, thus making it a
perfect thing for a poor congregation to delight in as well as a joy to
the more instructed eye. In the sacristy is an Alvise Vivarini--"Christ
bearing the Cross"--which has good colour, but carrying such a cross
would be an impossibility. Finally let me mention the bronze reliefs of
the life of S. Dominic in the Cappella of that saint in the right aisle.
The one representing his death, though perhaps a little on the florid
side, has some pretty and distinguished touches.

The building which adjoins the great church at right angles is the
Scuola di S. Marco, for which Tintoretto painted his "Miracle of S.
Mark," now in the Accademia, and thus made his reputation. It is to-day
a hospital. The two jolly lions on the facade are by Tullio Lombardi,
the reliefs being famous for the perspective of the steps, and here,
too, are reliefs of S. Mark's miracles. S. Mark is above the door, with
the brotherhood around him.

And now let us look again and again at the Colleoni, from every angle.
But he is noblest from the extreme corner on the Fondamenta Dandolo.




CHAPTER XXV

S. ELENA AND THE LIDO

The Arsenal--The public gardens--Garibaldi's monument--The art
exhibition--A water pageant--The prince and his escort--Venice _versus_
Genoa--The story of Helena--S. Pietro in Castello--The theft of the
brides--The Lido--A German paradise.


I do not know that there is any need to visit the Arsenal museum except
perhaps for the pleasure of being in a Venetian show place where no one
expects a tip. It has not much of interest to a foreigner, nor could I
discover a catalogue of what it does possess. Written labels are fixed
here and there, but they are not legible. The most popular exhibit is
the model of the Bucintoro, the State galley in which the Doge was rowed
to the Porto di Lido, past S. Nicholas of the Lido, to marry the
Adriatic; but the actual armour worn by Henri IV was to me more
thrilling.

Returning from the Arsenal to the Riva, we come soon, on the left, to
the Ponte della Veneta Marina, a dazzlingly white bridge with dolphins
carved upon it, and usually a loafer asleep on its broad balustrade; and
here the path strikes inland up the wide and crowded Via Garibaldi.

The shore of the lagoon between the bridge and the public gardens,
whither we are now bound, has some very picturesque buildings and
shipyards, particularly a great block more in the manner of Genoa than
Venice, with dormer windows and two great arches, in which myriad
families seem to live. Here clothes are always drying and mudlarks at
play.

Mr. Howells speaks in his _Venetian Life_ of the Giardini Pubblici as
being an inevitable resort in the sixties; but they must, I think, have
lost their vogue. The Venetians who want to walk now do so with more
comfort and entertainment in S. Mark's Square.

At the Via Garibaldi entrance is a monument to the fine old Liberator,
who stands, wearing the famous cap and cloak, sword in hand, on the
summit of a rock. Below him on one side is a lion, but a lion without
wings, and on the other one of his watchful Italian soldiers. There is a
rugged simplicity about it that is very pleasing. Among other statues in
the gardens is one to perpetuate the memory of Querini, the Arctic
explorer, with Esquimaux dogs at his side; Wagner also is here.

In the public gardens are the buildings in which international art
exhibitions are held every other year. These exhibitions are not very
remarkable, but it is extremely entertaining to be in Venice on the
opening day, for all the State barges and private gondolas turn out in
their richest colours, some with as many as eighteen rowers all bending
to the oar at the same moment, and in a splendid procession they convey
important gentlemen in tall hats to the scene of the ceremony, while
overhead two great dirigible airships solemnly swim like distended
whales.

In the afternoon of the 1914 ceremony the Principe Tommaso left the
Arsenal in a motor-boat for some distant vessel. I chanced to be
proceeding at the time at a leisurely pace from S. Niccolo di Lido to S.
Pietro in Castello. Suddenly into the quietude of the lagoon broke the
thunder of an advancing motor-boat proceeding at the maximum speed
attainable by those terrific vessels. It passed us like a sea monster,
and we had, as we clung to the sides of the rocking gondola, a momentary
glimpse of the Principe behind an immense cigar. And then a more
disturbing noise still, for out of the Arsenal, scattering foam, came
four hydroplanes to act as a convoy and guard of honour, all soaring
from their spray just before our eyes, and like enraged giant
dragon-flies wheeling and swooping above the prince until we lost sight
and sound of them. But long before we were at S. Pietro's they were
furiously back again.

Beyond the gardens, and connected with them by a bridge, is the island
of S. Elena, where the foundry was built in which were recast the
campanile bells after the fall of 1902. This is a waste space of grass
and a few trees, and here the children play, and here, recently, a
football ground--or campo di giuoco--has been laid out, with a
galvanized iron and pitch-pine shed called splendidly the Tribuna. One
afternoon I watched a match there between those ancient enemies Venice
and Genoa: ancient, that is, on the sea, as Chioggia can tell. Owing to
the heat the match was not to begin until half-past four; but even then
the sun blazed. No sooner was I on the ground than I found that some of
the Genoese team were old friends, for in the morning I had seen them in
the water and on the sand at the Lido, and wondered who so solid a band
of brothers could be. Then they played a thousand pranks on each other,
the prime butt being the dark young Hercules with a little gold charm on
his mighty chest, which he wore then and was wearing now, who guarded
the Genoese goal and whose name was Frederici.

It was soon apparent that Venice was outplayed in every department, but
they tried gallantly. The Genoese, I imagine, had adopted the game much
earlier; but an even more cogent reason for their superiority was
apparent when I read through the names of both teams, for whereas the
Venetians were strictly Italian, I found in the Genoese eleven a
Macpherson, a Walsingham, and a Grant, who was captain. Whether football
is destined to take a firm hold of the Venetians, I cannot say; but the
players on that lovely afternoon enjoyed it, and the spectators enjoyed
it, and if we were bored we could pick blue salvia.

This island of S. Elena has more interest to the English than meets the
eye. It is not merely that it is green and grassy, but the daughter of
one of our national heroes is thought to have been buried there: the
Empress Helena, daughter of Old King Cole, who fortified Colchester,
where she was born. To be born in Colchester and be buried on an island
near Venice is not too common an experience; to discover the true cross
and be canonized for it is rarer still. But this remarkable woman did
even more, for she became the mother of Constantine the Great, who
founded the city which old Dandolo so successfully looted for Venice and
which ever stood before early Venice as an exemplar.


[Illustration: MADONNA AND SAINTS
FROM THE PAINTING BY BOCCACCINO
_In the Accademia_]


Helena, according to the hagiologists, was advanced in years before she
knew Christ, but her zeal made up for the delay. She built churches near
and far, assisted in services, showered wealth on good works, and
crowned all by an expedition to the Holy Land in search of the true
cross. Three crosses were found. In order to ascertain the veritable
one, a sick lady of quality was touched by all; two were without
efficacy, but the third instantly healed her. It is fortunate that the
two spurious ones were tried first. Part of the true cross Helena left
in the Holy Land for periodical veneration; another part she gave to
her son the Emperor Constantine for Constantinople for a similar
purpose. One of the nails she had mounted in Constantine's diadem and
another she threw into the Adriatic to save the souls of mariners.
Helena died in Rome in 326 or 328, and most of the records agree that
she was buried there and translated to Rheims in 849; but the Venetians
decline to have anything to do with so foolish a story. It is their
belief that the saint, whom Paul Veronese painted so beautifully, seeing
the cross in a vision, as visitors to our National Gallery know, was
buried on their green island. This has not, however, led them to care
for the church there with any solicitude, and it is now closed and
deserted.

The adjoining island to S. Elena is that of Castello, on which stand the
church of S. Pietro and its tottering campanile. This church was for
centuries the cathedral of Venice, but it is now forlorn and dejected
and few visitors seek it. Flowers sprout from the campanile, a beautiful
white structure at a desperate angle. The church was once famous for its
marriages, and every January, on the last day, the betrothed maidens,
with their dowries in their hands and their hair down, assembled on the
island with their lovers to celebrate the ceremony. On one occasion in
the tenth century a band of pirates concealed themselves here, and
descending on the happy couples, seized maidens, dowries, bridegrooms,
clergy and all, and sailed away with them. Pursuit, however, was given
and all were recaptured, and a festival was established which continued
for two or three hundred years. It has now lapsed.

Venice is fortunate indeed in the possession of the Lido; for it serves
a triple purpose. It saves her from the assaults of her husband the
Adriatic when in savage moods; it provides her with a stretch of land
on which to walk or ride and watch the seasons behave; and as a bathing
station it has no rival. The Lido is not beautiful; but Venice seen from
it is beautiful, and it has trees and picnic grounds, and its usefulness
is not to be exaggerated. The steamers, which ply continually in summer
and very often in winter, take only a quarter of an hour to make the
voyage.

In the height of the bathing season the Lido becomes German territory,
and the chromatic pages of _Lustige Blaetter_ are justified. German is
the only language on the sea or on the sands, at any rate at the more
costly establishments. The long stretch of sand between these
establishments, with its myriad tents and boxes, belong permanently to
the Italians and is not to be invaded; but the public parts are
Teutonic. Here from morning till evening paunchy men with shaven heads
lie naked or almost naked in the sun, acquiring first a shrivelling of
the cuticle which amounts to flaying, and then the tanning which is so
triumphantly borne back to the Fatherland. The water concerns them but
little: it is the sunburn on the sands that they value. With them are
merry, plump German women, who wear slightly more clothes than the men,
and like water better, and every time they enter it send up the horizon.
The unaccompanied men comfort themselves with cameras, with which, all
unashamed and with a selective system of the most rigid partiality, they
secure reminders of the women they think attractive, a Kodak and a hat
being practically their only wear.

Professional photographers are there too, and on a little platform a
combined chiropodist and barber plies his antithetical trades in the
full view of the company.

The Lido waters are admirably adapted for those who prefer to frolic
rather than to swim. Ropes indicate the shallow area. There is then a
stretch of sea, which is perhaps eight feet deep at the deepest, for
about twenty yards, and then a sandy shoal arises where the depth is not
more than three to four feet. Since only the swimmers can reach this
vantage ground, one soon learns which they are. But, as I say, the sea
takes a secondary place and is used chiefly as a corrective to the sun's
rays when they have become too hot. "Come unto those yellow sands!" is
the real cry of the Lido as heard in Berlin.




CHAPTER XXVI

ON FOOT. IV: FROM THE DOGANA TO S. SEBASTIANO

The Dogana--A scene of shipping--The Giudecca Canal--On the Zattere--The
debt of Venice to Ruskin--An artists' bridge--The painters of
Venice--Turner and Whistler--A removal--S. Trovaso--Browning on the
Zattere--S. Sebastiano--The life of Paul Veronese--S. Maria de
Carmine--A Tuscan relief--A crowded calle--The grief of the bereaved.


For a cool day, after too much idling in gondolas, there is a good walk,
tempered by an occasional picture, from the Custom House to S.
Sebastiano and back to S. Mark's. The first thing is to cross the Grand
Canal, either by ferry or a steamer to the Salute, and then all is easy.

The Dogana, as seen from Venice and from the water, is as familiar a
sight almost as S. Mark's or the Doges' Palace, with its white stone
columns, and the two giants supporting the globe, and the beautiful
thistledown figure holding out his cloak to catch the wind. Everyone who
has been to Venice can recall this scene and the decisive way in which
the Dogana thrusts into the lagoon like the prow of a ship of which the
Salute's domes form the canvas. But to see Venice from the Dogana is a
rarer experience.

No sooner does one round the point--the Punta della Salute--and come to
the Giudecca canal than everything changes. Palaces disappear and
shipping asserts itself. One has promise of the ocean. Here there is
always a huddle of masts, both of barges moored close together, mostly
called after either saints or Garibaldi, with crude pictures of their
namesakes painted on the gunwale, and of bigger vessels and perhaps a
few pleasure yachts; and as likely as not a big steamer is entering or
leaving the harbour proper, which is at the far end of this Giudecca
canal. And ever the water dances and there are hints of the great sea,
of which the Grand Canal, on the other side of the Dogana, is ignorant.

The pavement of the Zaterre, though not so broad as the Riva, is still
wide, and, like the Riva, is broken by the only hills which the Venetian
walker knows--the bridges. The first building of interest to which we
come is the house, now a hotel, opposite a little alfresco restaurant
above the water, which bears a tablet stating that it was Ruskin's
Venetian home. That was in his later days, when he was writing _Fors
Clavigera_; earlier, while at work on _The Stones of Venice_, he had
lived, as we have seen, near S. Zobenigo. Ruskin could be very rude to
the Venetians: somewhere in _Fors_ he refers to the "dirty population of
Venice which is now neither fish nor flesh, neither noble nor
fisherman," and he was furious alike with its tobacco and its
steamboats; yet for all that, if ever a distinguished man deserved
honour at the hands of a city Ruskin deserves it from Venice. _The
Stones of Venice_ is such a book of praise as no other city ever had. In
it we see a man of genius with a passion for the best and most sincere
work devoting every gift of appraisement, exposition, and eulogy,
fortified by the most loving thoroughness and patience, to the glory of
the city's architecture, character, and art.

