Serenissima & Summertime

The summer ended recently. It’s the beginning of a new season. WTF do I talk about? I can’t do a review of the year as I haven’t had this site for a whole year. Nor has the calendar year ended. And I’m not much for World Series or NFL predictions or prognostication. Go Yankees! Guess I’ll just see where the keyboard and my imagination takes me.

I recently rented a film from the deep dark past. I mention it now, as some of you might be preparing for winter’s onslaught – some of you have already experienced a preview of winter’s snow, ice, and the likelihood was that you weren’t ready for it. Imagine going a baseball game in Denver in a parka . At least Denver’s baseball worries have ended.

My girl friend in Harbin, China once told me the weather there wasn’t so bad — on one particular day, in a past winter, her local temperatures hit a high of 6° and a low of minus 12°F. And she said, “Not so bad — this is better than usual!” I mention this just to set the scene. But we aren’t going to Harbin. Or discussing Harbin’s Ice Festival. What we will talk about in this column truly has a light and warm air about it.

Well, the title of the movie I rented was Summertime. It was released in 1955, and the story is simple. An American spinster’s dream of romance finally becomes a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome but married Italian man while vacationing in Venice.

Katherine Hepburn plays Jane Hudson, the middle aged American woman who will experience the ’sexual revolution’ of the 1950’s with her leading man Rossano Brazzi’s Renaldo, a quiet yet broadminded and lonely married man.

What a film! Yes, it is summer, in Venice — romance is in the air — and it’s all smashingly filmed in glorious Technicolor. The flavors and passions of Venetian nights simmer deliciously. What could be better than a quick look at another time of the year — when some of us need to escape the real winter storms and those that are yet to come, bringing those fierce cold snaps that will keep us indoors?

To complete the picture of many a wonderful summer experience, long since passed, I will throw in some fabulous Venetian scenes as painted by Mark Pettit. The art is stunning in its detail as the sun makes everything alive and warm in Pettit’s realistic yet idealized Venice aka Serenissima. Below Is Venetian Colors05SSvenetiancolorsx

… followed by Gondolas


Following below this text is Riva del Vin (top) and Touring the Grand Canal (bottom). There’s no doubt that the artist has captured Venice in all its glory, right down to the sunlight glinting of the water. These are simply superb paintings.

David Lean directed Summertime, and the movie glows with life and warmth. The evening scene of Jane and Renaldo lying together as the sun sets over Lido is breathtaking and wouldn’t we all like to be right there right now?

For more breathtaking beauty in the world that you know, with an occasional foray elsewhere, you’ll find it all available for your delight on the pages right here at The Arts –  JustMeMike’s New Blog. For now we will say a fond arriverdici to the fabulous Serenissima that is Venezia, Italy. But in our next column, we will say hello to some glorious sights that do not require a gondola or a gondolier to get you there.