Friday, 21 June 2013

Romantic Friday Writers - June Wedding Challenge - The Wedding at Cana

Hi friends!

Time for RomanticFridayWriter's postings for the theme - June Wedding. Surprise, surprise.  I decided to go with the non-fiction option this month, but I've also been working on reducing the word count on the wedding excerpt from my novel, Fijian Princess.

Who's travelled to Venice? If you have, you'll probably agree with me it's one of the most gob-smackingly-beautiful cities in the world, certainly one of the most unique, floating as it is on water. The High Renaissance architecture is so amazing it hurts your eyes. And what's inside these gorgeous buildings blows your mind. How about the art? The museums? Just unbelievable.

San Georgio Maggiore in Venice at dusk 
Now the June Wedding challenge for RFW got me thinking about one of the most famous wedding feasts of all time - The Wedding at Cana.

The Wedding at Cana
Photo by me using the panorama option on my Samsung Note 11.

The large Benedictine monastery of San Georgio Maggiore in Venice was once the home to the gigantic teler (canvas), The Wedding at Cana, with an area of 70 sqm which occupied the entire top half of the back wall to illustrate the biblical scene eminently suited to the dining hall of a the Black Monks. (It can now be viewed at the Louvre, Paris.)

The painter Paolo Caliari (known as Veronese) was one of the leading lights of Venetian mannerism in 1562. He was contracted by the monks on June 6, 1562. Veronese was asked to people the painting with as many as he could fit into it. He managed 130. The artist was paid 324 ducats (approx. US$289,000 today), but he would also receive a wine cask and all meals during the time of the contract. He was only a few days past the deadline.

Here is how the painting has been described:

"The intoxicating genius of Venice is palpable in this superb masterpiece, with its urbane light-heartedness, its colourful array of costumes, its delight in opulence, its theatrical flavour and decorative flair, its embrace of light, and its sheer vivacity. There is no other painting as purely Venetian as The Wedding at Cana." Theophile Gautier, 1882.

The theme of the painting is taken from the New Testament, the Gospel of St John. This is the story..:

"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman...Mine hour is not yet come.

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made into wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doeth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that whichis worse; but thou has kept the good wine until now.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee."

Well, I would have liked to have tasted that wine!

All good wishes to any brides and grooms out there who will be toasting a happy future together!

Go here to read more stories/poems/non-fiction based on the June Wedding theme...


So, here's good ole boy Johnny Cash singing to the good ole boys in San Quentin prison (1969). Love it!


Charmaine Clancy said...

Well that was a bit educational as well as entertaining! I'll bet Jesus was always on invitation lists after that wine trick.

My post will go up on Saturday :)

Sandra said...

Lovely story, thank you!
I also admire the beautiful painting by Veronese of The Wedding at Cana. I also agree with you about the beauty of Venice and hope to return to this beautiful city one day soon.

My best wishes

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wine made by Jesus? Bet it was the best in the world!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Lucid and interesting. Venice is just mind blowing, well all of Italy is I guess. Liked your retelling of the Biblical story, and your choice of subject for the challenge.

Just curious, is crisper always better? Best of luck with the wc on FP!

D.G. Hudson said...

I've seen that painting (Wedding at Cana) at the Louvre, Denise, I remember studying a portion in the lower right corner. It's gorgeous.

I've never been to Venice, but may one day.

dolorah said...

A gorgeous painting. I've been to Venice, and to the Louve, but I think I'd enjoy both experiences more now that I am older. I remember a wonderful boat tour around the island and up the canals, and there was a Russian tanker or some other huge ship drawing attention to itself in the harbor.

Or maybe that was Vienne we went to? Whichever is in a tour line with Pompei, Napole, Rome. We go to see the island of Sicily but weren't allowed to go out there. Pity.

This was a well thought out wedding post Denise. I loved all the cultural references, and biblical quotes. Fabulous entry for the Weddings theme.


Denise Covey said...

Thanks Donna. Could well have been Venice as the huge tankers do come there, not to mention tour ships. I haven't been to Sicily either. I've read a few travel memoirs on it and would like to visit.


Denise Covey said...

Hi D.G. I hope you do get to Venice. It's memorable. No doubt it would take a lifetime to study that painting. It is wonderful.

Denise Covey said...

No, Nilanjana, I'm sure crisper isn't always better. I'm still playing with the WIP so it makes sense for this challenge.

Thank you for visiting. Yes, I agree, Venice and most of Italy is breathtaking. I'm always up for a visit there.

Denise Covey said...

Sandra, I hope you get back too. Thank you for coming by and your kind comments.

Nas said...

Lovely story and I learnt a lot! An interesting bit of history. Thanks for sharing!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Nas.

Sally said...

The painting certainly depicted opulence and luxury. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know the background to the story of Jesus turning water in to wine, so thank you for widening my education.

Denise Covey said...

Always loved that story Sally.

Yolanda Renée said...

Love the journey from Venice to the Wedding at Cana to the Prison with Johnny Cash singing. Enjoyed the imagery, especially the men listening to the words - a few were truly moved.

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Denise Covey said...

Yes Yolanda that's why I used that clip. Those guys seem moved for sure.

nutschell said...

wonderful piece! i love your take on the Wedding at Cana.

Unknown said...

June 27th, 2013
I agree with you there, Denise. I would also like to taste that wine.
Great idea to use a painting and a passage from Scripture for your text.
Best wishes,
Anna's RFW - June Wedding