[Illustration: THE DREAM OF S. URSULA FROM THE PAINTING BY CARPACCIO In the Accademia]
The frescoes, still in fair preservation, are masterly and aristocratic; but they have left on my mind no impressions that it is a pleasure to revive. Brilliant execution is not enough.
Crossing the mouth of the Cannaregio we come to the Querini Palace, now yellow, plain, and ugly. A little campiello, a tiny ugly house and a calle, and we are opposite the Palazzo Contarini, or Lobbia, with brown poles on which a silver heart glistens. It is a huge place, now in part empty, with a pretty cable design at the corner. Next, a shady green garden and an attractive little house with a tiny roof loggia and terrace; then a yellow stucco house with a little portico under it, and then the Palazzo Gritti, now decayed and commonplace. A little house with a dog in relief on it and a pretty colonnade and fondamenta, and then the Palazzo Martinengo, or Mandelli, with that very rare thing in Venice, a public clock on the roof, and a garden.
And so we reach the shabby S. Marcuola, her campo, traghetto, and steamer station. S. Marcuola, whose facade, having never been finished, is most ragged and miserable, is a poor man’s church, visited by strangers for its early Titian and a “Last Supper” by Tintoretto. The Titian, which is dark and grimy, is quite pleasing, the infant Christ, who stands between S. Andrew and S. Catherine on a little pedestal, being very real and Venetian. There are, however, who deny Titian’s authorship; Mr. Ricketts, for example, gives the picture to Francesco Vecellio, the painter’s son. Tintoretto’s “Last Supper,” on the left of the high altar, is more convivial than is usual: there is plenty of food; a woman and children are coming in; a dog begs; Judas is noticeable. Opposite this picture is a rather interesting dark canvas blending seraphim and Italian architecture. Beside the church is the shop of a maker of oars, who may be seen very conscientiously running his eye along a new one.
A neat and smiling little house comes next, with blue and white posts and an inscription stating that it was once the home of the architect Pellegrino Orefice; then a little house with pretty windows, now an “antichita”; then the Rio di S. Marcuola; and after a small and ugly little house with a courtyard that might be made very attractive, we come to the rich crumbling red wall of the garden of the Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, which is notable as architecture, being one of the works of Pietro Lombardi, in 1481, and also as having once housed the noble Loredan family who produced more than one Doge. Many years later the Duchesse de Berry lived here; and, more interesting still, here died Richard Wagner.
We have seen Wagner’s earlier residence in Venice, in 1858-59; to this palace he came in the autumn of 1882, an old and feeble man. He was well enough to conduct a private performance of his Symphony in C at the Liceo Martello on Christmas Eve. He died quietly on the February 13th following, and was buried at Bayreuth. In D’Annunzio’s Venetian novel Il Fuoco, called, in its English translation, The Flame of Life, is most curiously woven the personality of Wagner, his ideals and theories, and his life and death in this city. It was D’Annunzio who composed the tablet on the wall.