Photographer's Note

It is ironic that the architectural gem of Venetian religious architecture owes its existence to a terrifying epidemic that struck during the Italian Baroque Period. The Bubonic Plague had been ravaging Venice, and by 1630, when it had wiped out a third of Venice’s estimated population of 150,000, the political leaders of the city made a pledge to God: if He would stop the plague, they would show their gratitude by building a defining edifice to honor the Virgin Mary. And indeed, as the plague subsided, the authorities awarded architect Baldassare Longhena the commission to build a great basilica at the tip of Dosuro, on land gained by driving over 1.5 million pylons into the swamp. (The precise location is at intersection of St. Mark’s Basin with the Grand Canal.) The construction continued for 58 years, its architect having passed away six years before the church’s completion in 1688. Venetian scenes like the one in the photograph, with the sun setting over its canals and bridges, its domes and spires must have inspired two of its favorite sons — Vivaldi (1678-1741) and Canaletto (1697-1768)— in creating their masterpieces in music and paintings, respectively.

August 6, 2006 was the evening before disembarkation from the Crystal Symphony on which I had been giving lectures. It was time to return to the ship and pack for the flight back home to the United States. The view is that of the Grand Canal, with the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute (Church of Saint Mary of Health and Salvation) with its prominent dome as the focal point of the image. Despite the extremely limited light, and the vibrations in the small water taxi that we took from San Marco to the pier at Maritime, where the ship was docked, I was able to obtain two or three successful images out of half-a-dozen that I shot. I had set the effective film speed on my camera on the maximum, ISO-1600, sensitive enough to “film a black cat inside a coal mine,” but some pixilation resulted.

The surrounding mat/frame was created in Photoshop, with the white line suggesting a bevel; the dark gray color of "the mat" came from a dark area of the image, a common practice among framers.

This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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