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Arriving in Venice by train

We were happy to be in Venice after a big day of traveling but we quickly realised neither of us had mobile reception and with no data either, we were unable to contact our host who was to meet us when we arrived. We left the station and unenthusiastically navigated a sea of tourists eventually finding the gateway to our place.

With no way to access our accomodation we proceeded to ask strangers if we could use their phone. Eventually, Roberto, a friendly restaurant worker standing out on the street dropped his sales pitch and went all out to help us.

We were relieved when a woman walked up to greet us then showed us to the accomodation. We were expecting what we had booked which was a bedroom with shared utilities on street level. Instead we got a stylish apartment all to ourselves, with views above the street, not bad.

The Venice Apartment
View of the street from the window of the apartment
Children playing with chalk on the street below
Dinner out in Italy
Ravioli pasta, Pizza corperto/bread.

After settling in to our accomodation we went out for dinner at the restaurant of the man who helped us when we arrived. For the majority of our trip we’ve eaten prepared meals from supermarkets or food from small street vendors and bakeries. This was our first dine in experience. I had a delicious ravioli pasta and Mitch had pizza.


The Peggy Guggenheim Collection at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
Venice canal

The city of Venice is made up of 117 islands that are linked together by water canals and numerous bridges. It was a stroke of good luck that the morning after we arrived, we managed to find our way through the labyrinthine streets and alleys to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection first pop, right on time for opening, only to get lost every other time thereafter.

Wisteria decorating the Entrance to the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which houses the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Veiw of the canal, from inside the the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni

A collection of important surrealist and abstract art is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace, which was the home of the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim for thirty years.

Peggy Guggenheim was a gallery owner and art collector with an eye for undiscovered talent. She exhibited and supported the likes of Jackson Pollock, well before he gained notoriety.

Joan Miro, Dutch Interior 2, Oil on canvas. (Collection of Peggy Guggenheim)
‘Children Teaching a Cat To Dance’ by Jan Steen

I studied the formal aspects of Surrealist Joan Miro’s painting titled ‘Dutch Interior Two’, paying close attention to colour, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects. It wasn’t until I read the title ‘Dutch Interior Two’ that I began to consider the content of the work.

When I left the gallery, I did some research online and found out that ‘Dutch Interior Two’ is one of a series of three paintings, made by Miro in 1928, each inspired by Dutch Golden Age paintings of Dutch interiors.

Miro’s ‘Dutch Interior Two’ is a reinterpretation of ‘Children Teaching a Cat to Dance’ by artist Jan Steen. Miro’s abstract adaption fascinates me and when I get home I intend to set some time aside to look at all three of the Dutch Interior paintings by Miro.

The Nature of Arp

I was more than pleasantly surprised to find on show at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni a temporary exhibition of work by German-born French Dadaist/Surrealist Painter and Sculptor, Jean Arp.

Jean Arp, Two thoughts on a Navel, 1932, painted plaster.

Jean Arp opposed to hierarchical structures, sought to create art that was free of self importance. ‘Two Thoughts on a Navel’ (pictured above), has three parts to it. By encouraging the viewer to move the pieces about how ever they pleased Arp effectively shunned traditional ideas around authorship in art.

In the above work a slug-like object appears to be crawling over a form suggestive of a human navel. By combining a part of the human body with one of the lower forms of animal life, Arp appears to be making fun at the concept of human supremacy.

Arp produced simple forms, which possess the bare minimum of information required for them to make sense. Open to many interpretations, their hidden sensitivities invite the viewer to a vast number of alternate perspectives.

Jean Arp, Prima carta strappata. 1932
Brush and black ink, over graphite, on tan wove paper

Tomorrow we are off to see Giotto’s Fresco’s at The Scrovegni Chapel, a small church, located in Padua approximately 30 mins train ride from Venice.




  1. Chrissy@datasource.com.au says:

    Whow whow whow. You’ve actually taken me on your journey – it looks/sounds amazing. Isn’t it warming that along the wa there are peeps willing to go an extra mile for you – well done you 2. 😚 😚

  2. Gerard Direen says:

    You know stuff about art dontcha Hansby!
    That was a cool update. That apartment was very trendy. I remember navigating our way around narrow streets in Venice. Quite liked that. Also stumbled on a concert in a small church by chance tgat was a magic moment. Think i saw some art somewhere!
    Im sitting in Honiara domestic terminal waiting on delayed plane to take me and a colleague to Malaita, an islabd about 30 mins away. Have now learned we’ll be flying via a stop on the other side of this island so it’s a slow trip today. Have meeting tomorrow with school leaders so no panic today – just bored. Riots in town last nighr after election of bew prime minister. Lots of young men with too much energy!! Be good

    • nicolahansby says:

      Hello good fella!! Im learning stuff for sure!! I’m a bit behind on the old blog, really haven’t had much down time, what with constantly been on the move. Mitch and I loved Umbria, we stayed in the old city part of Perugia which was dreamy. We are eating balsamic vinegar chip sandwiches to celebrate our last night in Rome, heading home tomorrow. Rome is cool too. Love to you and Shu. I haven’t been bored for a while, kinda sounds appealing. xxxx

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