‘Nunc et Semper’ by Joe Pintauro

Nunc et Semper by Joe Pintauro

Complete Artist Book. Edition of Fifteen

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More information about Joe Pintauro is available here.

For over a year photographer Joe Pintauro and artist and master printer Scott Sandell pored over Pintauro’s decades of photos from Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Their collaboration is the first artist book created at Stony Brook Southampton’s “Almost Digital Beachfront Studio. Nunc et Semper, latin for “Now and Forever,” presented in a gray linen, handmade clamshell box. , contains eight and ten-feet accordions, colophons, and six standalone prints. The book starts with “Night Music,” a series of eight connected black and white photos, each 12” x 17 ½”, capturing several orchestras playing within the Piazza’s Baroque pillars. The ten-foot accordion centers on present-day musicians at Caffè Florian. The artist book also includes colophons and six standalone prints. The work is printed on paper made by Cartiere Magnani, a Tuscan company that has been creating fine arts papers since 1404.

Nunc et Semper Text: La Serenissima by Joe Pintauro

The Republic of Venice was known as Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Most Serene Republic. After its long history of war, conquest, and the Austrian occupation, the serenity of Venice, its quiet and calm, far from the noisy streets of other cities, became a place of peace and beauty, the very thing Henry James sought in order to finish his most celebrated American novel, Portrait of a Lady. James wrote, “I had rooms on Riva Schiavoni, at the top of a house near the passage leading off to San Zaccaria—the waterside life, the wondrous lagoon spread before me, the ceaseless human chatter came in at my windows…”

Day after day Henry James had his coffee and dolce—then lunch—all at his favorite café, Florian, which is still as it was in the late 17th century.

Water, like glass, captures and transforms light, and Venice, married to the lagoon, will always be a city of changing light and colors. Those Baroque drapes of the arches of the piazza, like tides, ascend and descend all day long in bright sun, snow, rain, and wind, unlike the marble arches they service, arches which stand strong as if they will exist forever. But no matter how high or low the season, tide or the sun, the drapes of the piazza, stained, torn, worn, mended, year after year, raised or lowered, both hide and reveal the truth of Venice.

We who live in the present, having struggled through our own times of hopes realized and abandoned, stories of our youth and what became of us…how we believed those early years would fade and we would live in a bright new world. But now we look back at all we lost and it stings us with longing, though it brings you to mind, and in you, my darling one, an old, old faith lives and seems now, everlasting.

So let me take you back to La Serenissima, where we were young…to the piazza, her music, and the shining lagoon, where every stone remembers us by name and the planet sails steady in her path over changing waters, giving us a golden sea with the sun, then delivering us gently to the night and the stars.