I just came back from a short trip to Venice, which isn't far from Split (but not easy to get to, for some reason). So, below are some pictures of things n' stuff that I found while I was there. My apologies for the quality of some of these, as they were often taken through shop windows or without flash in places where photography was not allowed. Lots of pics, but not too much writing, so I hope you enjoy the (somewhat blurry) eye-candy (Blogger is not accepting any more pictures, so this will be part 1).
Venetian Crypts, artlessly defunct
The inside of a store where one gets one's pictures framed. The variety and wonderfulness of these bits is perhaps a perfectly conscious thing, but the workmanlike atmosphere of the shop was real.
My daughter and I walked past this man probably a dozen times and were never able to get a good picture of him. We couldn't believe how like a waxwork he looked: thin and weirdly out of date with his white coat on, talking on an old-fashioned telephone, with a corpselike pallor. We speculated that he was actually an automata who was put there for atmosphere, and then decided he was too creepy to be art.
These were on a bunch of the trash cans. I could never figure out if it was for a particular show or what. It seemed to be for a place that called itself "O" but the words below were so impenetrable that it was impossible to tell. I found the image captivating, though. What is happening in this picture? Why is the baby all wrapped up? Is it dead, and in a shroud? Then why does it look so alert? And who is the man who is handing the baby to its mother? Or is she handing it to him, reluctantly??
This is a Bocca di Leone, a Lion's Mouth, where people used to be able to put messages denouncing someone for treason. A very Venetian idea, somehow. They are everywhere at the Doge's Palace, as if they expected denunciations at any moment; or perhaps there were different ones for different kinds of denunciations. However, this was the only one we found that wasn't completely defaced - erased, even (see the ones on either side). Why this is so, I don't know. I speculate that either Napoleon had them removed, or the message below was embarrassing at some point and so was removed (for example, if it said, "Denounce witches here," or something). Either way, it's an unfortunate loss. You can read more about them here (great blog about Venice).
Here is the back of the Bocca, taken, of course, when I wasn't supposed to use a camera. Thus the odd angle and blurriness. But please note the double door and the serious lock. They took these things seriously, and had a complex way of dealing with complaints, either about other people or about the government.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose... Treasures are indeed alive and well in Venice.
This is a little, old-fashioned doctor's cupboard - a miniature, about 16 inches high - with all the chemistry bits and the cool jars full of weird stuff. Total Cabinet of Wonders. I took about 6 pictures and this was the best one.
- More on the The Most Serene Republic of Venice, who ran our part of Croatia for hundreds of years. Interesting reading...