While walking to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice this summer, PJ and I were window shopping as we passed various art galleries. One in particular caught our eyes, the Galleria d’Arte Bac Art Studio.

This studio stood out to us for two reasons. First, most of the paintings in the window were etchings and watercolors, a medium that we both really like. And second, many of the works seemed to exemplify a queer aesthetic, also something we both really like.

After we visited the Guggenheim, we went back to the Bac Art Studio. This time we went inside and had a good look around. The work that PJ instantly expressed a fondness for depicts two men shaving. It’s called “The Razor”:

This painting is by Paolo Baruffaldi, a Venetian artist who has a few series of paintings displayed in the gallery. Even though “The Razor” was our favorite, we liked how a lot of his work seems to depict Venice as a homoerotic locale, something that we definitely did not pick up on while we were there. In fact, we felt that Italy as a whole was severely lacking in visible gay people, though we just might not have been looking in the right places.

Like so much of the art we saw in Italy, Baruffaldi’s work seems to see Italy much more homoerotically. He has a series of male angels, for example, that reminded me of gay holiday greeting cards. Here’s the one that seemed most representative of this series:

Angelo Jeans 1

Angelo Jeans 1

He also has a lot of paintings related to carnival. These sometimes feature men in masks, for which Venice is famous, and sometimes depict semi-clad men shaving or getting dressed while masked revelers are in the background:

Angelo Ivre con tre Bautte

Angelo Ivre con tre Bautte

He also paints scenes of the Tuscan countryside. “Le Rasoir” is from a series of nudes and semi-dressed men shaving.

PJ and I would like to start buying art from time to time for our home. We figure we’re at a point in our lives when we can afford to buy a work every now and then that really appeals to us. It’s been two years since we bought our one and only painting thus far, so we immediately started talking about buying one of Baruffaldi’s works.

We both really liked the idea of finding a work like “The Razor” that a) we liked and b) would always remind us of our time in Venice specifically and Italy more generally. As is so often the case, though, we talked our selves out of buying it. On the one hand, we weren’t sure we could get it home safely. On the other hand, we figured we could try to buy online once we got home.

So, almost as soon as we got home I looked the gallery up online in the hope that we could buy this watercolor. But I couldn’t figure out how to navigate the website. Consequently, I was really disappointed. When we had dinner with friends who had also been to Italy this summer and they showed us the Venetian masks they had bought while there, I was really kicking myself for not just buying this painting when I had the chance.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give the website another look. This time I was determined to figure out how to order “The Razor.” I managed to figure it out this time — it actually seemed really easy; I don’t know why I was  being so obtuse before — and while I was a little worried about ordering something from Venice, I went ahead and did it.

I’m happy to report that our copy of “The Razor” arrived in the mail today. I could have had it framed by the gallery, but I decided to wait until we had it so that we could get a better sense of what we wanted. So, as soon as we get back from our trip to Washington D.C. next week, we’ll get our painting framed. I’m excited that we’ll have this work hanging in our house, reminding us every day of our trip to Italy.

I love Paolo Baruffaldi’s work and highly recommend ordering from the Bac Art website. Our painting arrived quickly and was well packaged for safe delivery. I’m definitely considering order more of his paintings, especially a couple of the nudes, at some point as well as one of Cadore’s cat paintings, like this one:

Due Gatti a Venezia

Due Gatti a Venezia

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