The first church is that of the Gesuati, but it is uninteresting.
Passing on, we come shortly to a very attractive house with an
overhanging first floor, most delectable windows and a wistaria, beside
a bridge; and looking up the canal, the Rio di S. Trovaso, we see one of
the favourite subjects of artists in Venice--the huddled wooden sheds of
a squero, or a boat-building yard; and as likely as not some workmen
will be firing the bottom of an old gondola preliminary to painting her
afresh. Venice can show you artists at work by the score, on every fine
day, but there is no spot more certain in which to find one than this
bridge. It was here that I once overheard two of these searchers for
beauty comparing notes on the day's fortune. "The bore is," said one,
"that everything is so good that one can never begin."

Of the myriad artists who have painted Venice, Turner is the most
wonderful. Her influence on him cannot be stated in words: after his
first residence in Venice, in the early eighteen-thirties, when he was
nearing sixty, his whole genius became etherealized and a golden mist
seems to have swum for ever before his eyes. For many years after that,
whenever he took up his brush, his first thought was to record yet
another Venetian memory. In the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery
are many of the canvases to which this worshipper of light endeavoured
with such persistence and zeal to transfer some of the actual glory of
the universe: each one the arena of the unequal struggle between pigment
and atmosphere. But if Turner failed, as every artist must fail, to
recapture all, his failures are always magnificent.

There are, of course, also numbers of his Venetian water-colours.

Where Turner lived when in Venice, I have not been able to discover; but
I feel sure it was not at Danieli's, where Bonington was lodging on his
memorable sojourn there about 1825. Turner was too frugal for that. The
Tate has a brilliant oil rendering of the Doges' Palace by Bonington.
The many Venetian water-colours which he made with such rapidity and
power are scattered. One at any rate is in the Louvre, a masterly
drawing of the Colleoni statue.

To enumerate the great artists who have painted in Venice would fill a
book. Not all have been too successful; while some have borne false
witness. The dashing Ziem, for example, deprived Venice of her
translucency; our own Henry Woods and Luke Fildes endow her daughters,
who have always a touch of wistfulness, with too bold a beauty. In
Whistler's lagoon etchings one finds the authentic note and in Clara
Montalba's warm evanescent aquamarines; while for the colour of Venice I
cannot remember anything finer, always after Turner, than, among the
dead, certain J.D. Hardings I have seen, and, among the living, Mr.
Sargent's amazing transcripts, which, I am told, are not to be obtained
for love or money, but fall to the lot of such of his friends as wisely
marry for them as wedding presents, or tumble out of his gondola and
need consolation.

Bonington and Harding painted Venice as it is; Turner used Venice to
serve his own wonderful and glorious ends. If you look at his "Sun of
Venice" in the National Gallery, you will not recognize the fairy
background of spires and domes--more like a city of the Arabian Nights
than the Venice of fact even in the eighteen-thirties. You will notice
too that the great wizard, to whom, in certain rapt moods, accuracy was
nothing, could not even write the word Venezia correctly on the sail of
a ship. Whistler too, in accordance with his dictum that to say to the
artist that he must take nature as she is, is to say to the musician
that he must sit on the piano, used Venice after his own caprice, as the
study of his etchings will show. And yet the result of both these
artists' endeavours--one all for colour and the other all for form--is
by the synthesis of genius a Venice more Venetian than herself: Venice
essentialized and spiritualized.

It was from this bridge that one Sunday morning I watched the very
complete removal of a family from the Giudecca to another domicile in
the city proper. The household effects were all piled up in the one
boat, which father and elder son, a boy of about twelve, propelled.
Mother and baby sat on a mattress, high up, while two ragged girls and
another boy hopped about where they could and shouted with excitement.
As soon as the Rio di S. Trovaso was entered the oarsmen gave up rowing
and clawed their way along the wall. Moving has ever been a delight to
English children, the idea of a change of house being eternally
alluring, but what would they not give to make the exchange of homes
like this?

We should walk beside this pleasant Rio, for a little way down on the
left is the church of S. Trovaso, with a campo that still retains some
of the grass which gave these open spaces their name, and a few graceful
acacia trees. In this church is a curiously realistic "Adoration of the
Magi" by Tintoretto: a moving scene of life in which a Spanish-looking
peasant seems strangely out of place. An altar in a little chapel has a
beautiful shallow relief which should not be overlooked. The high-altar
picture--a "Temptation of S. Anthony" by Tintoretto--is now hidden by a
golden shrine, while another of the show pieces, a saint on horseback,
possibly by Jacobello del Fiore, in the chapel to the left of the choir,
is sadly in need of cleaning, but obviously deserving of every care.

We now return to the Zattere, in a house on which, just beyond the Rio
di S. Trovaso. Browning often stayed. In one of his letters he thus
describes the view from his room: "Every morning at six, I see the sun
rise; far more wonderfully, to my mind, than his famous setting, which
everybody glorifies. My bedroom window commands a perfect view--the
still grey lagune, the few seagulls flying, the islet of S. Giorgio in
deep shadow, and the clouds in a long purple rack, behind which a sort
of spirit of rose burns up till presently all the ruins are on fire with
gold, and last of all the orb sends before it a long column of its own
essence apparently: so my day begins."

Still keeping beside the shipping, we proceed to the little Albergo of
the Winds where the fondamenta ends. Here we turn to the right, cross a
campo with a school beside it, and a hundred boys either playing on the
stones or audible at their lessons within walls, and before us, on the
other side of the canal, is the church of S. Sebastiano, where the
superb Veronese painted and all that was mortal of him was laid to rest
in 1588. Let us enter.

For Paolo Veronese at his best, in Venice, you must go to the Doges'
Palace and the Accademia. Nearer home he is to be found in the Salon
Carre in the Louvre, where his great banqueting scene hangs, and in our
own National Gallery, notably in the beautiful S. Helena, more
beautiful, to my mind, than anything of his in Venice, and not only more
beautiful but more simple and sincere, and also in the magnificent
"House of Darius".

Not much is known of the life of Paolo Caliari of Verona. The son of a
stone-cutter, he was born in 1528, and thus was younger than Titian and
Tintoretto, with whom he was eternally to rank, who were born
respectively in 1477 or 1487 and 1518. At the age of twenty-seven,
Veronese went to Venice, and there he remained, with brief absences, for
the rest of his life, full of work and honour. His first success came
when he competed for the decoration of the ceiling of S. Mark's library
and won. In 1560 he visited Rome in the Ambassador's service; in 1565 he
married a Veronese woman. He died in 1588, leaving two painter sons.
Vasari, who preferred Tuscans, merely mentions him.

More than any other painter, except possibly Velasquez, Veronese strikes
the observer as an aristocrat. Everything that he did had a certain
aloofness and distinction. In drawing, no Venetian was his superior, not
even Tintoretto; and his colour, peculiarly his own, is characterized by
a certain aureous splendour, as though he mixed gold with all his
paints. Tintoretto and he, though latterly, in Titian's very old age,
rivals, were close friends.

Veronese is the glory of this church, for it possesses not only his
ashes but some fine works. It is a pity that the light is not good. The
choir altar-piece is his and his also are the pictures of the martyrdom
of S. Sebastian, S. Mark, and S. Marcellinus. They are vigorous and
typical, but tell their stories none too well. Veronese painted also the
ceiling, the organ, and other altar-pieces, and a bust of him is here to
show what manner of man he was.

Close to the door, on the left as you leave, is a little Titian which
might be very fine after cleaning.

There are two ways of returning from S. Sebastiano to, say, the iron
bridge of the Accademia. One is direct, the other indirect. Let us take
the indirect one first.


[Illustration: THE PALAZZO PESARO (ORFEI), CAMPO S. BENEDETTO]


Leaving the church, you cross the bridge opposite its door and turn to
the left beside the canal. At the far corner you turn into the
fondamenta of the Rio di S. Margherita, which is a beautiful canal with
a solitary cypress that few artists who come to Venice can resist.
Keeping on the right side of the Rio di S. Margherita we come quickly
to the campo of the Carmine, where another church awaits us.

S. Maria del Carmine is not beautiful, and such pictures as it possesses
are only dimly visible--a "Circumcision" by Tintoretto, a Cima which
looks as though it might be rather good, and four Giorgionesque scenes
by Schiavone. But it has, what is rare in Venice, a bronze bas-relief
from Tuscany, probably by Verrocchio and possibly by Leonardo himself.
It is just inside the side door, on the right as you enter, and might
easily be overlooked. Over the dead Christ bend women in grief; a
younger woman stands by the cross, in agony; and in a corner are
kneeling, very smug, the two donors, Federigo da Montefeltro and
Battista Sforza.

Across the road is a Scuola with ceilings by the dashing Tiepolo--very
free and luminous, with a glow that brought to my mind certain little
pastorals by Karel du Jardin, of all people!

It is now necessary to get to the Campo di S. Barnaba, where under an
arch a constant stream of people will be seen, making for the iron
bridge of the Accademia, and into this stream you will naturally be
absorbed; and to find this campo you turn at once into the great campo
of S. Margherita, leaving on your left an ancient building that is now a
cinema and bearing to the right until you reach a canal. Cross the
canal, turn to the left, and the Campo di S. Barnaba, with its archway
under the houses, is before you.

The direct way from S. Sebastiano to this same point and the iron bridge
is by the long Calle Avogadro and Calle Lunga running straight from the
bridge before the church. There is no turning.

The Calle Lunga is the chief shopping centre of this neighbourhood--its
Merceria--and all the needs of poorer Venetian life are supplied there.
But what most interested me was the death-notices in the shop windows.
Every day there was a new one; sometimes two. These intimations of
mortality are printed in a copper-plate type on large sheets of paper,
usually with black edges and often with a portrait. They begin with
records as to death, disease, and age, and pass on to eulogise the
departed. It is the encomiastic mood that makes them so charming. If
they mourn a man, he was the most generous, most punctilious, and most
respected of Venetian citizens. His word was inviolable; as a husband
and father he was something a little more than perfection, and his
sorrowing and desolate widow and his eight children, two of them the
merest bambini, will have the greatest difficulty in dragging through
the tedious hours that must intervene before they are reunited to him in
the paradise which his presence is now adorning. If they mourn a woman,
she was a miracle of fortitude and piety, and nothing can ever efface
her memory and no one take her place. "Ohe!" if only she had been
spared, but death comes to all.

The composition is florid and emotional, with frequent exclamations of
grief, and the intimations of mortality are so thorough and convincing
that one has a feeling that many a death-bed would be alleviated if the
dying man could hear what was to be printed about him.

After reading several one comes to the conclusion that a single author
is responsible for many; and it may be a Venetian profession to write
them. A good profession too, for they carry much comfort on their wings.
Every one stops to read them, and I saw no cynical smile on any face.




CHAPTER XXVII

CHURCHES HERE AND THERE

S. Maria dei Miracoli--An exquisite casket--S. Maria Formosa--Pictures
of old Venice--The Misericordia--Tintoretto's house--The Madonna
dell'Orto--Tintoretto's "Presentation"--"The Last Judgment"--A
Bellini--Titian's "Tobias"--S. Giobbe--Il Moro--Venetian by-ways--A few
minor beauties.


Among the smaller beauties of Venice--its cabinet architectural gems, so
to speak--S. Maria dei Miracoli comes first. This little church, so
small as to be almost a casket, is tucked away among old houses on a
canal off the Rio di S. Marina, and it might be visited after SS.
Giovanni e Paolo as a contrast to the vastness of that "Patheon de
Venise," as the sacristan likes to call it. S. Maria dei Miracoli, so
named from a picture of the Madonna over the altar which has performed
many miracles, is a monument to the genius of the Lombardo family:
Pietro and his sons having made it, in the fifteenth century, for the
Amadi. To call the little church perfect is a natural impulse, although
no doubt fault could be found with it: Ruskin, for example, finds some,
but try as he will to be cross he cannot avoid conveying an impression
of pleasure in it. For you and me, however, it is a joy unalloyed: a
jewel of Byzantine Renaissance architecture, made more beautiful by gay
and thoughtful detail. It is all of marble, white and coloured, with a
massive wooden ceiling enriched and lightened by paint. Venice has
nothing else at all like it. Fancy, in this city of aisles and columns
and side chapels and wall tombs, a church with no interruptions or
impediments whatever. The floor has its chairs (such poor cane-bottomed
things too, just waiting for a rich patron to put in something good of
rare wood, well carved and possibly a little gilded), and nothing else.
The walls are unvexed. At the end is a flight of steps leading to the
altar, and that is all, except that there is not an inch of the church
which does not bear traces of a loving care. Every piece of the marble
carving is worth study--the flowers and foliations, the birds and cupids
and dolphins, and not least the saint with a book on the left ambone.

S. Maria Formosa, one of the churches mentioned in the beautiful legend
of Bishop Magnus--to be built, you remember, where he saw a white cloud
rest--which still has a blue door-curtain, is chiefly famous for a
picture by a great Venetian painter who is too little represented in the
city--Palma the elder. Palma loved beautiful, opulent women and rich
colours, and even when he painted a saint, as he does here--S. Barbara
(whose jawbone we saw in the S. Rocco treasury)--he could not much
reduce his fine free fancy and therefore he made her more of a
commanding queen than a Christian martyr. This church used to be visited
every year by the Doge for a service in commemoration of the capture of
the brides, of which we heard at S. Pietro in Castello. The campo, once
a favourite centre for bull-fights and alfresco plays, has some fine
palaces, notably those at No. 5250, the Malipiero, and No. 6125, the red
Dona.

