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The Carnival of Venice PA I N T I N G S

T H E C A R N I VA L O F V E N I C E

Joyce Ward is an actor, theatre director, founder member of Shift Theatre Company and sometime film reviewer. She has been writing since she could hold a crayon. She has been to Venice a number of times but has yet to ride in a gondola.

B Y

PAU L

K E L LY

PA I N T I N G S B Y PA U L K E L LY

Cathy Barron has been writing descriptive prose since her early twenties and has been inspired by Paul’s ‘Carnevale’ paintings to seek a language to compliment his work. She loves to travel and continues to write, finding inspiration daily in her daughters, Sarah, Amy and Isabel.

ISBN 978-0-9525376-3-2

9 780952 537632

Front cover The Watchers

Back cover Venetian Shop Window


Paul Kelly Publication All works: ©Paul Kelly 2012 Text ©The authors ‘The Feeling’ a short story: ©Joyce Ward 2012 Reflections: ©Cathy Barron 2012 Designed by Paul Rattigan and produced by Zeus Medea Publishing, Dublin. Photography: Gillian Buckley Editor: Bernie McNelis Book printing and production by Castuera, Spain. All rights recorded. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise, without first seeking the permission of the copyright owners and their publishers. ISBN 978-0-9525376-3-2


The Carnival of Venice PA I N T I N G S

B Y

PAU L

K E L LY


Welcome to ‘Carnevale di Venezia’. Oil on canvas 30x40cm q


CARNIVALE The February air is crisp, dry and clear Dark skies are lit up with gold and silver The canals sparkle. Masks glitter A candle lit night. Shadows move swiftly And disappear down darkened alleyways Swishing skirts; flash of golden slipper Cape draped across half-naked shoulder Murmurs and laughter; shrieks of excitement Scent and cigar smoke linger When the revellers have gone


CONTENTS Foreword

9

Preface

10

Introduction

12

Map of Venice

14

Short Story

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Acknowledgements

90

About the Artist

92

List of Works

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FOREWARD

r Meeting before the Parade

I have always had enormous admiration for Paul Kelly’s work and for his dedication to his craft. I’ve known and worked with Paul for over twenty years and he is not one to be influenced by current trends, clichés or formulae. Somehow over the years, he has managed to maintain his own identity and individuality as an artist. Paul has developed his skills of observation to the point where he is able to focus on just those precise details that convey the essence of a scene, and which can bring a painting to life. While many painters prefer not to use figures in their landscapes, Paul favours strong compositional and design elements, with figures featuring prominently in much of his work, as the paintings in this book testify. However it’s not just these characteristics that make Paul Kelly the talented painter he is today. It is also the many years of sheer hard work and dedication to a discipline he so obviously loves. The lavish paintings reproduced throughout this book are a real joy to the eye. Together with the poetic musings of Cathy Barron and Joyce Ward’s touching story, it cannot fail to uplift and inspire.

Norman Teeling 9


PREFACE

My relationship with the city of Venice began in my late thirties. I’m glad it didn’t happen when I was younger, as I’m sure I would have been too impatient for the obvious attractions and less eager to look beneath the surface. I now feel that Venice needs a somewhat more mature perspective for its overwhelming presence to be fully appreciated. I cannot say I didn’t know what to expect on my first painting trip there. I had read all the books and some of my favourite paintings in the world are Venetian scenes by artists dear to my heart. So it was a sense of the familiar that I felt on my first visit to the wonderful City of Light. I was prepared to be amazed, and I was instantly captivated. On my return journeys, I spent time trying to uncover some of Venice’s many hidden layers and to explore what contribution (if any) I could possibly make to the body of work that already exists on the subject. I was drawn to her character - the old worn stone buildings, the ever-changing light reflected along the canals and her obvious opulence. This place appealed to me very much. But when I returned again for Carnevale di Venezia, I witnessed a very different Venice. I found an event of pure theatre, with the magnificent city this time merely the backdrop to the lavish masks, extravagant costumes and festive frolics. I began filling small canvasses with interesting figures I’d seen at Carnevale - Venetian couples, regal gentlemen, beautiful women - all in their finery, all there for me to paint. Without any intention of it ever becoming the study it has become, I had found my contribution, my observations in oils. In this collection, I have tried to show different aspects of the city of Venice during festival time. Lavish scenes against a familiar background, Venetians and visitors alike vividly dressed. And amidst the colour, noise and bustle, I’ve found some quiet moments. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed painting them.

