John Crowley (crowleycrow) wrote,
John Crowley
crowleycrow

Readers of the Aegypt cycle may remember (or may well not) the ceiling fresco by Fumiani in Venice that is cut up in four parts to cover the new edition of Fellowes Kraft's history tomes and which I (like Pierce Moffet) wanted for my own works, for the beauty and the metafictional thrill.  I wrote about this before and of my search for an adequate image on the internet, finfing none, nor in the art libraries around me.  joculum also tried with apparently little success.

But the Web keeps webbing, and look now at this:

Soffitto  

Here is the passage in Aegypt when Kraft records his firat sight of it:

“There is, in Venice, in the church of San Pantalon, one of the most remarkable works of art I know of. It is a Baroque ceiling painting done in eye-fooling perspective by one Fumiani, whom I have heard of in no other context. His work covers the entire ceiling and its coffers as though it were one enormous easel painting; it must tell the story of the Saint, though what that story is I have never learned. Despite the convincing upward leap of its perspective, it doesn’t have the vanishing lightness of Tiepolo, it has a hallucinatory dark clarity, the figures distinct and solidly modeled, the pillars, flights of stairs, thrones, tripods, and incense-smoke so real that their great size and swift recession from the viewer is vertiginous. Most remarkable of all is that, except for a central flight of angels, there is no obvious religious import to any of it: no Virgin, no Christ, no God or Dove, no cross, no haloes, nothing. Nothing but these huge antique figures, associated in a story more than portraying one; pondering, judging, hoping, seeing, alone. The flight of angels ascends not to a Godhead but to an empty, white-clouded center of the sky.
“Just before he finished this huge work, Fumiani apparently fell from his scaffolding and was killed. Imagine."

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