Venice VI- dry point etch

The gondola is Venice’s most ancient row boat. Over the last 1,000 years it has evolved to become the sleek, romantic shape you see today. The first mention of the gondola is in 1094. At this time, the original gondola was much broader, shorter, and symmetrical. Today the boats are longer and thinner with their extremities extruding from the water. This also makes them more unstable. In the 1300s Gondolas were fashioned with the ornate ornamentation popular of the Baroque period.  In the 1600s its popularity soared and there were some 10,000 gondolas in Venice. Today there are approximately 400 licensed gondoliers in Venice and a similar number of boats.

A guild controls the profession of gondolier. It issues a limited number of licenses. Approximately 400. These are granted after a period of training. The training consists of around 400 hours over a six month period. The gondolier must sit a comprehensive exam which tests their knowledge of Venetian history and landmarks. In addition they have to be able to converse in several languages. No doubt, in order to be able to interact with the many tourists. They also require the practical skills to be able to handle the gondola around the many tight spaces of the Venetian canals.

Gondoliers can be seen in blue or red striped tops, red neckerchiefs and wide-brimmed straw hats and dark pants. A gondolier can earn the equivalent of up to US$150,000 per year.

Below is an edition of 6 dry point etches on soft ground, of a gondolier on one of the canals in Venice, carrying not tourists, but goods along the Venetian waterways. The gondolier in the etch was on open water on the stretch between Venice itself and the Cemetery of San Michele. Which, by the way, is well worth a visit!

Venice VI by Sarah-Alice Miles 1/6
Venice VI by Sarah-Alice Miles 2/6
Venice VI by Sarah-Alice Miles 3/6
Venice VI by Sarah-Alice Miles 4/6
Venice VI by Sarah-Alice Miles 5/6


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