The Venitian

Which of his rings did Vincent Roux throw into the famous lagoon to show Venice that he would forever be her servant? No one knows. But what we do know is that the link between them would endure for life until death. He knew the Serenissima like the back of his hand, its palaces and museums, its salons and its slums, its princesses and its beggars, its millionaire courtesans and its thuggish gondolieres. He painted its poisoned feasts and its transient population with uneasy tenderness, as if to say "Take care, traveller! You probably won't be here the day when the watery city is engulfed into the abyss. But before that day, Death, draped in a bauta barely concealing his scythe, might be waiting for you at the bend of a canal, like the ambigious youth Tadzio waited for Aschenbach by the bathing cabins of the Lido..."

 

Vincent's Venice was that of Mann and Visconti, but also that of Carpaccio and Titian, of Morand and Music, of Ugo Pratt and Countess Volpi. Most of all, for those of us who remember him in his gondoliere costume, Venice will always be Vincent Roux.

 

Casanova. Of the many disguises that suited him best, it is those where Sior Maschera appeared in the guise of the engaging raffish figure of Giacomo Casanova. In the days of his prime, Vincent had a real gondola brought over from Venice so that Casanova in person (that is to say himself) could inaugurate the huge swimming pool of his villa 'La Nouvelle Adélaïde'. But look also at the Venetian outfits of his final years. There was more than a whiff of Fellini's Casanova in his appearance. The tragic persona of the ageing seducer fascinated him as the shadows began to invade the most beautiful and saddest salon in the world, like a Piazza San Marco where the last remaining couples twirl around and where the red-headed priest has already tolled the Angelus.

Jean-Michel ROYER

Vincent Roux - Venise (1958)

Venise par Vincent Roux (1981)

Préface de G. SAINT BRIS

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