When talking about holiday memories I often hear people saying we visited all the typical sights. They mean in Paris the Eiffel tower and Louvre and for sure in Venice Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo ducale Venice. However, these are just sights, tourist attractions on the one hand. On the other hand some of them are world cultural heritage and an integral part of our western community. But are they typical for a city?
Honestly I don’t think so. You might have visited them all but never got the unique spirit of a city. Its dangerous to plan a trip using “Lonely Planet”, queue for all the attractions and take an audio guide trough all the museums. Its likely that you get bored very soon and thus miss the things that are most touching for you. Thats why we have developed a quiet individual and explorative traveling approach over the years. We don’t plan a lot ahead. I had visited the Palazzo ducale Venice more than 10 years ago on a guided tour but had almost forgotten everything, because nothing had really captivated me. This time we hadn’t planned to visit the palazzo from the inside but after admiring the beautiful faced for some time and seeing the short queue we changed our mind. While visiting exhibitions we usually try to come unprepared, have a close look at the pieces and when something evokes an association or touches us otherwise we discuss it.
Here are my top 3 inspirations form Palazzo ducale Venice:
- In the small museum space at the Palazzos ground floor elements from the buildings incredible facade are exhibited. I had adored the signature quatrefoil design of the first floor arcade from the piazzetta and promenade prior to entering the palace but this close encounter captivated me immediately. For me it evocated two associations the Louis Vuitton monogram canvas and the incredible indoor pool at the Royal Mansour hotel in Marrakech. So as I usually do I searched today a little closer. Did Louis Vuitton get inspired by Venice for the creation of his monogram canvas? Did the Venetians draw inspiration from Morocco while building the palace?
The Venetian Republic was a trading power with trade routes into the middle and far east. Of course the ogival arches between the columns have a clearly oriental inspiration. The quatrefoils are a key element of gothic architecture as such, however might have originated from oriental art as well. So the Palazzo ducale Venice strongly reflects the Venetian heritage in trade, travel and exploration, which links the city very close to the Vuitton brand. The famous monogram canvas was invented by Georges Vuitton in 1896 and is strongly inspired by the oriental trend, which came with the increased travel opportunities in the late Victorian era.
- The second thing that made a strong impression on me is a little bit of naive nature. One room of the Palazzo ducale Venice houses a collection of portrait paintings depicting the doges. While seeing their hair in some pic I couldn’t help but think of the faux bob trend, which was so cool back for fall 2012. (Shows how repetitive fashion really is 🙂
- And the last of my 3 favorites was “Neptune offering gifts to Venice” by Tiepolo. I never read any interpretation of this painting, but this was one of the few things a remembered over 10 years from my last visit. Similar to the last time this painting has something scuril to me. Neptune, who represents the sea offers gifts to Venice? Venice is a city with such a strong dependence on the the sea for trade during times of the Republic but still today, just think Acqua alta. Why does Neptune offer the presents and not the other way round. Furthermore the fun thing is that Neptune isn’t alone he brings his assistant – how contemporary this is! The representation of Venice by the lion is clear however why is a queen the representation of the republic of Venice – They never had one?
What do you think? Do you prefer to be guided trough an exhibition or do you like to explore it on your own and read a little on the thinks that stayed in your mind afterwards?