At the south of the campo is the Campiello Querini where we find the
Palazzo Querini Stampalia, a seventeenth-century mansion, now the
property of the city, which contains a library and a picture gallery.
Among the older pictures which I recall are a Holy Family by Lorenzo di
Credi in Room III and a Martyrdom of San Sebastian by Annibale Caracci
in Room IV. A Judith boldly labelled Giorgione is not good. But although
no very wonderful work of art is here, the house should be visited for
its scenes of Venetian life, which bring the Venice of the past very
vividly before one. Here you may see the famous struggles between the
two factions of gondoliers, the Castellani and the Nicolotti, actually
in progress on one of the bridges; the departure of the Bucintoro with
the Doge on board to wed the Adriatic; the wedding ceremony off S.
Niccolo; the marriage of a noble lady at the Salute; a bull-fight on the
steps of the Rialto bridge; another in the courtyard of the Ducal
Palace; a third in the Piazza of S. Mark in 1741; the game of pallone
(now played in Venice no more) in the open space before the Gesuiti;
fairs in the Piazzetta; church festivals and regattas. The paintings
being contemporary, these records are of great value in ascertaining
costumes, architecture, and so forth.

I speak elsewhere of the Palazzo Giovanelli as being an excellent
destination to give one's gondolier when in doubt. After leaving it,
with Giorgione's landscape still glowing in the memory, there are worse
courses to take than to tell the poppe to row on up the Rio di Noale to
the Misericordia, in which Tintoretto painted his "Paradiso". This great
church, once the chief funeral church of Venice, is now a warehouse,
lumber rooms, workshops. Beside it is the head-quarters of the _pompes
funebres_, wherein a jovial fellow in blue linen was singing as I
passed.

At the back of the Misericordia is an ancient abbey, now also
secularized, with a very charming doorway surmounted by a pretty relief
of cherubs. Farther north is the Sacco of the Misericordia opening into
the lagoon. Here are stored the great rafts of timber that come down the
rivers from the distant hill-country, and now and then you may see one
of the huts in which the lumber-men live on the voyage.

From the Misericordia it is a short distance to the Fondamenta dei Mori,
at No. 3399 of which is the Casa di Tintoretto, with a relief of the
great painter's head upon it. Here he lived and died. The curious carved
figures on this and the neighbouring house are thought to represent
Morean merchants who once congregated here. Turning up the Campo dei
Mori we come to the great church of the Madonna dell'Orto, where
Tintoretto was buried. It should be visited in the late afternoon,
because the principal reason for seeing it is Tintoretto's
"Presentation," and this lovely picture hangs in a dark chapel which
obtains no light until the sinking sun penetrates its window and falls
on the canvas. To my mind it is one of the most beautiful pictures that
Tintoretto painted--a picture in which all his strength has turned to
sweetness. We have studied Titian's version in the Accademia, where it
has a room practically to itself (see opposite page 36); Tintoretto's is
hung badly and has suffered seriously from age and conditions. Titian's
was painted in 1540; this afterwards, and the painter cheerfully
accepted the standard set by the earlier work. Were I in the position of
that imaginary millionaire whom I have seen in the mind's eye busy in
the loving task of tenderly restoring Venice's most neglected
masterpieces, it is this "Presentation" with which I should begin.


[Illustration: THE PRESENTATION
FROM THE PAINTING BY TINTORETTO
_In the Church of the Madonna dell'Orto_]


The Madonna dell'Orto is not a church much resorted to by visitors, as
it lies far from the beaten track, but one can always find some one to
open it, and as likely as not the sacristan will be seated by the
rampino at the landing steps, awaiting custom.

The church was built in the fourteenth century as a shrine for a figure
of the Madonna, which was dug up in a garden that spread hereabout and
at once performed a number of miracles. On the facade is a noble slab of
porphyry, and here is S. Christopher with his precious burden. The
campanile has a round top and flowers sprout from the masonry. Within,
the chief glory is Tintoretto. His tomb is in the chapel to the right of
the chancel, where hang, on the left, his scene of "The Worship of the
Golden Calf," and opposite it his "Last Judgment".

The "Last Judgment" is one of his Michael-Angelesque works and also one
of his earliest, before he was strong enough or successful enough (often
synonymous states) to be wholly himself. But it was a great effort, and
the rushing cataract is a fine and terrifying idea. "The Worship of the
Golden Calf" is a work interesting not only as a dramatic scriptural
scene full of thoughtful detail, but as containing a portrait of the
painter and his wife. Tintoretto is the most prominent of the calf's
bearers; his Faustina is the woman in blue.

Two very different painters--the placid Cima and the serene Bellini--are
to be seen here too, each happily represented. Cima has a sweet and
gentle altar-piece depicting the Baptist and two saints, and Bellini's
"Madonna and Child" is rich and warm and human. Even the aged and very
rickety sacristan--too tottering perhaps for any reader of the book to
have the chance of seeing--was moved by Bellini. "Bellissima!" he said
again and again, taking snuff the while.

The neighbouring church of S. Marziale is a gay little place famous for
a "Tobias and the Angel" by Titian. This is a cheerful work. Tobias is a
typical and very real Venetian boy, and his dog, a white and brown
mongrel, also peculiarly credible. The chancel interrupts an
"Annunciation," by Tintoretto's son, the angel being on one side and the
Virgin on the other.

And now for the most north-westerly point of the city that I have
reached--the church of S. Giobbe, off the squalid Cannaregio which leads
to Mestre and Treviso. This church, which has, I suppose, the poorest
congregation of all, is dedicated to one of whom I had never before
thought as a saint, although his merits are unmistakable--Job. Its
special distinction is the beautiful chapel of the high altar designed
by the Lombardi (who made S. Maria dei Miracoli) for Doge Cristoforo
Moro to the glory of S. Bernardino of Siena. S. Bernardino is here and
also S. Anthony of Padua and S. Lawrence. At each corner is an exquisite
little figure holding a relief.

On the floor is the noble tombstone of the Doge himself (1462-1471) by
Pietro Lombardi. Moro had a distinguished reign, which saw triumphs
abroad and the introduction of printing into the city; but to the
English he has yet another claim to distinction, and that is that most
probably he was the Moro of Venice whom Shakespeare when writing
_Othello_ assumed to be a Moor.

The church also has a chapel with a Delia Robbia ceiling and sculpture
by Antonio Rossellino. The best picture is by Paris Bordone, a mellow
and rich group of saints.

This book has been so much occupied with the high-ways of Venice--and
far too superficially, I fear--that the by-ways have escaped attention;
and yet the by-ways are the best. The by-ways, however, are for each of
us separately, whereas the high-ways are common property: let that--and
conditions of space--be my excuse. The by-ways must be sought
individually, either straying where one's feet will or on some such
thorough plan as that laid down in Col. Douglas's most admirable book,
_Venice on Foot_. Some of my own unaided discoveries I may mention just
as examples, but there is no real need: as good a harvest is for every
quiet eye.

There is the tiniest medieval cobbler's shop you ever saw under a
staircase in a courtyard reached by the Sotto-portico Secondo Lucatello,
not far from S. Zulian, with a medieval cobbler cobbling in it day and
night. There is a relief of graceful boys on the Rio del Palazzo side of
the Doges' Palace; there is a S. George and Dragon on a building on the
Rio S. Salvatore just behind the Bank of Italy; there is a doorway at
3462 Rio di S. Margherita; there is the Campo S. Maria Mater Domini with
a house on the north side into whose courtyard much ancient sculpture
has been built. There is a yellow palace on the Rio di S. Marina whose
reflection in the water is most beautiful. There is the overhanging
street leading to the Ponte del Paradiso. There is the Campo of S.
Giacomo dell'Orio, which is gained purely by accident, with its church
in the midst and a vast trattoria close by, and beautiful vistas beneath
this sottoportico and that. There are the two ancient chimneys seen from
the lagoon on a house behind Danieli's. There is the lovely Gothic
palace with a doorway and garden seen from the Ponte dell'Erbe--the
Palazzo Van Axel. There is the red palace seen from the Fondamenta
dell'Osmarin next the Ponte del Diavolo. There is in the little calle
leading from the Campo Daniele Manin to the lovely piece of architecture
known as the staircase dal Bovolo--a bovolo being a snail--from its
convolutions. This staircase, which is a remnant of the Contarini palace
and might be a distant relative of the tower of Pisa, is a shining
reproach to the adjacent architecture, some of which is quite new. It is
a miracle of delicacy and charm, and should certainly be sought for. And
above all there is the dancing reflection of the rippling water in the
sun on the under sides of bridges seen from the gondola; and of all the
bridges that give one this effect of gentle restless radiancy none is
better than the Ponte S. Polo.




CHAPTER XXVIII

GIORGIONE

The Palazzo Giovanelli--A lovely picture--A superb innovator--Pictures
for houses--_The Tempest_--Byron's criticism--Giorgione and the
experts--Vasari's estimate--Leonardo da Vinci--The Giorgionesque fire--A
visit to Castel Franco--The besieging children--The Sacristan--A
beautiful altar-piece--Pictures at Padua--Giorgiones still to be
discovered.


It will happen now and then that you will be in your gondola, with the
afternoon before you, and will not have made up your mind where to go.
It is then that I would have you remember the Palazzo Giovanelli. "The
Palazzo Giovanelli, Rio di Noale," say to your gondolier; because this
palace is not only open to the public but it contains the most
sensuously beautiful picture in Venice--Giorgione's "Tempest".
Giorgione, as I have said, is the one transcendentally great Venetian
painter whom it is impossible, for certain, to find in any public
gallery or church in the city of his adoption. There is a romantic scene
at the Seminario next the Salute, an altar-piece in S. Rocco, another
altar-piece in S. Giovanni Crisostomo, in each of which he may have had
a hand. But none of these is Giorgione essential. For the one true work
of this wistful beauty-adoring master we must seek the Palazzo
Giovanelli.

You can enter the palace either from the water, or on foot at the
Salizzada Santa Fosca, No. 2292. A massive custodian greets you and
points to a winding stair. This you ascend and are met by a typical
Venetian man-servant. Of the palace itself, which has been recently
modernized, I have nothing to say. There are both magnificent and pretty
rooms in it, and a little boudoir has a quite charming floor, and
furniture covered in ivory silk. But everything is in my mind
subordinated to the Giorgione: so much so that I have difficulty in
writing that word Giovanelli at all. The pen will trace only the letters
of the painter's name: it is to me the Palazzo Giorgione.

The picture, which I reproduce on the opposite page, is on an easel just
inside a door and you come upon it suddenly. Not that any one could ever
be completely ready for it; but you pass from one room to the next, and
there it is--all green and blue and glory. Remember that Giorgione was
not only a Venetian painter but in some ways the most remarkable and
powerful of them all; remember that his fellow-pupil Titian himself
worshipped his genius and profited by it, and that he even influenced
his master Bellini; and then remember that all the time you have been in
Venice you have seen nothing that was unquestionably authentic and at
the most only three pictures that might be his. It is as though Florence
had but one Botticelli, or London but one Turner, or Madrid but one
Velasquez. And then you turn the corner and find this!


[Illustration: THE TEMPEST
FROM THE PAINTING BY GIORGIONE
_In the Giovanelli Palace_]


The Venetian art that we have hitherto seen has been almost exclusively
the handmaid of religion or the State. At the Ducal Palace we found the
great painters exalting the Doges and the Republic; even the other
picture in Venice which I associate with this for its pure
beauty--Tintoretto's "Bacchus and Ariadne"--was probably an allegory of
Venetian success. In the churches and at the Accademia we have seen the
masters illustrating the Testaments Old and New. All their work has
been for altars or church walls or large public places. We have seen
nothing for a domestic wall but little mannered Longhis, without any
imagination, or topographical Canalettos and Guardis. And then we turn a
corner and are confronted by this!--not only a beautiful picture and a
non-religious picture but a picture painted to hang on a wall.

That was one of Giorgione's innovations: to paint pictures for private
gentlemen. Another, was to paint pictures of sheer loveliness with no
concern either with Scripture or history; and this is one of his
loveliest. It has all kinds of faults--and it is perfect. The drawing is
not too good; the painting is not too good; that broken pillar is both
commonplace and foolish; and yet the work is perfect because a perfect
artist made it. It is beautiful and mysterious and a little sad, all at
once, just as an evening landscape can be, and it is unmistakably the
work of one who felt beauty so deeply that his joyousness left him and
the melancholy that comes of the knowledge of transitoriness took its
place. Hence there is only one word that can adequately describe it and
that is Giorgionesque.

The picture is known variously as "The Tempest," for a thunderstorm is
working up; as "The Soldier and the Gipsy," as "Adrastus and Hypsipyle,"
and as "Giorgione's Family". In the last case the soldier watching the
woman would be the painter himself (who never married) and the woman the
mother of his child. Whatever we call it, the picture remains the same:
profoundly beautiful, profoundly melancholy. A sense of impending
calamity informs it. A lady observing it remarked to me, "Each is
thinking thoughts unknown to the other"; and they are thoughts of
unhappy morrows.

