The charm of the lagoon


The Po river runs through Emilia-Romagna from Piacenza until it flows into the Adriatic, forming the Po Delta. The delta region comprises parts of Emilia-Romagna and Veneto between Comacchio and Chioggia, and this wetland ecosystem, with is many lagoons, will soon become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The lyrical charm and quiet solitude of the fishermen in the Po lagoon were depicted by Gatler, among others, in a full-fledged verismo style and bathed in diffuse, golden light erasing any distinction between land and sea. Three groups of ships, their yellow, white, and red sails fanned out, are reminiscent of the saviolina, a two-mast ship used for sardine fishing and originally built in the area of Cattolica, Rimini, and Riccione. Similar lagoon landscapes can be found in Tuscany’s Maremma region, which was much beloved by the naturalist painter Cecconi: the cold atmosphere of dawn rising over the lagoon and a small boat used by hunters hidden in the reeds, which draws the viewer’s gaze towards the centre of the painting.