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Monday, August 12, 2013

Brion-Vega Tomb

I had pictured Carlo Scarpa’s Brion-Vega Tomb off by itself on a hill. It’s actually on a flat expanse surrounded by cornfields. Over the angled concrete wall, one can see a typical Italian view of the rosy roofline and spire of the adjoining village. Most amazing, is that the tomb, which I would say takes up about a half-acre sits smack up against the cluttered cemetery of San Vito d'Altivole.

The tomb itself is austere, tranquil and un-morbid despite the fact that there are two sarcophaguses under a curved concrete awning and several other headstones. One doesn’t really notice these though.

After passing through the gate one comes to the chapel “floating” in its reflecting pool. The structures have a vaguely Asian, vaguely Art Deco, vaguely Mayan quality. Ridged protrusions, serrations and gaps that create a dynamic interplay between negative space and positive space, light and shadow. 

In addition to the chapel pool, there is a lovely chute of descending water reminiscent of the one in the garden of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice and a lily pad-covered rectangle of water at one end.

The famous red and blue intersecting circles are as beautiful and dramatic as they appear in photographs, providing two different effects depending on which side you are on.

As usual, Scarpa’s steps are wonderful. There is a simply nifty geometric set near the beginning of the tomb and at the end, a gracious stairway accesses the rest of the cemetery.

I noted the tomb looked a little shabby in places with mold creeping up a wall and there was an interesting concrete gate that didn’t work. While Scarpa’s work can stand up to a little decrepitude, I worry that the tomb is not being taken care of.

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