This, the Giovanelli Giorgione, which in 1817 was in the Manfrini palace
and was known as the "Famiglia di Giorgione," was the picture in all
Venice--indeed the picture in all the world--which most delighted Byron.
"To me," he wrote, "there are none like the Venetian--above all,
Giorgione." _Beppo_ has some stanzas on it. Thus:--

    They've pretty faces yet, those same Venetians,
      Black eyes, arched brows, and sweet expressions still
    Such as of old were copied from the Grecians,
      In ancient arts by moderns mimicked ill;
    And like so many Venuses of Titian's
      (The best's at Florence--see it, if ye will),
    They look when leaning over the balcony,
    Or stepped from out a picture by Giorgione,

    Whose tints are Truth and Beauty at their best;
      And when you to Manfrini's palace go,
    That picture (howsoever fine the rest)
      Is loveliest to my mind of all the show;
    It may perhaps be also to _your_ zest
      And that's the cause I rhyme upon it so,
    'Tis but a portrait of his Son and Wife,
    And self, but _such_ a Woman! Love in life;

    Love in full life and length, not love ideal,
      No, nor ideal beauty, that fine name,
    But something better still, so very real,
      That the sweet Model must have been the same;
    A thing that you would purchase, beg, or steal,
      Wer't not impossible, besides a shame;
    The face recalls some face, as 'twere with pain.
    You once have seen, but ne'er will see again;

    One of those forms which flit by us, when we
      Are young, and fix our eyes on every face:
    And, oh! the Loveliness at times we see
      In momentary gliding, the soft grace,
    The Youth, the Bloom, the Beauty which agree,
      In many a nameless being we retrace
    Whose course and home we knew not nor shall know.
    Like the lost Pleiad seen no more below.

The Giovanelli picture is one of the paintings which all the critics
agree to give to Giorgione, from Sir Sidney Colvin in the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_ to the very latest monographer, Signor Lionello Venturi,
whose work, _Giorgione Giorgionismo_, is a monument to the diversity of
expert opinion. Giorgione, short as was his life, lived at any rate for
thirty years and was known near and far as a great painter, and it is to
be presumed that the work that he produced is still somewhere. But
Signor Lionello Venturi reduces his output to the most meagre
dimensions; the conclusion being that wherever his work may be, it is
anywhere but in the pictures that bear his name. The result of this
critic's heavy labours is to reduce the certain Giorgiones to thirteen,
among which is the S. Rocco altar-piece. With great daring he goes on to
say who painted all the others: Sebastian del Piombo this, Andrea
Schiavone that, Romanino another, Titian another, and so forth. It may
be so, but if one reads also the other experts--Sir Sidney Colvin,
Morelli, Justi, the older Venturi, Mr. Berenson, Mr. Charles Ricketts,
Mr. Herbert Cook--one is simply in a whirl. For all differ. Mr. Cook,
for example, is lyrically rapturous about the two Padua panels, of which
more anon, and their authenticity; Mr. Ricketts gives the Pitti
"Concert" and the Caterina Cornaro to Titian without a tremor. Our own
National Gallery "S. Liberate" is not mentioned by some at all; the
Paris "Concert Champetre," in which most of the judges believe so
absolutely, Signor Lionello Venturi gives to Piombo. The Giovanelli
picture and the Castel Franco altar-piece alone remain above suspicion
in every book.

Having visited the Giovanelli Palace, I found myself restless for this
rare spirit, and therefore arranged a little diversion to Castel Franco,
where he was born and where his great altar-piece is preserved.

But first let us look at Giorgione's career. Giorgio Barbarelli was born
at Castel Franco in 1477 or 1478. The name by which we know him
signifies the great Giorgio and was the reward of his personal charm and
unusual genius. Very little is known of his life, Vasari being none too
copious when it comes to the Venetians. What we do know, however, is
that he was very popular, not only with other artists but with the fair,
and in addition to being a great painter was an accomplished musician.
His master was Giovanni Bellini, who in 1494, when we may assume that
Giorgione, being sixteen, was beginning to paint, was approaching
seventy.

Giorgione, says Vasari in an exultant passage, was "so enamoured of
beauty in nature that he cared only to draw from life and to represent
all that was fairest in the world around him". He had seen, says the
same authority, "certain works from the hand of Leonardo which were
painted with extraordinary softness, and thrown into powerful relief, as
is said, by extreme darkness of the shadows, a manner which pleased him
so much that he ever after continued to imitate it, and in oil painting
approached very closely to the excellence of his model. A zealous
admirer of the good in art, Giorgione always selected for representation
the most beautiful objects that he could find, and these he treated in
the most varied manner: he was endowed by nature with highly felicitous
qualities, and gave to all that he painted, whether in oil or fresco, a
degree of life, softness, and harmony (being more particularly
successful in the shadows) which caused all the more eminent artists to
confess that he was born to infuse spirit into the forms of painting,
and they admitted that he copied the freshness of the living form more
exactly than any other painter, not of Venice only, but of all other
places."

Leonardo, who was born in 1452, was Giorgione's senior by a quarter of a
century and one of the greatest names--if not quite the greatest
name--in art when Giorgione was beginning to paint. A story says that
they met when Leonardo was in Venice in 1500. One cannot exactly derive
any of Giorgione's genius from Leonardo, but the fame of the great
Lombardy painter was in the air, and we must remember that his master
Verrocchio, after working in Venice on the Colleoni statue, had died
there in 1488, and that Andrea da Solario, Leonardo's pupil and
imitator, was long in Venice too. Leonardo and Giorgione share a
profound interest in the dangerous and subtly alluring; but the
difference is this, that we feel Leonardo to have been the master of his
romantic emotions, while Giorgione suggests that for himself they could
be too much.

It is not, however, influence upon Giorgione that is most interesting,
but Giorgione's influence upon others. One of his great achievements was
the invention of the _genre_ picture. He was the first lyrical painter:
the first to make a canvas represent a single mood, much as a sonnet
does. He was the first to combine colour and pattern to no other end but
sheer beauty. The picture had a subject, of course, but the subject no
longer mattered. Il fuoco Giorgionesco--the Giorgionesque fire--was the
phrase invented to describe the new wonder he brought into painting. A
comparison of Venetian art before Giorgione and after shows instantly
how this flame kindled. Not only did Giorgione give artists a liberty
they had never enjoyed before, but he enriched their palettes. His
colours burned and glowed. Much of the gorgeousness which we call
Titianesque was born in the brain of Giorgione, Titian's fellow-worker,
and (for Titian's birth date is uncertain: either 1477 or 1487) probably
his senior. You may see the influence at work in our National Gallery:
Nos. 41, 270, 35, and 635 by Titian would probably have been far
different but for Giorgione. So stimulating was Giorgione's genius to
Titian, who was his companion in Bellini's studio, that there are
certain pictures which the critics divide impartially between the two,
chief among them the "Concert" at the Pitti; while together they
decorated the Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the Grand Canal. It is assumed
that Titian finished certain of Giorgione's works when he died in 1510.
The plague which killed Giorgione killed also 20,000 other Venetians,
and sixty-six years later, in another visitation of the scourge, Titian
also died of it.

Castel Franco is five-and-twenty miles from Venice, but there are so few
trains that it is practically a day's excursion there and back. I sat in
the train with four commercial travellers and watched the water give way
to maize, until chancing to look up for a wider view there were the blue
mountains ahead of us, with clouds over them and here and there a patch
of snow. Castel Franco is one of the last cities of the plain;
Browning's Asolo is on the slope above it, only four or five miles away.

The station being reached at last--for even in Italy journeys end--I
rejected the offers of two cabmen, one cabwoman, and one bus driver, and
walked. There was no doubt as to the direction, with the campanile of
the duomo as a beacon. For a quarter of a mile the road is straight and
narrow; then it broadens into an open space and Castel Franco appears.
It is a castle indeed. All the old town is within vast crumbling red
walls built on a mound with a moat around them. Civic zeal has trimmed
the mound into public "grounds," and the moat is lively with ornamental
ducks; while a hundred yards farther rises the white statue of Castel
Franco's greatest son, no other than Giorgione himself, a dashing
cavalier-like gentleman with a brush instead of a rapier. If he were
like this, one can believe the story of his early death--little more
than thirty--which came about through excessive love of a lady, she
having taken the plague and he continuing to visit her.

Having examined the statue I penetrated the ramparts to the little town,
in the midst of which is the church. It was however locked, as a band of
children hastened to tell me: intimating also that if anyone on earth
knew how to effect an entrance they were the little devils in question.
So I was led to a side door, the residence of a fireman, and we pulled a
bell, and in an instant out came the fireman to extinguish whatever was
burning; but on learning my business he instantly became transformed
into the gentlest of sacristans, returned for his key, and led me,
followed by the whole pack of children, by this time greatly augmented,
to a door up some steps on the farther side of the church. The pack was
for coming in too, but a few brief yet sufficient threats from the
sacristan acted so thoroughly that not only did they melt away then but
were not there when I came out--this being in Italy unique as a merciful
disappearance. More than merciful, miraculous, leading one to believe
that Giorgione's picture really has supernatural powers.

The picture is on a wall behind the high altar, curtained. The
fireman-sacristan pulled away the curtain, handed me a pair of opera
glasses and sat down to watch me, a task in which he was joined by
another man and a boy who had been cleaning the church. There they sat,
the three of them, all huddled together, saying nothing, but staring
hard at me (as I could feel) with gimlet eyes; while a few feet distant
I sat too, peering through the glasses at Giorgione's masterpiece, of
which I give a reproduction on the opposite page.

It is very beautiful; it grows more beautiful; but it does not give me
such pleasure as the Giovanelli pastoral. I doubt if Giorgione had the
altar-piece temperament. He was not for churches; and indeed there were
so many brushes for churches, that his need never have been called upon.
He was wholly individual, wistful, pleasure-seeking and
pleasure-missing, conscious of the brevity of life and the elusiveness
of joy; of the earth earthy; a kind of Keats in colour, with, as one
critic--I think Mr. Ricketts--has pointed out, something of Rossetti
too. Left to himself he would have painted only such idylls as the
Giovanelli picture.


[Illustration: ALTAR-PIECE
BY GIORGIONE
_At Castel Franco_]


Yet this altar-piece is very beautiful, and, as I say, it grows more
beautiful as you look at it, even under such conditions as I endured,
and even after much restoration. The lines and pattern are Giorgione's,
howsoever the re-painter may have toiled. The two saints are so kind and
reasonable (and never let it be forgotten that we may have, in our
National Gallery, one of the studies for S. Liberale), and so simple and
natural in their movements and position; the Madonna is at once so sweet
and so little of a mother; the landscape on the right is so very
Giorgionesque, with all the right ingredients--the sea, the glade, the
lovers, and the glow. If anything disappoints it is the general colour
scheme, and in a Giorgione for that to disappoint is amazing. Let us
then blame the re-painter. The influence of Giovanni Bellini in the
arrangement is undoubtable; but the painting was Giorgione's own and his
the extra touch of humanity.

Another day I went as far afield as Padua, also with Giorgione in mind,
for Baedeker, I noticed, gives one of his pictures there a star. Of
Padua I want to write much, but here, at this moment, Giotto being
forgotten, it is merely as a casket containing two (or more) Giorgiones
that the city exists. From Venice it is distant half an hour by fast
trains, or by way of Fusina, two hours. I went on the occasion of this
Giorgione pilgrimage by fast train, and returned in the little tram to
Fusina and so, across the lagoon, into Venice, with the sun behind me,
and the red bricks of Venice flinging it back.

The picture gallery at Padua is crowded with pictures of saints and the
Madonna, few of them very good. But that is of no moment, since it has
also three isolated screens, upon each of which is inscribed the magic
name. The three screens carry four pictures--two long and narrow,
evidently panels from a cassone; the others quite small. The best is No.
50, one of the two long narrow panels which together purport to
represent the story of Adonis and Erys but do not take the duty of
historian very seriously. Both are lovely, with a mellow sunset lighting
the scene. Here and there in the glorious landscape occurs a nymph, the
naked flesh of whom burns with the reflected fire; here and there are
lovers, and among the darkling trees beholders of the old romance. The
picture remains in the vision much as rich autumnal prospects can.

The other screen is more popular because the lower picture on it yet
again shows us Leda and her uncomfortable paramour--that favourite
mythological legend. The little pictures are not equal to the larger
ones, and No. 50 is by far the best, but all are beautiful, and all are
exotics here. Do you suppose, however, that Signor Lionello Venturi will
allow Giorgione to have painted a stroke to them? Not a bit of it. They
come under the head of Giorgionismo. The little ones, according to him,
are the work of Anonimo; the larger ones were painted by Romanino. But
whether or not Giorgione painted any or all, the irrefutable fact
remains that but for his genius and influence they would never have
existed. He showed the way. The eyes of that beautiful sad pagan shine
wistfully through.

According to Vasari, Giorgione, like his master Bellini, painted the
Doge Leonardo Loredan, but the picture, where is it? And where are
others mentioned by Vasari and Ridolfi? So fervid a lover of nature and
his art must have painted much; yet there is but little left now. Can
there be discoveries of Giorgiones still to be made? One wonders that it
is possible for any of the glowing things from that hand to lie hidden:
their colours should burn through any accumulation of rubbish, and now
and then their pulses be heard.




CHAPTER XXIX AND LAST

ISLAND AFTERNOONS' ENTERTAINMENTS. II: S. LAZZARO AND CHIOGGIA

An Armenian monastery--The black beards--An attractive cicerone--The
refectory--Byron's Armenian studies--A little museum--A pleasant
library--Tireless enthusiasm--The garden--Old age--The two
campanili--Armenian proverbs--Chioggia--An amphibious town--The
repulsiveness of roads--The return voyage--Porto Secco--Malamocco--An
evening scene--The end.


