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Sketching the Rialto Bridge, Venice, 28th August 2010

December 2, 2013

The first time I saw the Rialto Bridge I was mesmerised into a compulsion to want to try sketching it. Hardly I have had this feeling except when I visit the Getty Centre in Los Angeles. Usually when I approach a site where I think I want to try sketching a view, I would survey the area first by walking around looking for the perfect sketching ‘frame’.

Rialto Bridge Venice 5

Here in Venice on Saturday the 28th August 2010, however, I was convinced that I was at the right place at the right time. As guests of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects 2010 Venice Biennale Architectural Exhibition, Daphne and I extended our stay in Italy to visit Florence, Rome and of course Venice. We were totally fascinated with the beauty of the architectural settings, the townscape and the canals of Venice. We took every opportunity to explore the streets, enclaves, plazas and the waterways. And the best way to explore Venice is by the nostalgic water-ferries along the canal.

I soon became anxious to sketch the Rialto Bridge and was eager to find a place to sit and get on with my sketching. Luckily also, Daphne met her friend who happened to be touring Venice that same day, and they both decided that to lunch at the outdoor cafe, adjacent to the bridge would be a perfect place for me to sit and sketch.

Rialto Bridge Venice 3“The Rialto Bridge is one of 4 bridge that spans the Grand Canal and is the oldest of the four. The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte was finally completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico, the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.”   From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Rialto bridge Venice 2

In retrospect I  can now say it was an ideal and beautiful time of the day. It had rained slightly a few hours before we arrived, so there was a ‘freshness’ to the area.  And the fact that the sun was behind me, where I sat, made the setting even more ideal for me to sketch. In a very short time I was able to sketch the essence of the composition I so dearly perceived. I may not have sketched it geometrically correct but I was happy to have captured the “mood” in time just before the heavy rains came pouring down.

  1. Hello Errol. Lovely work. Wondered if you might be interested in working on some projects together. Please get in touch.

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