Thursday, 1 May 2014

Two Views of Venice

I've been listening to some of the Eighth Doctor's adventures from Big Finish recently, and one of those was The Stones of Venice, with India Fisher as the Doctor's Companion Charley Pollard. Venice in the 24th century is about to sink beneath the waves, and the Doctor has brought Charley there to see it happen. It was written by Paul Magrs.
Now, I can write what I know about Venice on the back of a postcard, but there were one or two things about this story that bothered me. The Duke, for instance. Things may have changed by the 24th century, but La Serenissima historically was ruled by a Doge, who was some sort of elected official. I also found it odd that works of art were being allowed to drown along with the city. Surely, even today, the Italian government would make some sort of rescue attempt, and in the future possibly a world government would want to save works of art for posterity. So these things niggled at me, and I didn't enjoy the story as much as I might have done, even though the web-footed amphibious gondoliers were quite fun.

For contrast, after I'd listened to the story, I watched a video called Venice through Canaletto's Eyes, made by the National Gallery. It's quite impressive to see the pictures alongside the buildings and canals today, even though there are views that Canaletto could not possibly have seen, and places where he combined two different viewpoints to make one picture. He moved buildings around, too. His pictures are so good, though, that it doesn't matter if he heightens the drama of the surroundings - he captured what Venice was like, and you can still go and see something of that today. Hopefully before it sinks into the lagoon.

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