PETER VAN BREDA | San Marco at Night
46 cms x 65 cms / 18" x 25½"
Oil on Canvas
A flat, muddy, waterlogged collection of islands in the middle of a lagoon doesn’t sound like the most appealing place to live. Fear forced people from their homes on the mainland in the 5th century A.D. They had to use the marshy lagoon for pro- tection from barbarian conquerors. Seeking refuge among the poor fishermen and living there as invasions continued across Italy, more and more refugees joined the first settlers and the need to build a new city grew.
More people needed more space and a stronger foundation on which to live. They had to find ways to strengthen the islands, drain and enlarge them. To do this they dug hundreds of canals and shored up the banks with wood pilings. They also used similar wood pilings as foundations for their buildings. The settlers pounded thousands of wooden piles into the mud, so close together that they were touch- ing. Then, they cut off the tops and created solid platforms for the foundations of their homes. Because the wood was underwater, it didn’t rot. There are many build- ings in Venice today that are still standing on 1000 year old piles of wood.
To build, stone had to be brought in by sea. For buildings stone masons used mostly impermeable limestones quarried in Istria and Dalmatia, nowadays Croatia; between Portorož and Pula. These stones, fashioned and modelled through centu- ries of architectural styles from the Romanesque to the Renaissance, saw the City we know and love rise from the mud.
- Peter van Breda is one of Britains leading en plein air painters. Dedicated to working outdoors, Peters enthusiasm for painting is driven by his excitement at capturing the light, mood and atmosphere of a scene on canvas. Light reflecting on water and the bridges of London that cross the River Thames have always been of foremost interest to Peter in his painting. He first came to us in the City at Gladwell Co where he charmed the gallery with his scenes of St. Pauls Cathedral and Tower Bridge, amongst others. Peters mesmerising impressionistic landscapes of London, Venice and Paris have since amassed a large following of dedicated collectors who delight in his record of these cities as they know it, in all weathers and at all times of day.
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