Paul Kelly

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Towards the Piazza from Salute p

Gondolas gently keep rhythm with the silver-grey lagoon; Lying on the straight stretching canals; picturesque and tranquil Taking their rest after their day’s toll As the evening approaches

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INTRODUCTION

Paul Kelly first exhibited with the Gorry Gallery some twenty years ago in the spring of 1992, and the show was an unprecedented success. From a market-gardening family in Rush, County Dublin, Paul Kelly’s early paintings were inspired by the local Fingal countryside, with its flat farming land and coastline; its small harbours and fishing vessels. This environment heightened his spiritual vision and – like the 17th century Dutch painters before him – he crafted expansive landscapes with great sensitivity. In later exhibitions, he expanded both the range and scale of his work, introducing figures and animals increasingly. His portrayals of rural domestic life, threshing and horse fairs, thatching scenes and steam rallies, were enthusiastically received. Although it was never Paul’s intention to paint ‘commercial’ work, there developed an almost insatiable appetite for these pictures, and this unsettled him, regardless of how rewarding it had become. He lost his artistic drive and stopped painting. What saved him at this time was Lambay Island, a daily sight off the coast near his home. Margaret and Patrick Kelly (no relation) resided on the island, and they invited him to rusticate there, in the hope that the solitude would revive his spirits. It certainly did. On Lambay, Paul discovered the perfect idyll he needed in which to paint. The result, his ground-breaking exhibition: ‘Lambay – Portrait of an Island’ in 2004. In the following years, he travelled to Morocco, Prague and Budapest to paint, exhibiting the resulting work with the Gorry Gallery. Later, he changed direction again with a tour of Brittany, following in the footsteps of the many Irish and

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international artists who had set up a painting colony there in the late 19th century. Paul was particularly taken by the Breton Pardons - religious processions in traditional costumes - something which would sow the seeds of his later Venetian work, the subject of this book. His brush portrayed Breton culture and history, featuring Concarneau, Pont Aven, Bénodet, Quimper, Quimperlé and Raz, and this body of work was exhibited with us in 2010. Artists are constantly searching for new subjects to paint that truly motivate and inspire. In Paul Kelly’s case it was his first painting trip to Venice, when he stayed in the studio of Ken Howard, RA. The magic of Venice, where time has stood still, mesmerised him in the same was as it has drawn legions of painters over the centuries; from Canaletto to Guardi, from Bonington to Turner and Sargent. On one such visit, Paul encountered Carnevale di Venezia, and it engrossed, enthralled and inspired him, with its timeless festivities and magnificent costumes with masks, feathers and fans. The collection of work in this beautiful book and the accompanying exhibition which we are proud to host, are Paul Kelly’s 21st century interpretation of this spectacular event. I hope that the lavish illustrations will transport the spirit of the viewer to the Carnevale to share in the artist’s intimate vision.

James Gorry, The Gorry Gallery September 2012

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Map of Venice 1565 by Bolognino Zaltieri q

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The Feeling a short story by Joyce Ward

Sometimes in the shadows of his living room he’d get the feeling. Some would describe it as a gust of wind, disturbing leaves. Some might say it was the quiet hiss of a seashell held to the ear, but Beppe mostly felt it rather than heard it. When it happened, he would lose all sense of time. It wasn’t a dramatic thing, just a feeling someone familiar was near him, often his beloved Pappa. And it didn’t just happen at home either. It first started happening when he was at work on the barge, but it could happen anywhere - in the little bar where he liked to have his coffee near Santa Croce, or sometimes even when he was just walking. It was always when he least expected it. An hour ago, he was standing in line at the butchers, mulling over some little lamb cutlets. He salivated as he pictured grilling them with garlic oil and steaming some broccoli to eat with them. Maybe he would have a glass of wine and some crusty bread to mop up the juices. But he had a dilemma that blotted out his tender daydream of dinner. He had to find a way of asking for the cutlets he had spotted underneath the ones the Guido would want to give him. Guido was a well-known figure locally, a bit of a climber, something most obvious when the wife of the Mayor or a local councillor was in the shop. He could be pleasant if you popped in when the shop was quiet. He’d whistle or pass the time shuffling from foot to foot, breathing heat into his large, pink, cold hands. But now with the shop full of fussing, noisy, particular women, Guido was under pressure and you had to shout up to be heard. Notoriously inclined to keep the best meat for his favourite customers, he was loud if challenged. His deep voice would fill the shop and could be heard by passers-by. Beppe had always hated being shouted at, and when asked to repeat himself, he’d feel like the whole world stopped to listen to his creaking shallow voice.

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So there he stood, composing the best way to ask Guido for the better-looking cutlets. He considered carefully what he would say. He would need to be discreet. He would need to be quick lest someone start complaining. The woman behind him pushed into him impatiently. As the woman before him got ready to pay he steeled himself. Then he felt a sudden change of pressure in his ears. The chatter of the busy shop became dulled, muffled. His heart began to wallop and he felt cold. A peculiar combination of aromas washed over him: tobacco, the lining of his father’s coat, shoe-polish, the commercial disinfectant they used in the barge, sawdust... Engulfed by the density of feeling, Beppe reeled. Suddenly, Guido was looking straight at him. The whole shop seemed to have stopped to watch him, its noise suspended. Beppe started. His stomach lurched. He felt his mouth parch. He scrambled to get his mind to connect again. His carefully composed sentence was locked tightly behind his tongue. He felt hot tears of frustration well up in his eyes. What was wrong with him? Why couldn’t he speak? What had he done to deserve this? He was an honest law-abiding man. Who did he give trouble to?

