12 April, 2021

Venice Diary

As the writer travels through Venice's "Tiny lanes, crumbly old palaces, the water," he is reminded of Varanasi...

Venice Diary
Jeff the Jivatma

It was the impish title of the book that imm­ediately drew my attention—Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. I’d just been subjected, at an exhibition at the Doge’s Palace in the overcrowded Piazza San Marco, to the hallucinatory visions of 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, a hellish dream-like universe peopled by demons and the tortured souls of the dead. It was a shock to discover that Bosch’s dark River to Hell once passed through Venice, this labyrinthine city of shifting light and water. Five hundred years ago, it appears, a group of aristocratic Venetians, led by a wealthy cardinal, was immersed in the Dutch painter’s enigmatic world, with its fascination for death and the grotesque. After long neglect, Bosch’s paintings have now been restored and put on display.

But in the bookshop adjoining the gallery, I stumble on a book and an author I’d not heard of before. As the title...

More from Maseeh Rahman

Latest Magazine

April 19, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section