The present lot depicts the famous Basilica at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. Piazza San Marco, often known in English as St Mark's Square, is the principal square of Venice.
A remark often attributed to Napoleon (but perhaps more correctly to Alfred de Musset) calls the Piazza San Marco "the drawing room of Europe". It is the only great urban space in a European city where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic, which is confined to Venice's waterways. As the central landmark and gathering place for Venice, Piazza San Marco is extremely popular with tourists, photographers, and pigeons.
The piazza originated in the 9th century as a small area in front of the original St Mark's Basilica. It was enlarged to its present size and shape in 1177, when the Rio Batario, which had bounded it to the west, and a dock, which had isolated the Doge's Palace from the square, were filled in. The rearrangement was for the meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
The piazza has always been seen as the centre of Venice. It was the location of all the important offices of the Venetian state, and has been the seat of the archbishopric since the 19th century. It was also the focus for many of Venice's festivals.
St Mark's Basilica which is the center focus of this present composition is the cathedral of Venice. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on St Mark's Square, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace and has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice since 1807. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power from the 11th century on, the building was known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro which means church of gold. (Sources: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org).
Travels always made such an impression on Affandi. Many of his travelling companions reported on the artist's compulsive painting rituals during the trips and he sketched and painted in many tourists infested areas where he easily gathered a crowd around him as he painted in a truly expressionistic style: complete absorbtion by his immedate task thence a dramatic performance of the "squeezing, slapping and stroking of oil paint on the canvas" as he is famously known for.
The present composition focuses only on the St Mark's Basilica. Classically, for all the works of Affandi where the characteristic swirling and deftly applied paint clearly take precedence over the subjects, thus allowing the composition to assume an immediate sense of rhythm and movement thus vividly portrays a lively scene of a busy and nosiy square where people laughed and played and where the pigeons roamed.