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Guido held him for a long moment with a dizzying glare then promptly nodded to the woman behind him. Instantly, the bustle and clamour came roaring back. Her practised volley of an order came out like gunfire as she pushed past Beppe up to the counter, followed by two more women and a large yellow-faced man. When had he stepped out of the queue? He knew with sinking certainty as he looked along the snaking rush-hour queue that he would have no chance of cutting in without starting a formidable row. He shuffled to the door and then pretended with an unnecessary gesture, to remember something at home and left. He suspected that he fooled no one. He couldn’t go back there for a while. Why was this happening to him? Why did it happen at most the embarrassing times? He felt sure they would all think him a fool. He only wanted a nice dinner and a glass of wine, an hour of warmth glowing in the closing evening light. He walked home through the darkening streets shrouded in sea-mist and he felt so alone. Home was a simple apartment at street level in San Polo, with a small wood-burning stove and a couple of armchairs. Neat, ordered bookshelves held a statue of the Madonna, his books and framed photographs of his mother, father and some family occasions. His neighbours were mostly elderly friends of his parents who would call down to him if they heard him in his yard. He loved his yard, with its scattering of wildflowers and herbs that had pushed uninvited out of cracks in the cobbling. Beams of sunlight filtered down through the fire-escapes and balconies and threw colour around his afternoons. He always made a point of collecting seed and stale rolls in little bags whenever he passed a bakery and he would feed pigeons and starlings when they flew down into the yard. The little birds that came were his visitors and welcome. This place was his sanctuary, his escape from the noise and chatter. In spring and summer, he would sit at his back door in the shade and watch birds busy with their brief lives, finding mates, building nests, feeding their young. He watched the world in the same way. He enjoyed watching life, even if he felt outside of it. Beppe’s was a simple life. His job, his walks, the little coffee bars and watching people were his pleasures. He often sat in a church just enjoying the quiet and watching people coming and going. Sometimes he would lean over one of the busier bridges just enjoying the gondoliers’ badinage. And the tourists were a rich source of colour for this observer. A lot of his neighbours tolerated tourists at best, but Beppe liked observing them. He would sometimes have a coffee near the Rialto and ‘collect’ tourists; the rich ones who ‘did it all’, the students who fell in love with every building and bridge, the poor day-trippers who ran around trying to see everything in an afternoon! Now and again he would wonder at humanity - teenagers who only had eyes and ears for themselves; people who would come halfway around the world and then spend their visit complaining. One woman sitting on a step in Piazza San Marco, fighting on her mobile phone with someone in another country, was weeping. And those people who ignored the beauty altogether and stayed in the shops buying everything in sight! It seemed to him that happiness was as elusive to the wealthy as it was to the rest of mankind. He watched hoards of honeymooners acting as if the city had been laid out for them, stopping at every bridge and church to kiss or photograph each other. He was fascinated by those bored couples who walked along looking at the ground, unspeaking, and

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uninterested in anything around them. Those who walked with sadness around the beautiful city because they weren’t sharing it made him feel sad too. And then, there were the artists. They stood gazing, drinking in the centuries of artistry, eyes devouring a great banquet of beauty, their hearts pounding with inspiration and the urge to capture every moment; every shadow; every new colour. And those with the soul of an artist, though they never lifted a brush. Beppe felt his city belonged to the artists more than lovers or shoppers or

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anyone else. They came to see the magical impression of other imaginations and the majesty of nature. They fell in love with life here. They felt that movement in the soul, that leap of creativity that mankind has always tried to express, whether on a cave wall, a canvas or a cinema screen. He knew something of their happiness. He understood, in his quiet way, the utter joy of looking. A placid man, Beppe rarely argued or bickered with anyone and as a result became known as Il piccolo monaco (little monk). He was a diligent worker, and never gave cheek to the caposquadra (foreman) or complained about conditions. He saw it as his duty to work quietly and do a good job. Even that one really cold winter when the Laguna froze and they had to collect the bins with little hand-pulled carts and he got a dreadful chest infection; even then, Beppe didn’t complain or gripe. He’d begun to work on the barges with his uncle while still at school. Beppe was no gifted scholar and had been pushed around in school because of his quiet nature, so the job brought an opportunity to leave and earn some money. He’d found he loved the work and stayed. The enjoyment of being useful is true fulfilment to an industrious soul. Each day brought an occurrence - an argument, an accident or a funny moment. Along his route he would regularly meet a cast of characters - colleagues, city workers, fishermen, bakers, deliverymen, gondoliers and drunks. Some would wave, others would stop and share some news or a little gossip. Some he could tell time by. Some he simply watched as they worked or passed. This was a joy to him for he loved to observe the people of Venice going about their business. For a city built on a lagoon, surprisingly little day to day business is obstructed by the lack of terra firma. As children, Venetians are not only taught to swim almost as soon as they can walk, but also to row and manage a boat. Relatively few fall into the water, but when they

