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Venice Italy Summer 2012- Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Top 3 Picks including exclusive behind-the-scenes video at La Chiesa San Vidal

The Venetian Cultural Cocktail recipe is 2 oz Gothic,  a shot of violins, and an intoxicating golden liquor otherwise known as Gustav Klimt!

Cultural Cocktail Hours Travel Tips for Venetian exhibits

Summer 2012

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography, text, and video © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Pick #1 Interpreti Veneziani

Chiesa San Vidal - 30124 Venezia

These talented, passionate performers interpret Baroque, Classical, and Modern works almost daily at the Chiesa San Vidal. Cultural Cocktail Hour takes you briefly inside the Chiesa San Vidal, named after Doge Vitale Falier.  This now deconsecrated church once never seemed to catch a break. It was rebuilt after the ravaging fires of 1105 and 1696. The new facade, built in the 18th century, housed works by Carpaccio and Piazzetta. Now, the once forsaken church has been revitalized by the music of Interpreti Veneziani. One can hear Vivaldi emanating from the walls, almost every night. Make sure to turn your volume up, so that you can hear the perpetual streaming Vivaldi inside the church!


Pick #2: Diana Vreeland Exhibit at the Palazzo Fortuny 

Closes June 25

Palazzo Fortuny

Campo San Beneto, Venice 

Far from the maddening Murano-goldfish trinket coveting crowd is a quiet palazzo with Gothic touches that Edgar Allen Poe himself could have never imagined.Waxen heads of bloodthirsty criminals peer out from behind glass. A horror film is screened continuously on the ground floor, where one half expects Jack-the Ripper to alight from a creaky beam. Gothic touches juxtapose with the current temporary exhibit on Diana Vreeland, one of the most elegant women of her time.

As the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine and consultant for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ms. Vreeland personified modern chic. And yet, the Gothic vibe flowing through the rest of the museum has its place in the Vreeland exhibit. The Gothic genre revolves around high drama. So do the fantastical costumes. They include: a red cape worn by Marie Callas, an Yves Saint Laurent “Mondrian” Dress, an 18th century Japanese wedding gown, 16th century armor, a Cristobal Balenciaga Black Satin gown with ostrich feathers, Henri Matisse costumes for the Ballet Russes.

The exhibit displayed an ambitious quotation from Ms. Vreeland in her youth:

“Diana was a goddess, 

and I must live up

to that name…

 I dare… 

make myself

exactly how I want to be.”    






Pick #3:

Gustav Klimt in the Sign of Hoffmann and the Secession

Museo Correr. Piazza San Marco, 52

Closing July 8th

Gustav Klimt fans will not want to miss this immersion into the world of the Austrian Symbolist painter. In addition to exploring Klimt’s fruitful collaboration with architect Josef Hoffman, the exhibit focuses on the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk- the integration of architecture, painting, applied arts, and sculpture in shaping modern spaces unified under the concept of “Total Work of Art.” No where is this more apparent than in the glorious “Beethoven Frieze” which was based on Based on Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, specifically Friedrich Von Schiller’s Ode to Joy, which provided inspiration for the fourth movement. The original plan was to destroy the frieze after the 1902 exhibit, resulting in Klimt’s use of cheap materials like buttons and tacks painted on plaster. Thankfully, the Frieze was not tossed aside, and we still have it one hundred and ten years later, in all its golden splendor.

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Venice Canals…

Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Venice Canals..

All Photography © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Cultural Cocktail Hour photography from Venice: St. Mark’s Square

Cultural Cocktail Hour photography from Venice: St. Mark’s Square
All Photography © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Windows of Venice…

Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Windows of Venice…

All Photography © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Video: Cultural Cocktail Hour welcomes you to Venice!

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Cultural Cocktail Hour reports from Paris: Da Vinci’s Saint Anne at the Louvre


The Louvre’s Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece

ending June 25th

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

For those in Paris, hie thee quickly to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate masterpiece, Saint Anne as the temporary exhibit ends June  25. 

Walking through the exhibit is akin to a stroll in Da Vinci’s workshop. An undeniable highlight of the exhibit is the abundance of sketches of the Virgin and Saint Anne that line the walls.

The drawings provide us insight in the mind of the master and the subtle conceptual shifts before he achieved his final result. The Louvre’s exhibit informs us of a Freudian psychoanalytic detail. Born out of wedlock and raised by his father’s new wife, Da Vinci experienced a childhood of two mothers, which could be subconsciously manifested through the dual mother figures of the Virgin and St. Anne

Da Vinci Code-breakers and mystery-minded souls will enjoy exploring the cryptic drawings recently discovered on the back of the painting.  In 2008, Louvre curator Sylvan La Reissiere used infrared photography to reveal the presence of three drawings: a head of horse, a skull, and a child with a lamb.  

Thanks to a massive 2011 Restoration (composed of an international scientific committee of sixteen specialists), the original colors of Da Vinci’s painting have been revealed, including the translucent mauve on St. Anne’s sleeve and the dazzling Lapus Lazuli of the Virgin’s mantle. After the excessive varnish was removed, one can see the delicate shades of light and dark and Da Vinci’s Sfumato technique which rendered the faces of St. Anne and the Virgin sweetly enigmatic.


Finally, the Saint Anne exhibit provides enriching context and evidence of Da Vinci’s lasting influence on the art world.

During the nineteenth century, the Louvre was a forest of easels in which painters like Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, and Eugène Delacroix would sit with their paintbrushes, studying and copying Da Vinci’s masterpieces.

Left: Odilon Redon, Homage to Leonardo Da Vinci, 1908





One of the most delightful parallels in the comprehensive exhibit:

Bernadino Luini’s Infant Jesus with the Lamb (1500-1524)




That is one little charmer you will not want to miss.


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Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, 2012: April showers bring May flowers

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, Spring 2012

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Tempests at the Tuileries, Paris, 2012

Tempest at the Tuilieries

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Cultural Cocktail Hour in Paris: Nocturnal Louvre

Nocturnal Louvre

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez



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Cultural Cocktail Hour and the European arts scene- will be away in Europe this May


Cultural Cocktail Hour will be in Paris and Venice this month, reporting on the European arts scene.

Please check back on this site in June for reviews and photography!

In the meantime, please take the time to explore the different existing categories on Cultural Cocktail Hour, including my favorite, “Artistic Anecdotes”

Happy Spring,  everyone!

Leticia Marie Sanchez


Cultural Cocktail Hour

p.s. this month is Opera Month in Los Angeles- please enjoy one of the many opera offerings (see below)







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