Probably every single visitor to Venice takes a million and a half photos of the Doge’s palace exterior. The pink and cream patterned exterior with its gothic quattrefoils and pointed arches is unmistakably Venice and the perfect backdrop for a selfie or ten (ugh). But what lots of folks don’t really realize is there is a pretty great museum in that Doge’s palace.
And between the bits of armor and the creepy prisons and the pathway over the Bridge of Signs:
It’s a good place to visit. But the things that make it really, really good? For one, the fact that Tintoretto’s Paradise is there and it is HUGE and AMAZING and my love for Tintoretto knows no ends:
That thing is 74 feet wide. Let me repeat: seventy-four feet wide. That’s a six-story building laying on its side. THAT IS GIGANTIC. Consider the engineering complexities that had to be overcome to create and install that sucker. Unreal. But oh, wait, maybe that also looks a wee bit familiar? Possibly you recall that yes, at the Louvre, in the same room as that lousy Mona Lisa is a study for this painting? Full-circle baby, everything comes full-circle. So if not for the architecture and the weird convict history, or the Tintorettos, you should go to the museum in the Doge’s Palace for the Scala dei Giganti (Giant’s Staircase) a fancy, huge staircase in the courtyard with two giant marble sculptures of Mars and Neptune by Jacopo Sansovino from 1567. Now, odds are you haven’t really heard of Jacopo Sansovino before, but here’s why this is way cool: Jacopo Sansovino was thinking about (and in certain ways trying to compete with) Michelangelo when he made those Mars and Neptune figures. You’ve heard of him, right? Michelangelo and his David and Sistine Ceiling and all that? Well Sansovino was directly responding to Michelangelo and bringing Michelanagelo’s sculptural style to Venice with his giants and that my friends is pretty damn cool.**
** of course it is way more complex/complicated than this, but let’s start with the broad strokes shall we?
Next week: MILAN!