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do, the response is efficient. The water-ambulances are rapid and the crews experienced. Given all of its unique characteristics, Venice is a global model of efficiency, engineering and clever thinking. Centuries of challenge have made her a well-oiled machine when it comes to problem-solving and inventiveness. The refuse barge that Beppe skippered was one such solution. A city on water with hundreds of tiny alleys, 10,000 inhabitants and 30 million visitors a year, needs inventive thinking to prevent the rubbish from piling up. Rubbish is collected by street-sweepers who gather the residential refuse in metal cages on wheels. These are brought to collection points along the canals and rii then emptied into the barge, which brings the refuse to a recycling depot. There the rubbish is processed into fuel which in turn supplies the power station. Simple and ingenious, and Beppe loved being part of it. It was enough for Beppe to work at a job which he saw as important and worthy. He didn’t care for the materialistic life some of his younger co-workers went on about. All that boasting and one-upmanship just led to unhappiness. His partner on the barge, Massimo, didn’t care for such talk either, so they got along fine. He too, was quiet and didn’t chatter all day the way some of the men did. Beppe liked that about Massimo. He was friendly but he never intruded. One warm summer’s morning, as he manoeuvred the barge around the smaller canals, Beppe heard a commotion. He looked around and saw a beautiful young woman running with a refuse sack. She was a vision in a pale green dress, with an angelic face framed by honeyed hair. ‘Oh please can you stop? Am I too late?’ she called as she ran. Beppe stopped the grinder (against regulations) and popped the engine into reverse (also against regulations) and slowly backed up to the steps on the quayside. He could see she had been crying, her pretty face dark with anxiety and her bright green eyes red around the rims. ‘I’m so sorry, I missed the collection and it’s really important, can you take it?’ Always a gentleman, Beppe climbed the steps and took the bag, nodding. ‘It’s ok’ he said, almost in a whisper. ‘Oh thank you! What is your name?’ she asked. His voice caught: ’It’s Bep...eh, Guiseppe’ he croaked. ‘Thank you Guiseppe! You have really helped me, grazie mille!’ she said and she leaned down and kissed his cheek. Howls and whistles erupted from the street crew as he dropped the unlabelled bag (a fineable offence!) into the grinder and started up the engine. She ran off to a chorus of wolf whistles and as Beppe watched, she turned to wave at him. Blushing, he noticed Massimo was grinning, wagging a finger at him. Beppe beamed as he steered the barge under the barge, oblivious to the cheers of the little crowd above. He later learned that the bag had contained expensive clothes, shoes and confidential documents belonging to a senior councilman, who had been having an affair with the girl behind his wife’s (and his mistress’s) back. It became a big story and Beppe was secretly delighted about his small part in the scandal. The documents had been crucial to negotiations on a pay deal which failed to go through on time, causing a council workers’ strike, which caused the councilman to lose his seat. Then his wife filed for divorce. Then his mistress sold her story to the papers. The young woman who had kissed Beppe became a model, and some years later she got her own TV show. Every time anything appeared in the papers about any of those involved, Massimo would grin and wag his finger. She became known as ‘Beppe’s girl’ so it was a huge shock when a few years later they learned that she had been killed in a car crash in Napoli. Beppe was heartbroken that someone so beautiful and brave would not get a longer chance at life.

