Monday, November 9, 2015

From Venice to Treviso - Escher at the Santa Caterina Museum & Re-Opening of the Bailo Museum

Relativity by Escher (1953)
(Venice, Italy) M.C. Escher, the extraordinary Dutch graphic artist, saw the world with a geometric eye, creating impossible objects like staircases with different gravity sources in the same space. Escher was fascinated by nature and crystals, and enchanted by the Italian landscape, which inspired him to invent worlds where reptiles and birds morphed into the Italian coastal town of Atrani, which linked to a tower in the water, which was actually a rook on a chess board.

Escher flipped reality on its head.

Metamorphosis II by Escher (1939-40)
An Escher exhibition is currently running in Treviso, a small town in the Veneto that packs a powerful punch. Only about 35 minutes from Venice by train, Treviso is the headquarters of several major Italian brands -- like Benetton, De Longhi and Pinarello -- and is definitely worth the trip.

The world of Escher is a fantastic playground for both grownups and children. In addition to three floors of Escher's works, there are interactive games and optical illusions sprinkled throughout the exhibition, as well as clips from movies and commercials inspired by Escher. Even album covers like Mott The Hoople were zapped by Escher.

The curators of the exhibition, Marco Bussagli and Federico Giudiceandrea, are not your typical museum types. Federico Giudiceandrea is the CEO of Microtec, a company that specializes in imaging and machine vision, the ability of a computer to "see." Giudiceandrea is from South Tyrol, and uses artificial vision to inspect wood, important to the local timber industry. Marco Bussagli is an art history professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, and has written a lot about angels, nudes, and Michelangelo, in addition to Escher. This unique partnership has added a dash of magic to mathematics, and has captured the soul of Escher.

Hand with Reflecting Sphere by Escher (1935)
Traveling to Treviso is simple, quick and inexpensive (€3.30 each way). The stroll to the Santa Caterina Museum is about 15 minutes -- longer if you pause along the way to enjoy the specialty shops and eateries that line the cobbled streets and Renaissance squares. The town is full of people who actually live there, and would like it if some of Venice's millions of tourists headed their way.

Dario Franceschini and Cat Bauer Venice Blog
Dario Franceschini and Cat Bauer
I initially went out to Treviso on October 29 for the re-opening of one of their civic museums, the Bailo, a 15th century monastery building which had been closed for 12 years, which now hosts the town's 20th-century art collection. After an extensive restoration, the museum re-opened with much pomp and ceremony: throngs of residents, a baroque orchestra, the mayor -- even Dario Franceschini, the Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism -- appeared. The works of the Treviso-born artist, Arturo Martini (1889-1947) are featured in the beautifully refurbished structure, which also got a new facade and a skylight, transforming the ancient monastery into a contemporary work of art.

Bond of Union by Escher (1956)
The M.C. Escher exhibition came to Treviso by way of Rome and Bologna, and can be seen at the Santa Caterina Museum until April 3, 2015.

October 31, 2015 to April 3, 2016

Museo di Santa Caterina
Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 8pm
Monday - 2:30pm - 8pm
Tickets: €13.00
Info: +39 0422 184 7103
Directions: Take the train to Treviso, walk out the front, and ask how to get to Santa Caterina
More Info (in Italian)
Borgo Cavour, 24

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. M.C. Escher, the extraordinary Dutch graphic artist, saw the world with a geometric eye, creating impossible objects like staircases with different gravity sources in the same space... Escher flipped reality on its head.