Download “Venice billboard plan seen as bad sign,” from Marketplace, American Public Media, December 8, 2008. Be patient…it’s near the end.
Katherine A. has also forwarded three photos she took last week in Venice. I need some time to allow this to settle before writing. I hope you’re as outraged as I am…
Above you see the church of San Simeone Piccolo, begun in 1718 by Giovanni Scalfarotto. It is located on the Grand Canal just opposite the railroad station — therefore it greets you upon your arrival in the city, it is one of the first things you see in Venice, and is probably the first building to register in your mind upon exiting the station and entering the city. You may recall the following image that I showed in class when we discussed 18th- and 19th-c. architecture in Venice. Clearly, the church is in dire need of repair, but the new ads erase the structure and replace it with an icon to commercial greed. Save Venice?
Here (above and below) you’re looking at the Bridge of Sighs…generally considered one of the most romantic and mournful sites in the city. The bridge connects the Palazzo Ducale to the old prisons…both of which are obliterated under the ad showing sky and clouds. You can walk through this bridge (as did prisoners of the Republic on their way to trial…or execution) on a tour of the Palazzo Ducale, and can also see it from the Molo or the Ponte della Puglia at the lagoon-side of the Palazzo Ducale. I have no idea what this ad “sells.” Is that good business?
What do you think of this? This article from the Art Newspaper (Nov. 12, 2008) should get you thinking about how we preserve our cities and monuments. Should advertisers be allowed to post ads on monuments that are covered with scaffolding and under restoration? Is the money coming in from ads worth the desecration of the monuments? Is it desecration? Are these ads recalling Venice’s history as a commercial center?
Here is a recent view (from Flickr) showing the Molo and Sansovino’s work in the Piazzetta that John was discussing the other day. Remember Whistler’s depiction of the scene?
A link to yet another image that suggests the setting of Venice has become the package for selling fine goods and a lifestyle.