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As a small boy, at his mother insistence, his father had brought him to the Carnevale. Astride his father’s shoulders, Beppe was slightly afraid, as the lanes and alleyways swarmed with crowds of revellers and jostled them. His little arms tightened around his father’s forehead for balance as they negotiated the chaos. His father would point out the different characters. “Il Dottore’ is the one with the pointed snout. He carries herbs in the long nose to prevent him from catching the plague.” Arlecchino was the funny acrobat and Beppe liked him best. “And these two are ‘Gli Inamorati’ who often quarrel and bicker, but love each other, just like Mamma and Pappa, eh?” Beppe’s father had chuckled. Beautiful, mysterious and garish caricatures loomed out of the foggy February air, masques frozen in mid-squeal. Lush velvets and brocades rustled past him in a swirl of colour and fragrance. And the noise! There was laughter, musicians vying with each other, foreign mouths babbling, firecrackers, vendors and gondoliers shouting at the crowd. He was glad he was up on his Pappa’s shoulders for he felt he would surely be lost and trampled if he were on foot. On every step, bridge and window-ledge sat a painted harlot, a dandy, a jester. Musicians tooted and plucked and argued in song. He remembered clearly smells of candied apples, roasting meats and warming punch as people went wheeling past them. String quartets arm-wrestling with shouts of buffoonery as street performers tumbled and fluted, competing for coins from the crowd. Beppe’s favourite part of the day out was the tranquillity Basilica dei Frari, the quiet church on the way home where his father stopped to pray. Beppe sat with his hands joined, swinging his legs as his father knelt in meditation. Great pillars towered overhead, crowded with cherubs and angels, making him crane his neck as his eyes tracing the intricate depictions of biblical tales. Great warriors, guardians of faith and righteousness watched him as he leaned into his fathers’ side for warmth. Outside, the streets crashed onward in a noisy clatter and whoop of festivity, but inside it was quiet and cool and he felt safe. There was no hurry here. Centuries of contemplation had left its print on the atmosphere. Humble, head-scarved women stole in, softly moving around the Stations or kneeling at the candle-stalls, whispering long-practiced prayers, giving thanks to God. The silence would be broken momentarily by a cough, a confessional door banging or creaking shoes, only to close around them again. Getting up to leave, his father wrapped his still-warm tobacco-scented scarf around Beppe’s neck and hands, but Beppe didn’t mind the cold and loved the journey home on his father’s shoulders. As they walked through the quieter alleyways and over the off-beat bridges, they would play ‘I Spy’. Pappa always let him win. Turning into their own alley, he could smell his mother’s lamb stew cooking. Standing at the fireplace smiling, she had her arms outstretched to him as they opened the door. It is every Venetian’s duty to make the best of the Carnevale for the visitors, but it makes refuse-collecting even trickier - twice the rubbish, twice the traffic on the waterways and five times the people! Most Venetians are justifiably proud of their beautiful and ancient home. Rarely would you find a citizen deliberately vandalising or scattering rubbish about. It was an understanding

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you were raised with and a condition of living in the world’s most precious city. Even in times when the flood waters seemed to be winning with enough unrelenting damp to dishearten the staunchest Venetian; even then, something would redeem it. A sight of the rippling water throwing diffused morning light up into the alleyways. Or a glimpse of a cherub blanketed in snow above a church door or figures over an archway revealed by the orange glow of a nut-roasters stove. And to Beppe, keeping the rubbish off the streets and out of the water was paramount to that relationship.

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At Carnevale, everyone wants to be photographed in costume on a gondola, and the canals become a boiling cauldron of boats, barges and water-taxis. More than once Beppe had to fight his corner on the streets and waterways. Venice is so busy and so full of people that inevitably arguments arise about right of way and precedence. But Beppe’s colleagues knew him to be the safest, most tolerant of barge skippers who would settle more arguments than he ever got into. However, with high-speed vessels like police launches and ambulances tearing up and down the canals, the wake that followed could be very dangerous, especially to the less experienced sailor. The crew had to work harder to be unobtrusive and efficient whilst remaining upright in the water. Sometimes people fell in or barges would collide, causing mayhem. Beppe remembered last year’s Carnevale vividly because of the accident. Fog had settled in for some days before Carnevale and it had made their routine a lengthy one. There seemed to be a lot of police activity on the canals that particular day, what with different dignitaries and celebrities arriving. The resultant waves combined with spring tide, made progress for canal-users slow and dangerous, and the bin-barge bumped against the quays making the collection precarious. On one quay, the hydraulic hoist was making several attempts to lower the basket into the grinder. With the constant heavy wash, the basket - a heavy steel cage which held the refuse bags - kept missing the door, swinging and crashing against the side of the barge. Massimo was at the helm trying to steer the basket with a punt pole. He’d become frustrated with it, shouting to Beppe that it was impossible. Beppe, who was operating the hoist, gestured him that they would switch places. He pushed the joystick up to its neutral position, and clambered down to the grinder door to help steer the basket in. Just then, a huge wave from the wake of a speed launch headed in their direction and Massimo signalled that he would try to lower the basket before it reached them. As he climbed up to the control box, the wave hit them and he lost his balance, his feet sliding out in front of him. His arms flailed and struck the joystick, which he grabbed. His weight pulled the lever fully down to the ‘drop’ position. Without warning, the hydraulic arm swung outwards and struck Beppe full on the forehead. Soundlessly, he fell backwards into the water. He could hear Massimo yelling in the far off distance. The shock of the icy water closed around him like a cloak, shutting out light. His last memory was lifting his hand up touch a large depression in his forehead before he succumbed to the cold blackness. All of that business seemed a long time ago to him now. He knew that the street-cart crew and passers-by had jumped to the rescue. That, along with the swift response from the services, ensured that Beppe was in hospital within 25 minutes of the accident. He had little memory of the time it had taken to recover, but now he had no after effects except for this strange feeling that came over him from time to time. Perhaps it was to do with the considerable crack in his skull. He had been very lucky, all told, not to have much more serious injuries. He knew of a man in his neighbourhood who had fallen off a ladder from a first floor window he was painting. He had banged his head on the windowsill and only had a little cut. The man had died the same afternoon, so Beppe knew how lucky he was. Some things had changed in work. After the accident, they had insisted that everyone wear life jackets now whilst working. This was sensible and had actually been introduced some years before but now it was compulsory. Some people, including Massimo, were unhappy with it. There is a certain pride in being a careful and experienced seaman.

