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Sep 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Article by
Franca Urbani




We went and visit Pietro Scarpa's Family, Antiquaries in Venice, at their antique shop, a parallelepiped in crystal, whose glasses let passers - by catch sight of his wonderful paintings through them. Pietro, Sebastiano and Jacopo Scarpa show proudly their next gallery, a gentleman's quarter on the noble floor in Palazzo Querini, that will be fully dedicated to paintings that will be put in their right context. In front of it there is a 20 metres long mooring which seems to wait for fictitious ships loaded with both works of art and visitors.

Mr. Scarpa, you and your family join the adventure of collecting old paintings since a very long time . a wonderful lot, I think. What can an old picture represent in these days?

It shows the culture of his owner or of whom - ever moves heaven and earth to posses it or of whom, proud of having it, wants to share it with others.

What can you tell me about old ships? Did they carry precious objects on board?

This depended on ship's quality, Captain and destination. They usually shipped objects, namely furniture, mirrors, musical instruments, carpets, helping make the life on board more pleasent so that this didn't consist only in navigation tasks. Obviously nautical charts and pilot books, often painted on kids, were widely preferred to paintings. There were always either painted or sculpted religious pictures on board. Figure - heads are works of art too! They often represent beautiful, shabbily dressed girls rather than male figures: both recall us heathen reminiscences.

When we generally speak about old paintings, we put them in a certain context, namely inside great or small, however, exclusive places. What do you think about putting works of art on board superyachts reaching now 70 - 100 metres in length?

It's right up to a yacht's owner, who lives on board, to decide for them or not. Obviously works of art on board help not only smarten the yacht up but also give the people, who live in those areas, a cultural stature, neither more nor less than what they actually can give in a beautiful house. All in all it's about the owner's ability in recreating the spaces in which he usually lives. I consider an antiquary a free buyer's assistant who helps him find the right object suiting to his personality.

What can Venetian art features tell about more than other ones?

The decoration of all Venetian architectural spaces complies with historical and pedagogical functions; it can sharpen watchers' knowledge. The heavy old art mustn't strike fear, because only the following familiarity with the object itself can measure the watcher's cultural level and ability in proposing himself as a connoisseur of fine art: the knowledge per sè means love.

Imagining interior of a yacht not yet designed, Scarpa Antiquities suggests: on ceiling, Jacopo Annigoni - "Giunone offre Deiopea in sposa ad Eolo"; at wall, Francesco Guardi - "Burrasca in mare"; at wall, a view of the New York's port; recessed in a wall, "Views of Venice" (in climabox).