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Venice night

History, art and culture

"The Ukrainian artist Svyatoslav Ryabkin celebrates the splendid city of Venice with this painting called “Venice night” (90x75 cm). This oil on canvas was made in 2019 and represents the Basilica of San Marco and the homonymous Square by night.


The Basilica is a symbol of the power and wealth of the Serenissima: it houses the treasure of San Marco and marble, sculptures and golden mosaics made by Greek, Venetian and Byzantine artists. Dear Readers, do you know that many of these furnishings were brought here from the east on merchant ships?


The artist Ryabkin visited Venice on 18 January 2019 on the occasion of the art exhibition entitled “Dream and reality” at the Danieli hotel where he was the protagonist. With this picture he wanted to make the strong visual impact of the architectural structure of the Basilica of San Marco. The marble facade dates back to the 13th century and is decorated with mosaics and bas-reliefs. They create beautiful chiaroscuro effects, especially at sunset when the amber light envelops the Basilica in a soft embrace and the Venice lagoon becomes a bit languid.


Svyatoslav Ryabkin had just come from a “calle” (the name of the typical streets in Venice) leaving behind renowned hotels and luxury boutiques, when he first saw the Basilica of San Marco and was out of breath. He tried to make his grandeur with humble means; it represented the inflected arches decorated in flowery Gothic style, the balcony and the domes. Dear Readers, do you know why the Basilica is developed horizontally? Because it rests on weak ground.


I invite you to visit Venice during a local festival. There is only to choose which one!


On April 25th we celebrate San Marco, the Patron Saint, and it is the day when the Italian Republic celebrates Liberation. The city of Venice chose November 21st to celebrate the patronal feast with the Feast of the Madonna della Salute. This religious festival was established by the Venetian Republic in 1630 during the years of the great epidemic of bubonic plague that struck northern Italy, the one described by Alessandro Manzoni in the novel “I promessi sposi” (1827). In 1631 this terrible period ended and there was the first pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the basilica of Santa Maria. Since then it has been called "della Salute".


Towards the last months of the year the wheather in Venice can be foggy. The bridges seem surreal and the sumptuous Basilica of San Marco appears gently veiled and at night you can only see the yellow lights of the street lamps in front of it.


When winter arrives the rhythm of the city slows down and the inhabitants, who often move on foot with the typical "Venetian walking" (quick!), stop to watch gondolas that slip off the surface of vibrant water in the San Marco basin. Their steps are uncertain if a bit of frozen snow becomes a danger. But only this new-found slowness will allow you to discover unexplored “campielli” (little squares) on which your glance had never fallen.


And what fun (maybe just for someone, like the actress Julia Roberts in rain boots!) when we are surprised by the phenomenon of high water in San Marco Square and the level also rises by 1.50 m (with the record of 1.94 m in 1996).


"Venice night" reminds me of Venice during the “Festa del Redentore” (on the third Sunday of July). Palladio built the new Church of the Redeemer on the Giudecca island for the liberation of the city from the plague (1575-1577). After the blessing of the patriarch a long votive bridge of boats is opened to connect the island to the Zattere allowing pedestrian access. At night San Marco Square is fascinating: it is illuminated by a long fireworks entertainment over the San Marco basin that frames it.


“Venice morning” (2019) is another painting about Venice by the artist Svyatoslav Ryabkin but in a diurnal version. Write us which one do you like the most!


Dear Readers, I invite you to browse the artist's catalogs to discover all his paintings (which you can also download in pdf format) and subscribe to our Newsletter to not miss his upcoming ar

By Elena Sechet