As one approaches the Lido from Venice one passes on the right two
islands. The first is a grim enough colony, for thither are the male
lunatics of Venice deported; but the second, with a graceful eastern
campanile or minaret, a cool garden and warm red buildings, is alluring
and serene, being no other than the island of S. Lazzaro, on which is
situated the monastery of the Armenian Mechitarists, a little company of
scholarly monks who collect old MSS, translate, edit and print their
learned lucubrations, and instruct the young in religion and theology.
Furthermore, the island is famous in our literature for having afforded
Lord Byron a refuge, when, after too deep a draught of worldly
beguilements, he decided to become a serious recluse, and for a brief
while buried himself here, studied Armenian, and made a few
translations: enough at any rate to provide himself with a cloistral
interlude on which he might ever after reflect with pride and the
wistful backward look of a born scholiast to whom the fates had been
unkind.

According to a little history of the island which one of the brothers
has written, S. Lazzaro was once a leper settlement. Then it fell into
disuse, and in 1717 an Armenian monk of substance, one Mekhitar of
Sebaste, was permitted to purchase it and here surround himself with
companions. Since then the life of the little community has been easy
and tranquil.

The extremely welcome visitor is received at the island stairs by a
porter in uniform and led by him along the sunny cloisters and their
very green garden to a waiting-room hung thickly with modern paintings:
indifferent Madonnas and views of the city and the lagoon. By and by in
comes a black-bearded father, in a cassock. All the Mechitarists, it
seems, have black beards and cassocks and wide-brimmed beavers; and the
young seminarists, whom one meets now and then in little bunches in
Venice, are broad-brimmed, black-coated, and give promise of being hairy
too. The father, who is genial and smiling, asks if we understand
French, and deploring the difficulty of the English language, which has
so many ways of pronouncing a single termination, whereas the Armenian
never exceeds one, leads the way.

The first thing to admire is the garden once more, with its verdant
cedars of Lebanon and a Judas-tree bent beneath its blood. On a seat in
the midst another bearded father beneath a wide hat is reading a proof.
And through the leaves the sunlight is splashing on the cloisters,
pillars, and white walls.


[Illustration: THE ARMENIAN MONASTERY AND THE LAGOON]


The refectory is a long and rather sombre room. Here, says the little
guide-book to the island, prepared by one of the fathers who had
overcome most of the difficulties of our tongue, "before sitting down to
dine grace is said in common; the president recites some prayer, two of
the scholars recite a psalm, the Lord's prayer is repeated and the meal
is despatched in silence. In the meantime one of the novices appears in
the pulpit and reads first a lesson from the Bible, and then another
from some other book. The meal finished, the president rings a bell, the
reader retires to dine, the Community rises, they give thanks and retire
to the garden."

Next upstairs. We are taken first to the room which was Byron's, where
the visitors' book is kept. I looked from the window to see upon what
prospect those sated eyes could fall, and found that immediately
opposite is now the huge Excelsior Hotel of the Lido. In Byron's day the
Lido was a waste, for bathing had hardly been invented. The reverence in
which the name and memory of his lordship are still held suggests that
he took in the simple brothers very thoroughly. Not only have they his
portrait and the very table at which he sat, but his pens, inkstand, and
knife. His own letters on his refuge are interesting. Writing to Moore
in 1816 he says: "By way of divertisement, I am studying daily, at an
Armenian monastery, the Armenian language. I found that my mind wanted
something craggy to break upon; and this--as the most difficult thing I
could discover here for an amusement--I have chosen, to torture me into
attention. It is a rich language, however, and would amply repay any one
the trouble of learning it. I try, and shall go on; but I answer for
nothing, least of all for my intentions or my success." He made a few
metrical translations into Armenian, but his principal task was to help
with an English and Armenian grammar, for which, when it was ready, he
wrote a preface. Byron usually came to the monastery only for the day,
but there was a bedroom for him which he occasionally occupied. The
superior, he says, had a "beard like a meteor." A brother who was there
at the time and survived till the seventies told a visitor that his
"Lordship was as handsome as a saint."

In the lobby adjoining Byron's room are cases of autographs and
photographs of distinguished visitors, such as Mr. Howells, Longfellow,
Ruskin, Gladstone, King Edward VII when Prince of Wales, and so forth.
Also a holograph sonnet on the monastery by Bryant. Elsewhere are
various curiosities--dolls dressed in national costumes, medals,
Egyptian relics, and so forth. In one case is some manna which actually
fell from the skies in Armenia during a famine in 1833.

The chief room of the library contains not only its priceless MSS., but
a famous mummy which the experts put at anything from 2200 to 3500 years
old. Another precious possession is a Buddhist ritual on papyrus, which
an Armenian wandering in Madras discovered and secured. The earliest
manuscript dates from the twelfth century. In a central case are
illuminated books and some beautiful bindings; and I must put on record
that if ever there was a cicerone who displayed no weariness and
disdained merely mechanical interest in exhibiting for the thousandth
time his treasures, it is Father Vardan Hatzouni. But the room is so
pleasant that, were it not that one enjoys such enthusiasm and likes to
stimulate it by questions, it would be good merely to be in it without
too curiously examining its possessions.

Downstairs is a rather frigid little church, where an embroidered cloth
is shown, presented by Queen Margherita. The S. Lazzaro Armenians, I may
say, seem always to have attracted gifts, one of their great benefactors
being Napoleon III. They are so simple and earnest and unobtrusive--and,
I am sure, grateful--that perhaps it is natural to feel generous
towards them.

Finally we were shown to the printing-room, on our way to which, along
the cloisters from the church, we passed through a group of elderly
monks, cheerfully smoking and gossiping, who rose and made the most
courtly salutation. Here we saw the printing-presses, some of English
make, and then the books that these presses turn out. Two of these I
bought--the little pamphlet from which I have already quoted and a
collection of Armenian proverbs translated into English.

The garden is spreading and very inviting, and no sooner were we outside
the door than Father Hatzouni returned to some horticultural pursuit.
The walks are long and shady and the lagoon is lovely from every point;
and Venice is at once within a few minutes and as remote as a star.

In the garden is an enclosure for cows and poultry, and the little
burial-ground where the good Mechitarists are laid to rest when their
placid life is done. Among them is the famous poet of the community, the
Reverend Father Gonidas Pakraduni, who translated into Armenian both the
_Iliad_ and _Paradise Lost_, as well as writing epics of his own. The
_Paradise Lost_ is dedicated to Queen Victoria. Some of the brothers
have lived to a very great age, and Mr. Howells in his delightful
account of a visit to this island tells of one, George Karabagiak, who
survived until he was 108 and died in September, 1863. Life, it seems,
can be too long; for having an illness in the preceding August, from
which he recovered, the centenarian remarked sadly to one of his
friends, "I fear that God has abandoned me and I shall live." Being
asked how he was, when his end was really imminent, he replied "Well,"
and died.

As we came away we saw over the wall of the playground the heads of a
few black-haired boys, embryo priests; but they wore an air of gravity
beyond their years. The future perhaps bears on them not lightly. They
were not romping or shouting, nor were any in the water; and just below,
at the edge of the sea, well within view and stone range, I noticed an
empty bottle on its end, glistening in the sun. Think of so alluring a
target disregarded and unbroken by an English school!

The returning gondola passes under the walls of the male madhouse. Just
before reaching this melancholy island there is a spot at which it is
possible still to realize what Venice was like when S. Mark's campanile
fell, for one has the S. Giorgio campanile and this other so completely
in line that S. Georgio's alone is visible.

Some of the Armenian proverbs are very shrewd and all have a flavour of
their own. Here are a few:--

"What can the rose do in the sea, and the violet before the fire?"

"The mother who has a daughter always has a hand in her purse."

"Every one places wood under his own pot."

"The day can dawn without the cock's crowing."

"If you cannot become rich, become the neighbour of a rich man."

"Our dog is so good that the fox has pupped in our poultry house."

"One day the ass began to bray. They said to him: 'What a beautiful
voice!' Since then he always brays."

"Whether I eat or not I shall have the fever, so better eat and have the
fever."

"The sermon of a poor priest is not heard."

"When he rides a horse, he forgets God; when he comes down from the
horse, he forgets the horse."

"Dine with thy friend, but do no business with him."

"To a bald head a golden comb."

"Choose your consort with the eyes of an old man, and choose your horse
with the eyes of a young man."

"A good girl is worth more than seven boys."

"When you are in town, if you observe that people wear the hat on one
side, wear yours likewise."

"The fox's last hole is the furrier's shop."

"The Kurd asked the barber: 'Is my hair white or black?' The other
answered him: 'I will put it before you, and you will see'."

"He who mounts an ass, has one shame; he who falls from it, has two."

"Be learned, but be taken for a fool."

Of a grumbler: "Every one's grain grows straight; mine grows crooked."

Of an impatient man: "He feeds the hen with one hand and with the other
he looks for her eggs."

I have not printed these exactly as they appear in the little pamphlet,
because one has only to turn one page to realize that what the S.
Lazzaro press most needs is a proof-reader.

I said at the beginning of this book that the perfect way to approach
Venice for the first time is from Chioggia. But that is not too easy.
What, however, is quite easy is to visit Chioggia from Venice and then,
returning, catch some of the beauty--without, however, all the surprise
and wonder--of that approach.

Steamers leave the Riva, opposite Danieli's, every two hours. They take
their easy way up the lagoon towards the Lido for a little while, and
then turn off to the right, always keeping in the enclosed channel, for
eighteen miles. I took the two o'clock boat on a hot day and am not
ashamed to confess that upon the outward voyage I converted it (as
indeed did almost everybody else) into a dormitory. But Chioggia
awakened me, and upon the voyage back I missed, I think, nothing.

Choggia is amphibious. Parallel with its broad main street, with an
arcade and cafes under awnings on one side, and in the roadway such
weird and unfamiliar objects as vehicles drawn by horses, and even
motor-cars noisy and fussy, is a long canal packed with orange-sailed
fishing boats and crossed by many little bridges and one superb broad
white one. All the men fish; all the women and children sit in the
little side streets, making lace, knitting, and stringing beads. Beside
this canal the dirt is abnormal, but it carries with it the usual
alleviation of extreme picturesqueness, so that Chioggia is always
artist-ridden.

The steamer gives you an hour in which to drift about in the sunshine
and meditate upon the inferiority of any material other than water for
the macadamizing of roads. There are sights too: Carpaccio's very last
picture, painted in 1520, in S. Domenico; a Corso Vittorio Emmanuele; a
cathedral; a Giardino Pubblico; and an attractive stone parapet with a
famous Madonna on it revered by fishermen and sailors. The town is
historically important, for was not the decisive battle of Chioggia
fought here in 1379 between the Venetians and their ancient enemies the
Genoese?

But I cannot pretend that Chioggia is to my taste. To come to it on the
journey to Venice, knowing what is in store, might put one in a mood to
forgive its earthy situation and earthy ways; but when, all in love with
water, one visits it from Venice, one resents the sound and sight of
traffic, the absence of gondolas, and the presence of heat unalleviated.

At five o'clock, punctually to the minute, the steamer leaves the quay
and breaks the stillness of the placid lagoon. A few fishing boats are
dotted about, one of them with sails of yellow and blue, as lovely as a
Chinese rug; others the deep red that Clara Montalba has reproduced so
charmingly; and a few with crosses or other religious symbols. The boat
quickly passes the mouth of the Chioggia harbour, the third spot at
which the long thread of land which divides the lagoon from the Adriatic
is pierced, and then makes for Palestrina, surely the narrowest town on
earth, with a narrower walled cemetery just outside, old boats decaying
on the shore, and the skin of naked boys who frolic at the water's edge
glowing in the declining sun. Never were such sun-traps as these strips
of towns along this island bank, only a few inches above sea level and
swept by every wind that blows.

Hugging the coast, which is fringed with tamarisk and an occasional
shumac, we come next to Porto Secco, another tiny settlement among
vegetable gardens. Its gay church, yellow washed, with a green door and
three saints on the roof, we can see inverted in the water, so still is
it, until our gentle wash blurs all. Porto Secco's front is all pinks
and yellows, reds, ochres, and white; and the sun is now so low that the
steamer's shadow creeps along these facades, keeping step with the boat.
More market gardens, and then the next mouth of the harbour, (known as
Malamocco, although Malamocco town is still distant), with a coastguard
station, a fort, acres of coal and other signs of militancy on the
farther side. It is here that the Lido proper begins and the island
broadens out into meadows.

At the fort pier we are kept waiting for ten minutes while a live duck
submits to be weighed for fiscal purposes, and the delay gives an old
man with razor-fish a chance to sell several pennyworths. By this time
the sun is very near the horizon, setting in a roseate sky over a lagoon
of jade. There is not a ripple. The tide is very low. Sea birds fleck
with white the vast fields of mud. The peacefulness of it all under such
unearthly beauty is almost disquieting.

Next comes Malamocco itself, of which not much is seen but a little
campo--almost an English village green--by the pier, and children
playing on it. Yet three thousand people live here, chiefly growers of
melons, tomatoes, and all the picturesque vegetables which are heaped up
on the bank of the Grand Canal in the Rialto market and are carried to
Venice in boats day after day for ever.

