Or that way, ⇧, depending on where you are.
The story goes as follows:
In the month of April in this, the year of Our Lord 1606, his Imperial Majesty Rudolf the Second, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, being a great lover and patron of the arts, purchased from the church of Saint Bartolomeo, here in Venice, a painting by one Albrecht Dürer, a Northern artist of the last century. The Brotherhood of the Rosary. His instructions were for the painting to be swaddled with cloth sealed in wax. And then the, ahem, four strongest men in Venice should be got—this same honour to be determined in an open competition—to raise the protected painting above their heads and carry it to the Imperial Residence in Prague, Bohemia, (pointing) that way, thus preventing any injury that might be inflicted from its transport in a cart.
The painting is more commonly known, these days, as The Feast of the Rose Garlands.
I’ve visited this gallery a few times, to see this heavy painting, painted on poplar wood, the above snapshot of a detail having been taken with my dorky ipad as a visibly discomfited guard stood by too polite to tell me to stop.
I was so engrossed with this painting, that, in all my visits, I failed to ascertain there was a second floor in the gallery. So I have to go back. That won’t be hard. My father-in-law lives there. I was married there.
Here is how the Tarragon has described the play they will present next year:
1606 and Europe is at war over God. Venice’s four strongest men are charged with transporting a holy painting across the Alps to Prague. On their way, they are set upon by Protestant zealots—their escape is attributed to a miracle. Through this mystery Sean Dixon challenges the role of faith at the dawn of the Age of Reason.
I’m glad they chose to call it a mystery, because that is essentially what it is.
There was much research I made for this play, regarding the Emperor Rudolf, the cities of Prague and Venice, the 30 Years War, the artist Albrecht Dürer (his life and work), alchemy, painting, heresy, etc. Over the course of the next year, I plan to dump it all into this brand new blog.