Our SECOND VIRTUAL lecture, straight from Italy, with SAVE VENICE, INC’s Melissa Conn: “The Art and Science of Saving Venice”

Enjoy the VIRTUAL LECTURE here: “The Art and Science of Saving Venice”

Ms. Conn, Accademia Galleries

Our second speaker to bravely navigate the new world (for us, at least) of online VIRTUAL lectures was Melissa Conn, the Venice Director of Save Venice, Inc., an American non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the conservation of art and architecture in Venice, Italy.

Installing Veronese’s San Sebastiano altarpiece.

Save Venice, Inc. literally saves artwork from the ravages of salt, humidity, time and tide. For generations to come. No small task. One that Ms. Conn knows well.

Born and raised in Ohio, Ms. Conn received a degree in art history from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She now has thirty-plus years of experience in the field of Venetian art history and conservation.

Working on the Saint Ursula Cycle, Gallerie dell’Accademia

In 2015, as proof of the esteem with which Ms. Conn is held in her field, major contributors to Save Venice, Inc. offered her the opportunity to select a work for restoration. It would be restored not only in honor of Save Venice, Inc.’s revered art historian and Project Director, David Rosand, but in her name as well.

Realizing this choice bore a tremendous responsibility- how does one choose from among so many threatened masterworks- Conn err’d towards Mr. Rosand’s specialty, Titian, and choose one of the Italian Renaissance master’s works, “Saint Mark Enthroned,” for restoration.

Amalia Donatella Basso from the Superintendency of Fine Arts of Venice presents at the Inauguration of Titian’s Saint Mark Enthroned on Friday, June 19, 2015. Photo: Matteo De Fina.

Possibly Titian’s first independent commission, “Saint Mark Enthroned” is an altarpiece painted for the church of Santo Spirito, Isola, but moved to the sacristy of Santa Maria Della Salute in 1656, where it may be seen today in all of its restored glory.

The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

During her lecture, Ms. Conn described the process of conservation in Venice, the destructive nature of rising tides particular to Venice, and discussed several sites yet to be addressed there and on the surrounding isles. During our Question and Answer period following the lecture, she generously weighed in on questions about Norfolk’s own problems with tide waters, particularly at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Coastal flooding at the Chrysler Museum of Art, storymaps.arcgis.com

We are deeply appreciative of Ms. Conn’s presentation for our second VIRTUAL lecture. It remains now for us to host her in person, here, in order that we learn more about how we, as supporters of art and culture in our own community, can preserve and maintain our own treasures.

Carpaccio’s Saint Ursula Cycle, Gallerie dell’Accademia

Thank you so very much for your talk, Ms. Conn.

(photo credit thanks to Save Venice, Inc. unless otherwise noted)