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Venetian colors and flavors: a fish soup and a painter

Venetian colors and flavors

Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food

Venetian painting is famous for its light and when compared to Florentine painting, the main difference noted is that the latter is characterized by the precision of the drawing, whereas the artists of the lagoon are all about light and color, so much that the lines often seem evanescent. This is true not only for the more famous and iconic art of the 15th and 16th century, but for all Venetian art.

A couple of days ago, with Vittorio, we went to the Peggy Guggenheim to see "Edmondo Bacci: Energy and Light", just before its closure on Monday 18 September. The colors inspired me some thoughts and I am using the experience as an excuse to share a simple fish soup recipe and some Venetian vibes.

Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food
Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food

Edmondo Bacci (1913-1978) was born and grew up in Venice, where he studied at the Fine Art Academy. He was part of Lucio Fontana's art group Movimento Spaziale -Spatialism- which wanted to give art a new dimension, renouncing the more familiar figurative forms. The idea was that art is a sum of physical elements, such as sound, time, space, color and movement, brought together as a whole. Bacci started exposing in international contexts in 1951. In 1958 he had a personal exhibit at the Venice Biennale and was already part of Peggy's group of artists.

The exhibition gathered about 80 works, some of which never exposed before, and I have to say we truly appreciated it. Vittorio and I were fascinated mainly by the first two rooms, with his earlier works dedicated to factories. Of course, each of us sees different things, and we recognized the factories of Porto Marghera, with their smokes and cooling tanks.

Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food
Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food

Bacci is most known for his 'Albe' (dawns) and 'Avvenimenti' (events), which we appreciated gradually, in the sense that we didn't recognize the colors of Venetian dawns. At least initially. Then, while proceeding and following the artist's journey and growth, we did see the development of his language. The second-last room gathered the works on show at the 1958 Biennale, but it was the final room that really impressed us.

One of Bacci's paintings was put close to a 'Last Judgment' by Gianbattista Tiepolo, showing all the similarities in the interpretation and visual translation of light. This game of comparison, which some may criticize, fascinated us! The recalling circular movement, the bright light, the evanescence of natural elements, made us think about the power of the lagoon, through its light, constantly mirrored by the water, to enter deep down the bones of those walking its stones. Magic.

Of course, mine is a lighthearted blog and this post in no way offers an artistic critique, I simply wanted to share with you my experience. I hope you won't mind the fact that I combined the photos of some details from the paintings to a fish soup recipe. It's just a pretext to share two things Venetian :) The soup is very simple and made with what at the Rialto market we call 'misto zuppa' (soup mix). It's an inexpensive (about 8euros per kilo) mix of different fatty fishes that may not make a Michelin-star meal but are perfect for a hearty home dish!

Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food



Ingredients (for 4):

500 gr mixed fatty fish (like salmon, dogfish, ray, halibut)

1/2 yellow bell pepper

1/2 fennel

2 small zucchini

12 cherry tomatoes

1 red onion

1 fresh chili pepper




1. Rinse the vegetables. Roughly chop fennel, bell pepper, zucchini and keep aside. Slice the tomatoes in 8, and finely chop the red onion. Open in half the chili pepper and remove seeds. 2. Heat some e.v.o.oil on a pot, add the chili pepper, the red onion and the tomatoes. Stir, lower the heat, cover and let simmer for about two minutes. Then add the rest of the veg, stir, add the fish, stir, and finally add about 3/4 of a liter of vegetable broth (or fish stock or, if you have none ready, just add water!). Bring to the boil, add sea salt, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. When ready, serve hot. Prepare your bowls, and garnish with some roughly chopped parsley and a few drops of e.v.o.oil.

You can serve it with toasted bread or even add-in a cereal of your choice.

Buon appetito!

Fish soup recipe - Venice Italy food


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