Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Venice: beauty born from death, greed and triviality

Translation from dutch into english of article 'Death in Venice' by Louise Fresco. Source: NRC Handelsblad 21-07-2009, page 7.

Death in Venice

(...) At the height of the epidemic, in 1576, the then Doge promised that there would be a church built in honor of Christ the Savior, Il Redentore, on the island of La Giudecca. (...) We can not imagine how bad the plague has been. The disease, which by trade ships from the Far East was brought and spread throughout Europe, was alone in Venice more than 50,000 casualties in less than two years. In total, one third of the population of the city wiped out. (...) Our civilization is like a Gothic church before the girders were invented: beautiful but inherently fragile, threatened, but not hopeless. Not over-estimate and artistic pretensions to great civilizations, but technically perseverance. In the light of the unknown future, common sense and foresight ultimately our best option. And thus we can estimate the value of Venice: beauty born from death, greed and triviality.

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