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He felt too, that maybe he was considered bad luck on board now. Although he had gone back to work he felt he didn’t really have a role on the barge anymore. Massimo had become more sullen than ever and there was a new young lad, Enzo, working on the barge with them who also had little to say. And all Massimo seemed to do was shout at the kid, if he did speak at all. He was a good kid really, but clearly Massimo wasn’t happy with him or Beppe anymore. Beppe seemed to lose track of time lately. He noticed that he was sleeping heavily these days and he found he was forgetting things. He often forgot what day it was and frequently found himself at the church waiting for mass, only to discover it was the wrong day. He found himself walking for hours around the city and wouldn’t realise where he was or how far he had come. Several times he had returned home and couldn’t find his key. One day he came home and found his little apartment covered in dust. The door into the yard had been left open and the birds had been in. This strange feeling was the oddest thing. Starting suddenly with a noise of the sea or the wind, he would become overwhelmed with familiar smells and sounds. Sometimes he had no idea how long it would go on for. Strangest of all one day, he found himself in the middle of a crowd at Carnevale. The music, the vibrant colours, vendors shouting, smells of food and perfumes flooded his senses. It swam in his head and he found himself wandering towards the steps of San Zaccaria where a small concert was taking place. He mostly looked around at the people in costumes. One or two seemed to smile and nod at him which he felt a little shy about. As people around him clapped and whistled, he noticed a young woman in a black mask wearing a rich green costume looking straight at him, smiling. He thought little of it, but as he moved off, she waved and called: ‘Ciao Guiseppe!’ His heart skipped a beat. Was it the girl in the green dress from all those years ago? It couldn’t have been! But when he looked again she had moved off into the crowd. He slept fitfully that night, and dreamt of the girl. This time she was at the quayside, still in her mask, but she was crying and waving at him. He woke up with a start and felt all over again the tragedy of her early death. The feeling stayed with him all day. Work had felt very gloomy. Massimo was silent for most of it, going off by himself to have coffee at break time. Enzo was permanently stuck to his mobile phone so Beppe simply sat and watched the crowds going by. In the afternoon he became worried about Massimo. He was late coming back from his break. Even the street crew were quiet and barely acknowledged him. A fog was slipping in from the sea as the light began to fade. Almost at the end of the shift, Massimo pulled in at a quay and lit a cigarette. Stopping the engine, he stood at the bow of the barge with his back to them. On the quayside, revellers were starting to pour into the central streets in costume, some with torches lit, and music was starting up again in the side streets. Beppe looked up at the quay, wondering why they were stopped there for so long. ‘Massimo, let’s move on, it’s getting dark!’ he called, but Massimo didn’t respond. Beppe saw the foreman coming towards them from the quayside and he moved towards where Massimo was standing. He went to call him again and saw he was crying softly. ‘Massimo, what is it?’ No answer came.

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Beppe felt suddenly lonely and afraid. He turned to say something to the foreman and noticed he and two of the street crew were bring something down to the water’s edge. Massimo moved away towards the quay without looking at him. Beppe felt his stomach lurching. What was it? Why did he feel so strange? He looked at Massimo and saw him take something from the foreman and hang it on a hook at the side of the quay wall. Then they all blessed themselves. Beppe’s hand moved automatically to his head, but instead of blessing himself, he found himself staring into the distance. Stroking his forehead absentmindedly he sensed the feeling coming back again. His heart began to wallop in his chest. Panic rising in his throat, he realised something. There was no scar, no mark. The water lapped gently against the wreath as the fog drew in around them.

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Renaissance revisited Anonymous pair Resting, inquisitive The watchers stare

The Watchers q

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r The Conversation

Masqueraders o

The vacant gaze Monochrome in motion A ‘double take’ Serene and elegant Pause for thought A quiet moment

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o Gathering for the Procession

In her Finery q

Like blood in the veins of the streets of Venice masqueraders pulse continuously over bridges and down narrow laneways Hard to contain in one space they spill out of Piazza San Marco and pour down stone-cobbled alleyways staining the streets with a riotous palette of colour

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Gold embellishments adorn the patrons Venetian red plumage; a velvet cloak swings Dark-eyed, mysterious, beautiful, ageless Silk skirts, lacy ruffles, a ruby red ring

p The Chaperone

Trident Couple q 34


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p Woman in Green Hat

p A Noble Lady

Meeting in Venice q 36


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r Opulent Pair

r Carnival Display

The procession passes by. Fantastic costumes fill my sight. My vision is flooded with eloquent detail. Aromas from nearby cafÊs tantalise. Laughter and chatter fill the air. Pocket-sized dogs yelp in excitement. Colours and sounds and smells delight the senses. Too much to consume all at once! Caught up in the parade, I’m held a willing captive in Piazza San Marco. 39


40


p Procession March

p Dandy Cavalier

r Master of Ceremonies 41


42


r Reflected Gaze

Regal Gentleman p 43


p Silk Ladies

p Sitting on Steps, Piazza San Marco

The Mirror q 44


45


46


Bellissima Ragazza q

Resplendent in finery Adorned and embellished Each detail precise She quietly waits

r Little Venetian 47


p The Family

Two Dandies q 48


49


The flick of a wrist exposes flesh;

A dainty arm bent just so.