Malamocco was a seat of ducal government when Venice was only a village,
and not until the seventh century did the honours pass to Venice: hence
a certain alleged sense of superiority on the part of the Malamoccans,
although not only has the original Malamocco but the island on which it
was built disappeared beneath the tide. Popilia too, a city once also of
some importance, is now the almost deserted island of Poveglia which we
pass just after leaving Malamocco, as we steam along that splendid wide
high-way direct to Venice--between the mud-flats and the sea-mews and
those countless groups of piles marking the channel, which always
resemble bunches of giant asparagus and sometimes seem to be little
companies of drowning people who have sworn to die together.


[Illustration: FROM THE DOGANA AT NIGHT]


Here we overtake boats on the way to the Rialto market, some hastening
with oars, others allowing their yellow sails to do the work, heaped
high with vegetables and fruit. Just off the mud the sardine catchers
are at work, waist high in the water.

The sun has now gone, the sky is burning brighter and brighter, and
Venice is to be seen: either between her islands or peeping over them.
S. Spirito, now a powder magazine, we pass, and S. Clemente, with its
barrack-like red buildings, once a convent and now a refuge for poor mad
women, and then La Grazia, where the consumptives are sent, and so we
enter the narrow way between the Giudecca and S. Giorgio Maggiore, on
the other side of which Venice awaits us in all her twilight loveliness.
And disembarking we are glad to be at home again. For even an
afternoon's absence is like an act of treachery.

And here, re-entering Venice in the way in which, in the first chapter,
I advised all travellers to get their first sight of her, I come to an
end, only too conscious of how ridiculous is the attempt to write a
single book on this city. Where many books could not exhaust the theme,
what chance has only one? At most it can say and say again (like "all of
the singing") how it was good!

Venice needs a whole library to describe her: a book on her churches and
a book on her palaces; a book on her painters and a book on her
sculptors; a book on her old families and a book on her new; a book on
her builders and a book on her bridges; a book--but why go on? The fact
is self-evident.

Yet there is something that a single book can do: it can testify to
delight received and endeavour to kindle an enthusiasm in others; and
that I may perhaps have done.




INDEX


    Accademia, the, 98, 168.

    Adriatic espousals, 27, 54, 161, 263.

    Alberghetti, 75.

    Albrizzi, Countess, and Byron, 132.

    Alexander III., Pope, 18, 53, 54.

    Americans, 65, 259.

    _Amleto_, performance of, 163.

    Animals, 250.

    Architects, Venetian, 93.

    Armenian monastery, 299.

    Armenian proverbs, 304.

    Arsenal, the, 166, 263.

    Artists, modern, 14, 272, 276, 306.

    Austrian rule in Venice, 12, 13, 106-107, 162.

    Austrian tourists, 13, 32.


    Barbarigo, Cardinal Gregorio, 125, 147.

    Barbarigo, Pietro, Patriarch of Venice, 97.

    Barbaro, Marc Antonio, 147.

    Basaiti, pictures by, 96, 154, 169, 172, 190.

    Bathing, 268.

    Bead-workers, 202.

    Beauharnais, Eugene, Prince of Venice, 12.

    Beerbohm, Max, 104.

    Bellini, Gentile, pictures by, 10, 51, 257.
      his "Holy Cross" pictures, 179-180.
      his S. Lorenzo Giustinian, 180.
      his tomb, 256.

    Bellini, Giovanni, pictures by, 50, 51, 63, 118, 125, 154, 169, 172,
    192, 193, 203, 208, 215, 219, 224, 249, 259, 283.
      his "Agony," 169.
      his "Loredano," 169.
      his "Peter Martyr," 169.
      his career, 190.
      and the Venetian School, 193.
      his last picture, 224.
      his tomb, 256.

    Bellotto, Bernardo, _see_ Canaletto.

    Benedict, S., his life in panels, 200.

    Benzoni, Countess, and Byron, 138, 139.

    _Beppo_, Byron's, 134, 290.

    Berri, Duchesse de, in Venice, 122.

    Bissolo, picture by, 173.

    Boccaccini, Boccaccio, picture by, 190.

    Bon, Bartolommeo, 73, 232.

    Bon, Giovanni, 73.

    Bon, Pacifico, his tomb, 251.

    Bonconsiglio, picture by, 170.

    Boni, Giacomo, 86.

    Bonington in Venice, 272.
      picture by, 273.

    Book-shops, 229.

    Bordone, Paris, his "Fisherman and Doge," 177.
      picture by, 284.

    Bovolo staircase, 285.

    Bowls, 226.

    Bragadino, his career, 257.
      his tomb, 257.

    Brangwyn, Frank, picture by, 114.

    Bridge of Boats, the, 203.

    Bridge of Sighs, _see_ Doges' Palace.

    Bronson, Mrs. Arthur, on Browning, 107, 140.

    Browning, Robert, in Venice, 98, 99, 100.
      his funeral service, 102.
      his love of Venice, 103.
      and the Lido, 140.
      and the Colleoni statue, 256.
      on Venice, 275.

    Browning, and the Zattere, 274.

    Browning, Mrs., on Venice, 100.

    Brule, Albert de, his carvings, 200, 201.

    Bruno, Giordano, in Venice, 143.

    Bucintoro, the, 263.
      yacht club, 149.

    Buono of Malamocco, 8.

    Burano, the journey to, 157.
      its charm and dirt, 158.
      the Scuola Merletti, 158.
      on Venice, 63.

    Byron, in Venice, 112, 128, 129.
      his _Beppo_, 134.
      on gondolas, 134.
      his Venetian life, 137.
      and the Lido, 137.
      his _Marino Faliero_, 138.
      his _Two Foscari_, 138.
      Shelley visits, 139.
      his _Julian and Maddalo_, 139.
      on Giorgione's "Tempest," 290.
      and S. Lazzaro, 299.

    Byways of Venice, the, 284.


    Cabots, the, 77.

    Cafes, 34, 38.

    Calendario, 59.

    Calli, narrow, 101.

    Campanile of S. Mark, the, 43.
      lift, 43.
      golden angel, 43.
      bells, 44, 265.
      view from, 44.

    Campaniles, 42, 43, 98, 165, 189, 197, 283.

    Campo Daniele Manin, 285.

    Campo Morosoni, 165.

    Campo S. Bartolommeo, 221.

    Campo S. Giacomo dell'Orio, 285.

    Campo S. Margharita, 196.

    Campo S. Maria Formosa, 280.

    Campo S. Maria Mater Domini, 285.

    Campo Santo, 152.

    Campos, their characteristics, 221.

    Canal, the Grand, 91-150.

    Canal, di S. Marco, 195.

    Canals, filled in, 226.

    Canaletto, his career, 188.
      pictures by, 5, 68, 118, 187, 207.

    Canova, 77.
      his "St. George," 68.
      works by, 118, 252.
      his early studies, 127.
      his career, 248.
      his tomb, 248.

    Caracci, picture by, 281.

    Caravaggio, picture by, 190.

    Carlo, A., his guide to Venice, 4, 134.

    Carmagnola, 64.

    Carpaccio, pictures by, 62, 73, 113, 117, 146, 172.
      his "Santo Croce" picture, 180.
      his S. Ursula pictures, 182.
      his career, 184.
      Ruskin on, 184.
      his pictures, at S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, 210.
      his last picture, 306.

    Casanova, Jacques, in Venice, 75, 162.

    Castel Franco, 294.

    Castello, island of, 267.

    Cat, the Frari, 250.

    Catena, pictures by, 169, 190.

    _Childe Harold_, Venice in, 136.

    Children, Venetian, 26, 39, 120, 227, 245, 295.

    Chimneys, old, 96, 97, 285.

    Chioggia, 306.

    Churches, origin of some, 28.
      Venice approached from, 1, 307.
      the most comfortable, 165, 245.

    Churches:
      SS. Apostoli, 225.
      S. Bartolommeo, 221.
      S. Donato (Murano), 155.
      S. Eustachio, 115.
      S. Fosca (Torcello), 160.
      S. Francesco della Vigna, 214.
        its campanile, 42.
      S. Geremia, 119.
      Gesuati, 271.
      S. Giacomo di Rialto, 227.
      S. Giobbe, 284.
      S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, 180, 210.
      S. Giorgio Maggiore, its campanile, 42, 189.
        its pictures, 168.
        its panels, 200.
      S. Giovanni Crisostomo, 224.
      S. Giovanni Elemosinario, 229.
      S. Giovanni in Bragora, 209.
      S. Giovanni e Paolo, 254.
      S. Giuliano, 219.
      S. Gregorio, abbey of, 96.
      Madonna dell'Orto, 282.
      S. Marcuola, 121.
      S. Margiala, 284.
      S. Maria della Carita, 98.
      S. Maria del Carmine, 277.
      S. Maria Formosa, 280.
      S. Maria del Giglio, 147, 164.
      S. Maria dei Miracoli, 279.
      S. Maria della Salute, 95.
      Misericordia, 281.
      S. Moise, 162.
      S. Pietro in Castello, campanile, 43.
      S. Pietro Martire (Murano), 154.
      Redentore, 203.
      S. Rocco, 231, 244.
      S. Salvatore, 49.
      Scalzi, 119.
      S. Sebastiano, 275.
      S. Stefano, 165.
      S. Theodore, 9.
      S. Trovaso, 274.
      S. Vio, 97.
      S. Vitale, 146.
      S. Zaccaria, 207.
      S. Zobenigo, 164.
      S. Zulian, 285.

    Cigharillo, Gianbettino, his "Death of Rachel," 187.

    Cima, pictures by, 125, 172, 190, 209, 261, 277, 283.

    Clement XIII, Pope, 103.
      his birthplace, 123.

    Clemente, S., island of, 309.
      Shelley at, 141.

    Cloisters, 165.

    Cobbler's shop, a, 285.

    Colleoni, Bartolommeo, his career, 255.
      his statue, 21, 151, 255, 262, 273.

    Concert barges, the, 195.

    Constantinople, the expedition to, 56.

    Contarini, Pietro, 124.

    Conti, Niccolo, 75.

    Cooper, Fenimore, in Venice, 127.

    Corner, Catherine, Queen of Cyprus, 76, 114, 147, 180, 220.

    Correr, Teodoro, 118.

    Coryat, Thomas, on the Pietra del Bando, 15.
      on the Acre columns, 16.
      on absence of horses, 21.
      on bronze wells, 75.
      on Loggetta, 86.
      on palace balconies, 148.
      on prison, 207.
      on Merceria giants, 219.
      on Bragadino monument, 257.

    Council of Ten, the, 50.

    Credi, di, picture by, 281.

    Custodians, 52, 60, 85.

    Cyprus, the acquirement of, 147.

    Cyprus, Queen of, _see_ Corner, Catherine.


    Danieli's Hotel, 104, 207, 272.

    D'Annunzio, his _Il Fuoco_, 122.

    Dante, 77.

    Desdemona, the house of, 148.

    Dickens, Charles, on Venice, 5.

    Dogana, the, 94, 270.

    Doge and Fisherman, the story of, 177.

    Doges, the, 46.
      incorrigibly municipal, 46.

    Doges:
      Barbarigo, Agostino, 96,147.
      Barbarigo, Marco, 147.
      Contarini, Alvise, his tomb, 216.
      Contarini, Francesco, his tomb, 216.
      Corner, Marco, his tomb, 258.
      Dandolo, Andrea, 28, 58, 77, 80.
      Dandolo, Enrico, 21, 36, 53, 54, 166.
      Donato, Francesco, 49.
      Faliero, Marino, 58, 225.
      Foscari, Francesco, 73.
        his tomb, 251.
        his career, 252.
      Grimani, 47.
      Gritti, Andrea, 49, 62, 81
        his tomb, 216.
      Giustinian, Marcantonio, 166.
      Giustinian, Partecipazio, 60.
      Lando, Pietro, 50.
      Loredano, Leonardo, 50.
        painted by Bellini, 169.
        his tomb, 258.
        painted by Giorgione, 298.
      Loredano, Pietro, 50, 61.
      Malipiero, Pasquale, his tomb, 260.
      Manin, Lodovico, 11, 61.
      Marcello, Niccolo, his tomb, 261.
      Michiel, Domenico, 156.
      Michiel, Vitale, 53, 104.
      Mocenigo, Alvise, 49, 243.
        his tomb, 256.
      Mocenigo, Giovanni, his tomb, 257.
      Mocenigo, Pietro, his tomb, 257.
      Mocenigo, Tommaso, 67.
        his career, 260.
        his tomb, 260.
      Moro, Cristoforo, the original of Othello, 284.
        his tomb, 284.
      Morosini, Francesco, his career, 165.
        his death, 166.
        his tomb, 165.
      Morosini, Michele, his tomb, 258.
      Oberelio, Antenorio, 59.
      Oberelio, Beato, 59.
      Partecipazio, Angelo, 59.
      Partecipazio, Giovanni, 60.
      Partecipazio, Giustiniano, 7.
      Pesaro, Giovanni, his tomb, 250.
      Ponte, Niccolo da, 49.
      Priuli, Girolamo, 60.
        his tomb, 220.
      Priuli, Lorenzo, his tomb, 220.
      Steno, Michele, his tomb, 260.
      Tiepolo, Jacopo, his tomb, 256.
      Tiepolo, Lorenzo, his tomb, 256.
      Trevisan, Marc Antonio, 50.
        his tomb, 216.
      Tron, Niccolo, his career, 252.
        his tomb, 252.
      Valier, Bertucci, his tomb, 257.
      Valier, Silvestro, his tomb, 258.
      Vendramin, Andrea, his tomb, 258.
      Venier, Antonio, his tomb, 259.
      Venier, Francesco, 75.
        his tomb, 220.
      Venier, Sebastiano, 49, 51.
        his career, 158.
        his tomb, 258.
      Ziani, Sebastiano, 53.

