Mark it off as "Gondola Greg is losin' it" if you like, but I thought a change of pace might be fun.
No, I'm not running out of blog ideas, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to give this piece of commercial graphic design the once-over.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you:
Ragú "Old World Style" spaghetti sauce!
My family is very Italian, and my wife and her mother routinely cook up amazing things in the kitchen - often with the help of our two daughters.
But the other day, (as a result of some great coupon deal, I'm sure) this giant jug of Ragú ended up on the kitchen counter, and I found myself critiquing it - not the sauce, the gondola!
We're looking at a pretty decent artist's rendering of a gondola.
It does contain some of the classic "American revisions" that occur in both drawn and built versions.
For starters, the gondola has been shortened in two key areas: the passenger space, and the deck between the seat and the gondolier.
This shortened caricature of Venice's most notable boat is so commonplace that I think the folks at Ragú decided that a "true rendering would have looked "wrong".
Not surprisingly, the artist decided against an authentic gondolier's deck, opting for a symmetric stern more reminiscent of the boats at The Venetian Casino.
The couple is sitting in a seat that's hard to get a good look at. It could be authentic, but it could also be modeled after the ones at The Venetian Casino too.
I'm not sure where I stand on the lamp.
It's definitely "old world", and I've seen similar lamps at some gondola operations in the US, but I suspect that Ragú stumbled upon it by accident.
The ferro, while it is presented in a brass or gold-tone, does have six teeth, with one aft.
The most authentic areas of the Ragú gondola appear to be the foredeck and the rails. I was quite impressed with how they captured the brass rubrails and plates on the trasto da prua. The artist also managed to capture the carvings on the trasto and the trim on the deck.
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the bow is almost twice as wide as it should be, while the stern seems to be proportioned in the opposite manner.
Now, let's take a look at the gondolier.
Nothing about his uniform is totally wrong, although most gondoliers choose not to wear red stripes with a red sash and scarf. Contrast is often preferred. The sash and scarves are usually only worn in Venice with a marinera (overshirt in black or white), and usually only on special occasions. In the US it's common to see gondoliers wear them with only a striped shirt.
As for the question of red stripes vs. navy stripes - navy is the standard, but red is accepted in most circles.
Our Ragú gondolier appears to be wearing a standard issue gondolier's hat - again, with red ribbon.
His pants are correct - in fact, much nicer than some I've seen in Venice.
Remo and forcola? He's got both, although it looks like the Ragú artist used a broomstick as a model for the remo. It also looks like the gondolier is poling rather than rowing, and that forcola appears to be half-sized and bent the wrong way. But hey, I'm still impressed that the gondola has a forcola.
In summary, I think this rendering was made by someone with photos of several boats clipped to the edges of their project-board:
Photos of gondolas in Venice, The Venetian, and a few American operations.
It's certainly a better rendering than I've seen in some other places...and the sauce isn't bad either!