Sunday, February 13, 2011


"A Book About Death in Venice" handmade artist's book 3" x 4" cover

How to make a book, for ABAD, Italy that is truly Italian? I started with vintage wall paper given to me by my Italian friend, Robrt, to create the cover. I thought about how I would name the piece and remembered the Jeopardy game answers catagory: before and after, where you connect two titles to create one (they also do this on Wheel of Fortune). And so I thought of using A Book About Death with Death in Venice (recently read with my book club). Ok, I know, the show is in Treviso, not in Venice... but it is in the Veneto.

Then on to research, what about a death in Venice? Who died in Venice? Who cared about Venice? Who comes from Venice? I found some interesting stories. There was an Italian POW (captured by the Americans in WWII), Mario Alfonsi, who was born there. He served in the Italian Navy, and after he was released he came back to America to live the rest of his life here.

There was an artist, Arbit Blatas, who did a series of bas reliefs about the Holocaust, not only in memory of his mother and as a tribute to his father, but for the people of the Historic Ghetto of Venice, entitled "The Last Train", which was consecrated by the President of Italy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Deportation.

I also uncovered a story about Christian Doppler (yes, as in Doppler radar), Austrian mathematician and physicist, founder of the doppler effect. He died in Venice (then part of the Austrian Empire) in 1853 and is buried there. The daguerreotype (above) reproduced in this book is an image of Doppler.

The ornamentation pages come from Italian frescos of the 16th century, and I included an antique map of Venice as well. The music used in the video (previous post) is called "A Ricciulella", by Francesco Daddi. It was recorded on an Edison Amberol wax cylinder ca. 1912, and made available by the Cylinder Archive, through Internet Archive.


  1. Lovely Pat.....lovely remembrances and honoring.

  2. thank you, jill, i really enjoyed putting this all together.

  3. Love omagen ,and Honoring Good:) Venice and Treviso i'ts to Veneto :)

  4. This is so touchingly serious. Very beautiful as well. Thank you for sharing such wonderful work!

  5. i have to let you in on a little secret, i had a hard time thinking of parting with this book, and made myself another one, it's very slightly different. thanks for all the nice comments.