    Doges' Palace, the, 15, 16, 46.
      Scala d'Oro, 47.
      Sala delle Quattro Porte, 47, 50.
      Sala del Collegio, 49.
      Bocca di Leone, 50.
      Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci, 50.
      Sala del Senato, 50, 67.
      Sala del Maggior Consiglio, 51, 60, 67, 68.
      Sala dello Scrutinio, 61.
      Archaeological museum, 62.
      Bridge of Sighs, 63, 136, 137.
      the cells, 63.
        Shelley on, 142.
      its history, 66.
      its building, 66, 67.
      Giants' Stairs, 67, 74.
      the carved capitals, 68.
      Porta della Carta, 73, 74, 76.
      courtyard, 74.
      its restoration, 198.

    D'Oggiano, Marco, picture by, 94.

    Dona dalle Rose, Count Antonio, 125.

    Donato, S., his body brought to Murano, 156.

    Douglas, Col., his _Venice on Foot_, 218, 285.

    Duerer on Bellini, 181

    Duse, Eleanora, 97.


    English travellers, Byron and, 138.

    Erberia, the, 228.


    Faliero Conspiracy, the, 49.

    Fantin-Latour, picture by, 114.

    Favretto, 114.

    Fenice Theatre, the, 132, 162.

    Ferdinando, gondolier, 87.

    Fildes, Luke, his Venetian pictures, 273.

    Fiore, Jacobello del, pictures by, 62, 160.

    Fireworks, Venetian, 197.

    Fish, 40, 229.

    Fish-market, 113, 229.

    Flagstaffs, the Piazza, 256.

    Flanhault, Mme. de, and Byron, 130.

    Florian's, 31, 32, 38.

    Football match, a, 265.

    Foscari, Jacopo, 64.

    Foscarini, Antonio, 64.

    Foscolo, Ugo, 76.

    France, Anatole, 8.

    Francesca, Pietro della, picture by, 190.

    Francesco, S., in Deserto, island, 158.

    Franchetti, Baron, 124.

    Franchetti family, 146.

    Frari church, the exterior, 245.
      the campanile, 42, 43.
      Titian's tomb, 246.
      Canova's tomb, 248.

    Frederick Barbarossa, Emperor, 18, 53, 54.

    French occupation, 137.

    Frezzeria, Byron in the, 130, 162.

    Fruit in Venice, 40.

    Fruit-market, _see_ Erberia.

    Funeral, a, 208.

    Fusina, Venice approached from, 2, 297.


    Galileo, autograph of, 77, 84.

    Gardens, 97, 143, 202, 215.

    Garibaldi statue, 264.

    Genoa, the war with, 58.

    George, S., the story of, 211.

    Germans in Venice, 268.

    Giambono, pictures by, 170.

    Giardinetto Infantile, 123.

    Giardini Pubblici, 12, 105, 264.

    Giordano, Luca, picture by, 96.

    Giorgio Maggiore, S., 197.

    Giorgione, pictures by, 94, 123, 127, 224, 244, 281, 287.
      and Titian, 247, 294.
      his "Tempest," 287.
      his innovations, 289, 298.
      and the attributors, 291.
      his career, 292.
      his statue, 295.
      his masterpiece, 296.

    Giudecca, the, 202.

    Giustiniani, Marco, 61.

    Giustiniani, Niccolo, 104.

    Giustiniani, family, 104, 215.

    Glass-making at Murano, 152.

    Gobbo, the, 228.

    Goethe, in Venice, 106.

    Goldoni, 77.
      autograph of, 84.
      his statue, 101, 220.
      Browning on, 101.
      his plays, 220.
      his _Autobiography_ 221.
      room at the Museo Civico, the, 117.
      Theatre, _Hamlet_ at the, 163.

    Gondolas, Byron on, 134.
      Shelley on, 141.

    Gondoliers, 33, 87.
      Wagner on, 108.
      their folk-song, 108.
      Howells on, 144.
      battles between, 281.

    Gosse, Mr. Edmund, 104.

    Gramophone, a, 196.

    Grossi, Alessandro, gondolier, 87.

    Grimani, Cardinal, 63.

    Grimani, Count, 41.

    Grimani, Breviary, 84.

    Guardi, Francesco, his career, 189.
      his "Dogana," 187.

    Guardi, Francesco, pictures of, 38, 68, 96, 116, 149, 189.

    Guariento, fresco by, 51.

    Guides, 17, 259.


    "Hamlet" in Venice, 163.

    Harding, J.D., his Venetian pictures, 273.

    Hatzouni, Fr. Vardan, 302.

    Helena, S., her life, 266.

    Henri III of France in Venice, 109.

    Henri IV, his armour, 263.

    Hohenlohe, Prince, his palace, 147.

    Honeymooners, 32, 195.

    Hoppner on Byron in Venice, 137.

    Horses, absence of, 21.
      the golden, 10, 21, 57.

    House moving, a, 274.

    Houses, desirable, 96, 204, 205.

    Howells, W.D., in Venice, 104, 144, 221.
      his _Venetian Life_, 144.
      on gondoliers, 144.
      on Venice, 204, 264.
      on campos, 221.
      on S. Lazzaro, 303.


    Ibsen and Browning, 103.


    James, G.P.R., buried in Venice, 152.

    Jerome, S., and the lion, 213, 215.

    Jews in Venice, 227.

    Joseph II, Emperor, 103, 115.


    Lace making at Burano, 158.

    Lavery, John, picture by, 114.

    Layard, Sir Henry, in Venice, 111.

    Lazzaro, S., 299.
      Byron at, 130, 299, 301.
      its history, 300.
      visitors to, 302.
      the printing-room, 303.

    "Leda and the Swan," 63, 298.

    La Grazia, Island of, 309.

    Leopardi, autograph of, 84.

    Lewis, "Monk," visits Byron in Venice, 136.

    Liberi, Pietro, picture by, 61.

    Library, the Old, 80, 149.

    Library, S. Mark's, 84.

    Lido, the, bathing at, 14, 15, 267.
      Browning at, 101, 102, 140.
      Byron at, 137, 139.
      Shelley at, 139.
      Clara Shelley's, grave, 141.
      the aquarium, 229.

    Lion column, the, 54, 79.

    Lions, 25, 73, 166, 261.
      a census of, 73.

    Lippi, Filippino, picture by, 94.

    Loafers, 30.

    Loggetta, the, 42, 80, 85.

    Lombardi, the, 122, 225, 257, 261, 279, 284.

    Longhena, Baldassarre, his works, 95, 96, 103, 114, 115, 116, 149.

    Longhi, Pietro, his career, 187.
      pictures by, 75, 116, 125, 187.

    Lotto, picture by, 194.


    Malamocco, 59, 307, 308.

    Malibran Theatre, 106.

    Manin, Daniele, his tomb, 11.
      his career, 12, 103.
      his statue, 13, 73.
      his portrait, 77.

    Mansueti, his "Santa Croce" picture, 180.

    Mantegna, his "S. Sebastian," 124.
      his "S. George," 190.

    Marcello, Jacopo, his tomb, 251.

    Mark, S., his body brought to Venice, 8, 60.
      miracles of, 171, 172.
      legend of, 177.

    Mark's, S., history, 6, 7.
      the facade, 6, 7, 10.
      the mosaics, 8, 9, 17-21, 24-26, 29.
      external carvings, 9.
      north facade and piazzetta, 10, 11, 14.
      the golden horses, 10, 21,57.
      the atrium, 17.
      the interior, 22.
      a procession, 23.
      chapel of S. Isidoro, 25.
      Cappella dei Mascoli, 25.
      the Pala d'Oro, 26.
      the High Altar, 26.
      the Treasuries, 27.
      the Baptistery, 28.
      Dandolo's tomb, 28.
      Zeno chapel, 29.

    Markets, 228.

    Mary, S., of Egypt, the story of, 234.

    Matteo Lambertini, Michele di, picture by, 170.

    Merceria, the, 218.

    Merceria, clock, 218.
        giants, 218, 219.

    Michele, S., island of, 103.

    Mocenigo, Lazzaro, 77.

    Molo, the, 87.

    Montalba, Clara, her Venetian pictures, 273, 307.

    Moore, Thomas, and Byron, 130.

    Moore, Thomas, in Venice, 128.

    Mor, picture by, 173.

    Moretti, Sig., 86.

    Moretto, picture by, 125.

    Motor boats, 92.

    Munaretti, Cav., 86.

    Murano, the way to, 151, 157.
      glass-making at, 152.
      the early art of, 152.
      its churches, 154.

    Museo, Civico, 46, 59, 115, 116.

    Music, in Venice, 31, 35, 106, 196.

    Musset, Alfred de, in Venice, 207.


    Napoleon in Venice, 11, 12, 21, 110.

    Nicholson, W., picture by, 114.


    Orefice, Pellegrino, 122.

    _Othello_, 284.


    Padua, 2, 297.

    Painters, foreign, pictures of Venice by, 273.

    Painting, its coming to Venice, 191.

    Pala d'Oro, 57.

    Palaces, present condition of, 33.
      coloured posts of, 94.
      on visiting, 111.

    Palaces:
      Albrizzi, 112, 132, 139.
      Angaran, 110.
      Avogadro, 112.
      Balbi, 110.
      Balbi-Valier, 98.
      Barbarigo, 97, 123, 147.
      Barbarigo della Terrazza, 111.
      Barbaro, 123, 146, 147.
        Sargent's interior of, 146.
      Barozzi Wedmann, 149.
      Battagia, 115.
      Bembo, 127.
      Benzon, 128, 132.
        Byron at, 132, 139.
      Bernardo, 111.
      Boldu, 123.
      Bonhomo, 123.
      Brandolin, 114.
      Brandolin-Rota, 98, 101.
      Businello, 112.
      Ca d'Oro, 124.
      Camerlenghi, 73, 227.
      Capello, 111.
      Ca Ruzzini, 126.
      Casa Falier, 104.
      Casa Petrarca, 112.
      Cavalli, 146.
      Civran, 110, 126.
      Coccina-Tiepolo, 111.
      Coletti, 123.
      Contarini, 99, 115, 121, 128, 286.
      Contarini Fasan, 148.
      Contarini degli Scrigni, 99.
      Contarini del Zaffo, 98.
      Corner, 129.
      Corner della Ca Grande, 147.
      Corner della Regina, 114.
      Curti, 128.
      Dandolo, 110.
      Dario, 97.
      Dolfin, 99.
      Dona, 111, 113, 280.
      Emo, 123.
      Erizzo, 123.
      Falier, 144.
        W.D. Howells at, 144.
      Farsetti,127.
      Fini, 148.
      Flangini, 119.
      Fontana, 123.
      Foscari, 104, 109, 125.
      Foscarini, 115.
      Gazzoni, 128.
      Giovanelli, 118, 123, 281, 287.
      Giustinian Lolin, 146.
      Giustiniani, 100, 104, 110, 149.
      Grassi, 143.
      Grimani, 110, 123, 128.
      Gritti, 121, 148.
      Gussoni, 123.
      Labia, 120.
      Lezze, 123.
      Lion, 126.
      Lobbia, 121.
      Loredan, 98, 99, 127.
      Malipiero, 143, 280.
      Mandelli 121.
      Manfrini, 290.
      Mangilli Valmarana, 126.
      Manin, 127.
      Manolesso-Ferro, 148.
      Manzoni, 101.
      Marcello, 122.
      Martinengo, 96, 121, 122, 128.
      Mengaldo, 112.
      Miani, 123.
      Michiel, 149.
      Michiel, da Brusa, 126.
      Michiel, dalle Colonne, 125.
      Mocenigo, 126, 129, 143.
        Byron at, 134, 139.
      Mocenigo Gambara, 99.
      Molin, 123.
      Moro-Lin, 143.
      Morosini, 114, 167.
      Mosto, da, 126.
      Mula, 97.
      Nani, 7, 104.
      Papadopoli, 111.
      Paradiso, 98.
      Perducci, 126.
      Pesaro, 114, 115, 125.
      Piovene, 123.
      Pisani, 167.
      Pisani Moretta, 111.
      Querini, 99, 111, 121.
      Querini Stampalia, 280.
      Rampinelli, 112.
      Rezzonico, 98, 99, 102, 103.
      Sagredo, 125.
      Swift, 148.
      Tiepolo, 111, 149.
      Tornielli, 128.
      Tron, 115, 128.
      Valaresso, 149.
      Valmarana, 128.
      Van Axel, 285.
      Vendramin, 111.
      Vendramin Calergi, 122.
      Venier, 97.
      Volkoff, 97.

    Palestrina, 307.

    Palladio, Andrea, his career, 198.
      works of, 214.

    Palma, pictures by, 177, 280.

    Palma, the younger, pictures by, 61, 178.

    Pennell, Joseph, pictures by, 114.

    Pesaro, Jacopo, 249.
      his tomb, 250.

    Petrarch on Andrea Dandolo, 28.