Broad smile, laughing voice A glimpse of a lover’s eye...

Laughing Couple q

p San Pietro di Castello 50


51


p Beauty Leading the Ceremony

p Stepping Out

Caught up in the Bustle q 52


53


p The Pose

Young Venetian Couple q 54


55


p Ladies in Waiting, green and blue 56


Elegant Costumes in White q

Hidden Faces

q 57


58


r The Jester

Gathered for ‘Flight of the Angel’ p 59


60


r Birdcages

After the Celebrations p 61


A myriad of narrow streets like outstretched fingers reach out from St Mark’s Square to quaysides and campi to San Polo and Santa Croce Glimpses of the Rio Madonna dell’Orto are visible through archways and alleyways Shop windows spring into life with marionettes masks and Murano glass

Venetian Shop Window q 62


63


p Venetian Masks

p Carnival Cats

Three Marionettes q 64


65


Oratorios and cantatas echo and resound off classical facades and baroque palaces Church doorways – elegant or modest – entice you in where treasures are to be found In the Chieza di San Zaccaria Bellini’s ‘Madonna and Child with Saints’ awaits you...

Street Musicians q 66


67


p Street Performance

p The Embrace

68


Carnival Dance q

The Last Dance q 69


Worn figures loom in the darkness, lonely ghosts in faded elegance Stone statues line the doorways, gate-keepers - silent and waiting Cracked, chipped and covered with moss, they survive the vicissitudes of time and weather Carved columns salute the breaking dawn. Above San Marco four horses reign Standing testament to her glorious past

70


r Horses of St. Mark

Marble Figures o

71


p Salute detail, Winged Angel

p Altar detail, Carved Angels

Ceiling detail, Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo q 72


73


Mosaic, pink marble and porphyry tapestries Have embellished this palace over the centuries Standing on ancient Istrian arcades Such splendour within; outer beauty fades!

Interior Courtyard, Doge’s Palace q 74


75


76


The evening mist begins to fall Creating shadows across the lagoon The light of the half-moon Not quite darkness – not quite still light The magic of Venice begins to ignite And draws you in

r Cloister Walkway

Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge p 77


p Busy Canal Scene

p Gondola Ride

Waiting Gondoliers, Campo Santa Maria Maddelena q 78


79


Towards Rialto Bridge q

From soft silver blues and greys to sparkling sunlit warm yellows and golden browns The reflection of Venice is ever-changing on the lagoon that surrounds

p Mooring Poles, Grand Canal

Sunlight and Shadows, Side Canal q 80


81


82


o Quiet Afternoon, Rio di San Barnaba

Waiting Gondola o

A gondola ride The Bridge of Sighs ‘O Sole Mio?’ The gondoliers oblige! r Bridge of Sighs 83


o Behind the Fish Market

84


Venice Canal o

Shuttered windows on sun-drenched balconies above choppy cold currents Dark green waters engulf the city finding snug little enclaves to fill

85


o Late Evening, Santi Giovanni e Paolo

86


Winter Scene, Ca’ Dario o

87


o End of the Day

88


Part of every visitor’s soul gets anchored here.

89


o Greeting in St. Mark’s Square

Fresh cheek pressed tenderly in a welcome embrace Long white gloves encase Gentle hands Lovingly placed, they convey Warm greetings, this Carnival day

90


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like thank Cathy - my constant, and my family, for always believing in my art. My thanks also to my dear friends James and Thérèse Gorry, whose advice, guidance and encouragement is always to hand. To the great master, Sunny Apinchapong-Yang - I am forever grateful. To Norman Teeling, for his support and generosity in helping to make this book possible, a huge ‘Thank you’. Thanks also to Joyce Ward, for her humour and friendship, and Bernie McNelis for her critical eye as editor. Thanks are also due to Paul Rattigan and Joan Burke at Zeus Medea Publishing who took on my ideas and made them reality, and to Gillian Buckley for her wonderful photography. Finally, a very special ‘Thank You’ to the Gorry Gallery, 20 Molesworth Street Dublin 2 for hosting my exhibitions over the last 20 years and for helping launch this, my first book.

