Letter to Hugo Boettinger,
Translation by David Pearson,
Melbourne (January 2015).
I don´t even know
where to start as there are too many beautiful things.
I have to say
though, that I am very satisfied here in Venice, not only
with old masters, but also with beautiful women of Venice
and beautiful scenery too.
It is unnecessary to
describe the greatness of old masters and their works, I
admit in front of their works I feel like a big zero. The
Primitivists are driving me mad, I wish I could just see one
of the old tiny paintings with a golden patina, with a well
preserved frame, that is eaten by worms, but how beautiful it
looks as a whole, the style. Today´s stylists try in vain to
reach this primitiveness and naivety; these ones here are
the first and the most honest ones.
It also unnecessary to say, how great the drawings of Tizian,
Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tintoretto and
mainly Tiepolo and Longhi are. And who have their own hall
here in the Academia Belle Arti.
Our artists can't match these in drawing at all. It is a
pity that the Palazzo Ducale is closed due to reconstruction
and won't be accessible to public for long.
Nearly equally as good as old masters are the women of
Venice, whose style is natural and inborn but the elegance
of local tailors is different from ours. I can't take my
eyes off them, I observe them all the time, I have drawn
many of them, but still haven't found the right one. I
started painting one and later I will send the painting to
the rector's office.
The best experience is in the evenings, after sunset, the
great light of the white palaces s against the western sky
is amazing. Also later on the promenade, when there is
light in the cafeterias and the girls are around, it is so
beautiful, and their eyes sparkle.
The coast, it is impossible to paint, I have the idea, the
colour of the far sea and sky, against the silhouettes of
the women of Venice in a warm light. (Working on it!)
Or a night on a gondola on a Grand Canale, it is amazing
when everything sings and sails, it is equal to our
Ferdinandka at night, and everything is lit by lanterns.
It is impossible to forget such an evening, full of
beautiful impressions, I would stay here and not go anywhere
In the mornings I go to see churches and draw a few sketches
in the afternoons. I have seen everything and I feel really
sick about it. Such a ceiling painted as it is in
S. Pantaleon, where the biggest figure is about 8 meters big
and perspective, having a few hundreds of figures stepping
forward to the centre.
There is great
strength in painting this, as it is painted directly to the
ceiling. And in the Frari church I was impressed by
Bellini´s altar, there are also many beautiful works from
Tizian, Vivarini, many tombstones and carvings.
Among my other beautiful impressions also belongs the island
Lido, the foreigners here are beautiful as well. I stayed in
the water for 2 hours. As I say, it is beautiful here.
But there are also some unpleasant moments. Venice: The
most unpleasant things for me are local mosquito’s. I am
always bitten and swollen on my arms, face and body. I don't
know what to do. It is very unpleasant. It itches and hurts.
I sleep with closed windows, hidden under the blanket but it
doesn't help. In the morning I am all bitten again, in my
nose, in my ears, on my eyelids too.
I like the food, I
have been going to a Trattoria. Apart from the mosquito’s I
can't complain about anything, except maybe how expensive
cigarettes are here.
I would be very happy I had somebody here who I could talk
to. Wouldn't you like to come Hugo?
For a week, so that its
I also wrote to our
old one and today I am going to send the study to the
Write to me Hugo, before I leave, about how it looks in
Prague, what the news is and how the French exhibition is
going. I hope you have seen their works, what do you think
I am going to stay
14 days more, as I will not have money earlier.
Please send kind greetings to your parents and to all