    Piazza di S. Marco, 31.
      the pigeons, 36, 76.
      buildings in, 37.
      floor pattern, 44.
      in 1496, 179.

    Piazzetta, the, 78.

    Picture cleaning, the need of, 210, 244, 282.

    Pictures, Venetian, in London, 168, 273.

    Pictures of Venice by foreign painters, 273.

    Pietra del Bando, the, 15.

    Pigeons, 36, 76.

    Piombo, Sebastian del, picture by, 221, 224.

    Pisani, Vittorio, 77.

    Polo, Marco, 77.

    Ponte di Paglia, 256.

    Ponte della Veneta Marina, 263.

    Ponte dell'Erbe, 285.

    Ponte del Diavolo, 285.

    Ponte Rialto, 112, 180, 226.

    Ponte S. Polo, 286.

    Popilia, 308.

    Pordenone, pictures by, 128, 165, 229.

    Porphyry, 97.

    Poveglia, 308.

    Prison, the, 206.


    Querini statue, 264.


    Rain, 23.

    Rampino, the, 89.

    Raphael, drawings by, 173.

    Red hair, 34, 167.

    Regattas, 203.

    Regnier, Henri de, 97.

    Restaurants, 39, 40.

    Rialto, 59.
      _see_ Ponte Rialto.

    Ribera, picture by, 173.

    Richardson, Mrs., on the doges, 60.

    Ricketts, Charles, on Titian, 121.
      on Giorgione, 291, 296.

    Ridotto, the, 162.

    Rizzo, Antonio, work of, 74.

    Robbia, Delia, ceiling by, 284.

    Roberts, David, visits Ruskin, 148.

    Robinson, Cayley, picture by, 114.

    Rocco, S., the story of, 242.

    Rodin, works by, 114.

    Romanino, his "Deposition," 173.

    Rossellino, Antonio, sculpture by, 284.

    Royal Palace, the, 37, 149.

    Rubens, tapestry by, 125.

    Ruskin, John, on S. Mark's, 26.
      his _St. Mark's Rest_, 28, 117.
      on Venice, 69, 72.
      on the Ponte Rialto, 113.
      on a Carpaccio, 117.
      at the Palazzo Swift, 147.
      at Murano, 156.
      his _Stones of Venice_, 156, 233, 271.
      on Torcello, 160.
      on Carpaccio, 184-186.
      his _Fors Clavigera_, 185, 271.
      on the Giudecca, 204.
      on Tintoretto, 233, 237.
      on the Venetians, 271.
      his Zattere home, 271.
      on S. Maria dei Miracoli, 279.

    Rustico of Torcello, 8.


    Sacristans, 42, 198, 209, 210, 216, 220, 224, 225, 252, 279, 283,
    295, 296.

    Salizzada S. Moise, 162.

    Sammichele, Michele, architect, 128.

    Sand, George, in Venice, 207.

    Sansovino, Jacopo, his career, 81.
      his tomb, 95.

    Sansovino, his works, 74, 80, 123, 127, 147, 219, 220, 252.

    Santa Croce miracles, 179-180.

    Sant'Elena, island of, 265.

    Sargent, J.S., his interior of the Pal. Barbaro, 146.
      his Venetian pictures, 273.

    Sarpi, Paolo, 77.

    Sarri, G., his guide to Venice, 4, 134.

    Sarto, Andrea del, 81.

    Savelli, Paolo, 251.

    Schiavone, picture by, 277.

    Scuola dei Morti, 119.

    Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelistica, 179.

    Scuola di S. Marco, 238, 261.
      and Tintoretto's "Miracle," 171.

    Scuola di S. Rocco, 231.
      Tintoretto's "Crucifixion," 177.
      the carvings, 243.

    Scuola Merletti, Burano, 158.

    Seagulls, 101.

    Seminario Patriarcale, 94.

    Seminario della Salute, 84.

    Shelley, visits Byron, 139.
      rides on the Lido, 139.
      on Venice, 140, 141.
      on gondolas, 141.

    Shelley, Mrs., at Venice, 141.

    Shelley, Clara, her death, 141.

    Shops and shopkeepers, 38, 218, 227.

    Spirito, S., island of, 309.

    Statues:
      Colleoni, 21, 151, 255, 262, 273.
      Garibaldi, 264.
      Giorgione, 295.
      Manin, 13.
      Querini, 264.
      Tommaseo, 166.
      Wagner, 264.

    Steamers in Venice, 92.

    _Stones of Venice, The_, 156, 233, 271.

    Symonds, J.A., on a Tiepolo, 120, 225.


    Tagliapietra, Contessa, 97.

    Taglioni in Venice, 124, 146.

    Tedeschi, Fondaco dei, 126, 227, 239, 246.

    Tennyson, 77.

    Theodore, S., column, 78, 79.
      the story of, 79.
      his ashes, 219.

    Tiepolo, Gianbattista, his career, 188.
      his portrait, 77.
      pictures by, 48, 112, 116, 118, 119, 120, 187, 225, 244, 252, 277.

    Tintoretto, pictures by, 8, 38, 48, 49, 50, 51, 121, 123, 172, 176,
    177, 193, 194, 198, 199, 203, 231, 274, 277, 281, 283.
      his house, 39, 282.
      his "Bacchus and Ariadne," 48, 65, 241, 288.
      his "Paradiso," 52, 54.
      his portrait, 77.
      his "Marriage in Cana," 95,
      his "Miracle," 170, 171, 238, 241.
      his "Crucifixion," 177, 236.
      his S. Rocco pictures, 231-37.
      his realism, 233.
      his career, 237.
      his children, 240.
      on Titian, 240.
      caricatured, 243.
      his "Presentation," 282.
      his tomb, 283.

    Tintoretto, Domenico, pictures by, 52, 128, 237, 284.

    Titian, pictures by, 48, 51, 62, 76, 96, 111, 121, 127, 171, 193,
    219, 220, 229, 235, 259, 276, 284.
      his portrait, 77.
      his autograph, 84.
      his "Bacchus and Ariadne," 169.
      his "Assumption," 170.
      his last picture, 178.
      his "Presentation," 194.
      Tintoretto on, 240.
      his career, 246.
      his tomb, 246.
      his house, 247.
      his "Pesaro Madonna," 249.
      and Giorgione, 294.

    Tommaseo, Niccolo, 13, 77.
      his statue, 166.

    Torcello, 155, 159.

    Tourists, 32.

    Town Hall, 127.

    Tura, Cosimo, picture by, 190.

    Turchi, Fondaco dei, 115.

    Turner, J.M.W., his "San Benedetto," 202.
      his Venetian pictures, 272, 273.


    Ursula, S., the story of, 181.


    Van Dyck, in Venice, 244.

    Vendramin, Andrea, and the Holy Cross, 180.

    Venetian architects, 93.
      bead-workers, 202.
      ceilings, 194.
      children, 26, 39,120, 227, 245.
      custodians, 52, 60, 85.
      fireworks, 197.
      food, 40.
      funerals, 208.
      gardens, 97, 143, 202, 215.
      girls, 33, 34.
      glass, 152.
      lace, 158.
      life, 281.
      painting, 291.
      pictures in London, 187, 188, 189, 192, 207.
      red hair, 34, 167.
      regattas, 203.
      school of painting, 191.
      women, 34.

    Venetians and regattas, 203.
      Ruskin on, 271.
      in S. Mark's Square, 32.
      their self-satisfaction, 48.

    Venice:
      the Austrian occupation of, 12, 13, 106, 162.
      artists in, 14, 272, 276, 306.
      being lost in, 218.
      Berri, Duchesse de, in, 122.
      Bonington in, 272.
      its book-shops, 229.
      Browning in, 98, 99, 100, 274.
        on, 275.
        Mrs. on, 100.
      Byron in, 112, 128, 129.
        on, 63.
      its by-ways, 284.
      its cafes, 34, 38.
      its chimneys, 96, 97, 285.
      a city of the poor, 33.
      its concerts, 195.
      Fenimore Cooper in, 127.
      Dickens, Charles, on, 5.
      Duse, Eleanora, in, 97.
      the first sight of, 3.
      its fish, 40, 229.
      the French occupation of, 137.
      its fruit, 40.
      Germans in, 268.
      Goethe in, 106.
      gramophones in, 196.
      Henry III of France in, 109.
      honeymooners in, 32, 195.
      house moving in, 274.
      houses, desirable, 96, 204, 205.
      Howells, W.D., in, 104, 144, 221.
        on, 204, 264.
      James, G.P.R., in, 152.
      Jews in, 227.
      Joseph II, Emperor, in, 103, 115.
      Layard, Sir H., in, 111.
      Lewis, "Monk," in, 136.
      Lions of, 25, 73, 166, 261.
      Moore, Thomas, in, 128.
      Motor-boats in, 92.
      music in, 31, 35, 106, 196.
      Napoleon in, 11, 12, 21, 110.
      pictures of, by foreign painters, 273.
      Pius X, Pope, in, 231.
      rain in, 23.
      its republicanism, 32.
      its restaurants, 39, 40.
      Roberts, David, in, 148.
      its roofs, 44.
      Ruskin in, 92, 93, 147, 272.
        on, 69, 72.
      the sacristans of, 42, 198, 209, 210, 216, 220, 224, 225, 252,
        279, 283, 295, 296.
      Seagulls in, 101.
      Shelley in, 139.
        on, 140, 141.
      its shops and shopkeepers, 38, 218, 227.
      its steamers, 92.
      tourists in, 32.
      Turner in, 272.
      its unfailing beauty, 3.
      Van Dyck in, 244.
      Wagner in, 104, 122.
      walking in, 217.
      the wells of, 75.
      where to live in, 204.

    _Venice on Foot_, 218, 285.

    Venturi, Sig. Lionello, his _Giorgione e Giorgionismo_, 291.

    Veronese, Paul, his "Rape of Europa," 49.
      pictures by, 49, 50, 53, 172, 176, 194, 215, 275.
      his portrait, 77.
      his "House of Darius," 111, 169.
      his "Jesus in the House of Levi," 174.
      his examination, 174.
      his life, 275.
      his tomb, 275.

    Verrocchio, Andrea, work by, 256, 277.

    Via Vittorio Emmanuele, 226.

    Vicentino, Andrea, picture by, 61.

    Vinci, Leonardo da, works by, 94, 173, 277.
      and Giorgione, 293.
      death notices, 278.

    Vittoria, Alessandro, his grave, 208.

    Vittorio Emmanuele, monument to, 14.

    Vivarini, the, pictures by, 116, 152, 156, 190, 203, 210, 251, 261.


    Wagner in Venice, 104, 122.
      his statue, 264.

    Walton, E.A., picture by, 114.

    Whistler, J.M., his Venetian pictures, 114, 202, 273.

    Whitman, Walt, 77.

    Woods, Henry, his Venetian pictures, 273.


    Yriarte, his _La Vie_, etc., 147.


    Zattere, the, 271.
      Browning at, 98, 274.
      a house on, 205.

    Zecca, the, 80, 84.

    Zeno, Carlo, 77, 260.

    Zeno, Cardinal, 29.

    Ziem, his Venice pictures, 273.




The following pages contain advertisements of Macmillan books by the
same author.


NEW BOOKS BY E.V. LUCAS

A "MOVING-PICTURE NOVEL"


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BY E.V. LUCAS, Author of "Over Bemerton's," "London Lavender," etc.

                                             _Cloth, 12mo. $1.35 net._

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episodes are of every kind, serious, humorous, tender, awakening,
disillusioning, and they are narrated without any padding whatever, each
one beginning as abruptly as in life; although in none of his previous
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narration. A descriptive title precedes each episode, as in the cinema;
and it was in fact while watching a cinema that Mr. Lucas had the idea
of adapting its swift selective methods to fiction.



*Lucas's Annual*

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Mr. E.V. Lucas has had the happy idea of making a collection of new
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       *       *       *       *       *

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ILLUSTRATED BY F.L. GRIGGS

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       *       *       *       *       *

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*_A Choice of Letters By Entertaining Hands_*

EDITED BY E.V. LUCAS

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of friendship, of quiet reflection, stately letters in the grand manner,
and naive letters by obscure and ignorant folk."


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*Old Lamps for New*

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*The Second Post*

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the intimate quality, the underlying tender humanity, of his art.

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_A Kensington Comedy_

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might be favorably compared," says the Chicago _Tribune_, "with much of
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quotations, what he admits is high praise indeed.

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       *       *       *       *       *

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OTHER WORKS BY E.V. LUCAS.

  A Wanderer in Florence
  A Wanderer in London
  A Wanderer in Holland
  A Wanderer in Paris
  Mr. Ingleside
  Listener's Lure
  Over Bemerton's
  London Lavender
  Loiterer's Harvest
  Landmarks
  One Day and Another
  Fireside and Sunshine
  Character and Comedy
  Old Lamps for New
  The Hambledon Men
  The Open Road
  The Friendly Town
  Her Infinite Variety
  Good Company
  The Gentlest Art
  The Second Post
  A Little of Everything
  Harvest Home
  The Best of Lamb
  A Swan and Her Friends
  The British School
  Highways and Byways in Sussex
  Anne's Terrible Good Nature
  The Slowcoach

and

  The Pocket Edition of the Works of Charles Lamb: I. Miscellaneous
  Prose; II. Elia; III. Children's Books; IV. Poems and Plays; V.
  and VI. Letters.





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