Paul Kelly, September 2012

91


Paul Kelly was born in Dublin and has been a professional artist for more than 25 years. Completely self-taught, his traditional pre-impressionist palette has resulted in numerous successful sell-out exhibitions. Well known in Ireland for his paintings of the Irish landscape, Paul Kelly first start showing in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1990 and the following year was awarded the James Kennedy Memorial Award for Portraiture. His painting ‘The Liffey Rowers’ was exhibited at the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington. Paul has been included in ‘‘Who’s Who in Ireland’ and has also received the ‘Ireland Fund of Great Britain Artist of the Year’ award. Paul’s work is included in many public and private collections, including the Bank of Ireland and the Brian P Burns Collection in America. He continues to be a frequent world traveller in search of his next subject.

92


93


LIST OF WORKS PAGE

Title

Frontispiece

Welcome to ‘Carnevale di Venezia’

Oil on canvas 30x40cm

8

Meeting before the Parade

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

11

Towards the Piazza from Salute

Oil on canvas 22x33cm

16

Towards The Santa Maria Della Salute

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

17 Moored Gondolas, View Towards San Giorgio Maggione

Oil on canvas 22x33cm

19

Umbrellas on the Piazzette

Oil on canvas 27x22cm

20

Casanova

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

23

Canal Reflections

Oil on canvas 30x30cm

24

Leisurely Stroll

Oil on canvas 24x30cm

27

Side Canal

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

29

The Watchers

Oil on canvas 38x46cm

30

The Conversation

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

31

Masqueraders

Oil on canvas 33x24cm

32

Gathering for the Procession

Oil on canvas 22x33cm

33

In her Finery

Oil on canvas 46x33cm

34

The Chaperone

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

35

Trident Couple

Oil on canvas 46x38cm

36

Woman in Green Hat

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

36

A Noble Lady

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

37

Meeting in Venice

Oil on canvas 40x30cm

38

Opulent Pair

Oil on canvas 30x30cm

39

Carnival Display

Oil on canvas 46x33cm

40

Master of Ceremonies

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

41

Procession March

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

41

Dandy Cavalier

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

42

Reflected Gaze

Oil on canvas 30x30cm

43

Regal Gentleman

Oil on canvas 40x30cm

44

Silk Ladies

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

44

Sitting on Steps, Piazza San Marco

Oil on canvas 46x33cm

45

The Mirror

Oil on canvas 46x38cm

46

Little Venetian

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

47

Bellissima Ragazza

Oil on canvas 46x33cm

48

The Family

Oil on canvas 40x30cm

49

Two Dandies

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

50

San Pietro di Castello

Oil on canvas 22x33cm

51

Laughing Couple

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

52

Beauty Leading the Ceremony

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

52

Stepping Out

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

53

Caught up in the Bustle

Oil on canvas 46x38cm

94


54

The Pose

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

55

Young Venetian Couple

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

56

Ladies in Waiting, green and blue

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

57

Elegant Costumes in White

Oil on canvas 19x24cm

57

Hidden Faces

Oil on canvas 19x24cm

58

The Jester

Oil on canvas 30x30cm

59

Gathered for ‘Flight of the Angel’

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

60

Birdcages

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

61

After the Celebrations

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

63

Venetian Shop Window

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

64

Venetian Masks

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

64

Carnival Cats

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

65

Three Marionettes

Oil on canvas 30x24cm

67

Street Musicians

Oil on canvas 33x24cm

68

Street Performance

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

68

The Embrace

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

69

Carnival Dance

Oil on canvas 18x24cm

69

The Last Dance

Oil on canvas 18x24cm

70

Horses of St. Mark

Oil on wood 25x30cm

71

Marble Figures

Oil on wood 25x30cm

72

Salute detail, Winged Angel

Oil on wood 30x35cm

72

Altar detail, Carved Angels

Oil on wood 30x25cm

73

Ceiling detail, Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Oil on wood 35x25cm

75

Interior Courtyard, Doge’s Palace

Oil on wood 27x22cm

76

Cloister Walkway

77

Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge

78

Busy Canal Scene

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

78

Gondola Ride

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

79

Waiting Gondoliers, Campo Santa Maria Maddelena

Oil on canvas 30x30cm

80

Mooring Poles, Grand Canal

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

81

Towards Rialto Bridge

Oil on canvas 25x35cm

81

Sunlight and Shadows, Side Canal

Oil on board 30.5x40.7cm

82

Bridge of Sighs

Oil on wood 40x30cm

83

Quiet Afternoon, Rio di San Barnaba

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

83

Waiting Gondola

Oil on canvas 24x18cm

84

Behind the Fish Market

Oil on canvas 33x41cm

85

Venice Canal

Oil on canvas 30x40cm

86

Late Evening, Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Oil on canvas 25x35cm

87

Winter Scene, Ca’ Dario

Oil on canvas 33x41cm

88

End of the Day

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

90

Greeting in St. Mark’s Square

Oil on canvas 40x40cm

96

Small Courtyard

Oil on canvas 33x24cm

95

Oil on canvas 33x22cm

Oil on canvas 22x33cm


o Small Courtyard

96



Carnival