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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Park Palladio: Proportional representation

Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unshown marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.
Aldous Huxley
Hello there, partly back again... so, you know how I love my architourism, and recently I stumbled on a little gift by the Italian province of Vicenza. The RL city is about half an hour west of Venice.
Many US servicemen and women know the town since it's also the home of a whopping big military base, but in terms of art, it's got a much older and more pacific history. With Roman roots, and a magnificent medieval legacy, Vicenza is proudest of one son, the architect Andrea Palladio, who lived in Italy's High Renaissance period, he being abut one generation younger than Michelangelo and Leonardo. Not recognized as particularly gifted until in his 30's (take heart, one and all) his speciality was the building of villas for Venetian VIPs, because frankly, no amount of picturesque canal can compensate for stink 365 days a year, sometimes you've just got to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air. If Shakespeare never had an original idea, but was a smashing rewriter, then perhaps it's fair to say Palladio regifted the world with a style (or even peristyle) of building that owes pretty much everything to classical Greek and Roman abodes-with less central heating and more chimneypots. The name Palladio was nicked if you will from that wise old bird, the Greek goddess Athene; I prefer Andrea's original moniker of della Gondola. The rare element of the same name is pale and precious, and one can't help thinking a little architectural poetry crept into the soul of chemist William Woolaston back in 1805. I suspect from his picture that he was looking for Rogaine, still, eyes and sharp sticks etc.
Palladio's buildings litter the Veneto region, a few can be seen here. His most famous work of art is Villa Capra often called Villa Rotonda, a design of such nice proportions that it was borrowed over and over again in such places as Lord Burlington's 1729 Chiswick House and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. hmm obsessing? possibly. The style of course is all over Buck House like a bad rash, and pretty much every government building in the western hemisphere. If that is putting you off, think of it like Cheddar - there may be some awfully cheesy versions of it about, but that doesn't make the original any less delicious. OK, gorgeous. Couldnt resist.
Some of his lesser-known Best Bits as far as the city of Vicenza are concerned can be viewed in 3D glory at Park Palladio in Second Life, part of the city's celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of his birth. By best bits I mean the Basilica Palladiana, which Palladio began in 1549 and worked on for the next 30 years, until his death, after which another 30 years went by until it was finished. *thinks: I appear to have employed the same construction firm* The other two gems are Villa Cordellina a Montecchio Maggiore and Palazzo Barbaran Da Porto.
For those of us unlikely to see Vicenza in RL or with a strange yen to see neoclassical buildings entirely stripped of their medieval context, pop over to Park Palladio. There are guided tours no less, so time your visit to coincide with the 'guida' - drop in on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1.oo to 4 .oo am SLT (LOL now that's classic Italian thinking!) The proportions will amaze, and the representation of Palladio's vision of clean - one might almost say sterile - lines is enriced by interior textures by Tiepolo among others whose warmth carry the stone cold maths of the man into the realm of living art. I should have liked more geraniums, terracotta roofs and a traffic jam or two (a la Italian Job? now I'm asking too much) on winding streets. There are, however, examples of a rare breed of cow to be inspected in the city garden. No pictures today, go and take your own, I'm still poorly.
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Il silenzio contiene saggezza e spirito quanto un blocco di marmo contiene una scultura
grande. Il silenzioso non puo' testimoniare contro se stesso.
Aldous Huxley

Ma che bravi. La provincia di Vicenza ci regala un parco d'arte, proprio qui in SL. E perche' no, lsia a citta' di Vicenza che l'intera regione veneta e' ricca di storia arte e tradizioni che meritano d'essere conosciuti in tuttoi modo. Si tratta di un parco dedicato al Vicentino Andrea Palladio. Famoso per le sue ville di campagna costruite per i VIP veneziani, il Palladio (nome vero della Gondola, molto piu' pittoresco secondo me) intraprese la sua carriera con la pietra e i disegni a tredici anni e fu finalmente 'scoperto' e divenne famoso all'eta' di 30 anni.
Il 2008 si festeggia il cinquecentenario della nascita dell'architetto piu' amato degli italiani e non solo: stile del Palladio e' conosciutissimo ed e' stato riprodotto in ogni parte del globo dalla Casa Bianca a San Pietroburgo. Ma il bello del Park Palladio in SL e' che ci propone tre palazzi palladiani che si trovano nel cuore del centro storico di Vicenza; due dei quali un po' meno conosciuti: accanto alla famosa Basilica Palladiana troverai Villa Cordellina a Montecchio Maggiore e Palazzo Barbaran Da Porto. La storia della costruzione dell Basilica mi suona un po troppo familiare - Palladio la comincio' nel 1549, alla sua morte nel 1580 non l'aveva finita, infatti ci vollero altri 3 decenni per completarla; classico esempio del fai da te andato male.
Villa Cordellina invece e' arrichita dagli affreschi del Tiepolo - anche in SL. C'e' anche una versione virtuale di un'Azienda Agricola, con (dice la Notecard, io non li ho visti di persona) "alcuni esemplari di vacca burlina, una razza di bestiame che stava per andare estinta." Come puoi resistere. E' possibile inoltre fare una visita guidata ai palazzi del parco, lunedì, mercoledì e giovedì dalle 10 alle 13 ora italiana - dalle 1.00 alle 4.00 AM SLT. Esperti ti illustreranno "la storia e le bellezze artistiche di queste straordinarie opere del territorio vicentino". Niente foto del parco: sto poco bene, fatele te le foto questa volta, dai, saranno sicuramente piu' belle del mie.

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