Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saint's Day and Ludovico De Luigi's Great Day

Surrealistic Carnival by Ludovico De Luigi
(Venice, Italy) All Saint's Day was spectacular today, with lots of sunshine, perfect temperature - mid 60s - and throngs of people journeying out to the Island of San Michele, Venice's cemetery island, to wash the dust off the ancestors and make them sparkle with fond memories and love. The island is like a giant Christmas tree, each tomb a colorful ornament blooming with flowers and twinkling with candles. It's a Venetian family outing, the younger generations traveling across the lagoon and across the ether to nudge Nonna and Nonno -- who are tucked peacefully under the cypress trees -- awake for an Earthly reunion.

View of San Michele by Johan Richter (1665-1745)
The energy this year is very different from last. Last year, we will remember that the East Coast of the United States of America was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and Venice was drowning with acqua alta. From October 31, 2012:

All Hallows' Eve - All Saints' Day - All Souls' Day - Venice Blog


Then, I stumbled upon a poignant essay by Susan Allen Toth written in 1993 for the New York Times about her visit to San Michele, which you can read here. Even though she wrote it 20 years ago, it's basically the same experience these days.

Photo: Giovanni Dall'Orto
"...Used to the lichen-covered gray tombstones of English churchyards or the numbingly identical rows of white markers in many American cemeteries, I was unprepared for what lay before me: a tumult of color and an astonishing variety of monuments. Because each grave is ordinarily less than 12 years old, there are often survivors to care for it. Not a stone seemed unadorned. Although a few vases held artificial flowers, most were abloom with fresh bouquets, from yellow daisies to red roses to lavish mixtures of carnations, mums and gladiolus.

... As we walked closer, I could see that each gravestone held a glassed-in large photograph of the deceased. Suddenly the cemetery seemed, in a strange reversal, alive with people who were embodied in their stones. It was impossible not to want to pause at each one, study the picture, absorb the inscription and dates of birth and death, and pay homage to the person."

  
Throughout the years, I have had some wild adventures with the artist, Ludovico De Luigi. There was a point in time when we would speak on the phone nearly every morning, philosophizing, before we began our work day, painting and writing. Ah, those were the days! Life in Venice was so much more pleasant before the Americans doubled the size of the military base in Vicenza and caused all sorts of havoc here in town. 

Ludovico will be 80-years-old on November 11, 2013, and he still has the energy of a man 30 years younger. On Wednesday, October 30, his exhibition, Mostra antologica, opened at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa -- what Ludovico said was the mayor's birthday gift to him. And it did seem like most of the town was there to celebrate Ludovico's long creative life. 

Photo: Matilde Margot
I remember back when Ludovico was a wee lad of 74, and he had a love affair with a much younger American woman -- who then had a love affair with Massimo Cacciari, the then-Mayor of Venice, who had been foolishly introduced to her by Ludovico himself. Ludovico became mad with jealousy. He began stalking the mayor. They were like two planets colliding! Volcanoes erupting! God, it was fun!

Punta della Dogana by Ludovico De Luigi
Once Cacciari gave a lecture at the Church of San Vidal about Adam and Eve, and Ludovico sat in the front row, dragging me next to him. Immediately after Cacciari stopped speaking, Ludovico murmured to me, "That man has a brilliant mind," then grabbed the microphone and demanded that Cacciari answer a question -- I wish I could remember what it was, but it was provocative. I watched Cacciari hesitate for 2 seconds, and then say, "I will take all the questions first, and then answer them together." Ha!

It was wonderful to see so many Venetians come to pay their respects to the Maestro. Ludovico was clearly having a ball, with Anny Carraro documenting the entire show, as always.

Ludovico's show runs through December 1st.

Ludovico De Luigi
Mostra antologica
Curated by Enzo di Martino

October 31 to December 1, 2013
Wednesday thru Sunday
10:30AM to 5:30PM

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Galleria di Piazza San Marco, 71/c
Venezia
info@bevilacqulamasa.it
www.bevilacqualamasa.it
+39 041-520-7797

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. All Saint's Day was spectacular today, with lots of sunshine, perfect temperature - mid 60s - and throngs of people journeying out to the Island of San Michele, Venice's cemetery island, to wash the dust off the ancestors and make them sparkle with fond memories and love.

    ReplyDelete

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