Letter to Hugo Boettinger, Venice 18-08-1902.
Translation by David Pearson, Melbourne (January 2015).

Dear friend,


I don´t even know where to start as there are too many beautiful things.


I have to say though, that I am very satisfied here in Venice, not only with old masters, but also with beautiful women of Venice and beautiful scenery too.


It is unnecessary to describe the greatness of old masters and their works, I admit in front of their works I feel like a big zero. The Primitivists are driving me mad, I wish I could just see one of the old tiny paintings with a golden patina, with a well preserved frame, that is eaten by worms, but how beautiful it looks as a whole, the style. Today´s stylists try in vain to reach this primitiveness and naivety; these ones here are the first and the most honest ones.

It also unnecessary to say, how great the drawings of Tizian, Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tintoretto and mainly Tiepolo and Longhi are. And who have their own hall here in the Academia Belle Arti.

Our artists can't match these in drawing at all. It is a pity that the Palazzo Ducale is closed due to reconstruction and won't be accessible to public for long.

Nearly equally as good as old masters are the women of Venice, whose style is natural and inborn but the elegance of local tailors is different from ours. I can't take my eyes off them, I observe them all the time, I have drawn many of them, but still haven't found the right one. I started painting one and later I will send the painting to the rector's office.

The best experience is in the evenings, after sunset, the great light of the white palaces s against the western sky is amazing.  Also later on the promenade, when there is light in the cafeterias and the girls are around, it is so beautiful, and their eyes sparkle.

The coast, it is impossible to paint, I have the idea, the colour of the far sea and sky, against the silhouettes of the women of Venice in a warm light. (Working on it!)

Or a night on a gondola on a Grand Canale, it is amazing when everything sings and sails, it is equal to our Ferdinandka at night, and everything is lit by lanterns.
It is impossible to forget such an evening, full of beautiful impressions, I would stay here and not go anywhere else.

In the mornings I go to see churches and draw a few sketches in the afternoons. I have seen everything and I feel really sick about it. Such a ceiling painted as it is in S. Pantaleon, where the biggest figure is about 8 meters big and perspective, having a few hundreds of figures stepping forward to the centre.

There is great strength in painting this, as it is painted directly to the ceiling. And in the Frari church I was impressed by Bellini´s altar, there are also many beautiful works from Tizian, Vivarini, many tombstones and carvings.

Among my other beautiful impressions also belongs the island Lido, the foreigners here are beautiful as well. I stayed in the water for 2 hours. As I say, it is beautiful here.

But there are also some unpleasant moments.  Venice: The most unpleasant things for me are local mosquito’s.   I am always bitten and swollen on my arms, face and body. I don't know what to do. It is very unpleasant. It itches and hurts. I sleep with closed windows, hidden under the blanket but it doesn't help. In the morning I am all bitten again, in my nose, in my ears, on my eyelids too.


I like the food, I have been going to a Trattoria. Apart from the mosquito’s I can't complain about anything, except maybe how expensive cigarettes are here.

I would be very happy I had somebody here who I could talk to. Wouldn't you like to come Hugo?
For a week, so that its worth it.


I also wrote to our old one and today I am going to send the study to the rector's office.

Write to me Hugo, before I leave, about how it looks in Prague, what the news is and how the French exhibition is going.  I hope you have seen their works, what do you think about them?


I am going to stay 14 days more, as I will not have money earlier.

Please send kind greetings to your parents and to all Mánes group.

Best regards
Your Franc.



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