Thursday, October 9, 2008

Venice - St. Mark's Basilica and the church of Sts. John and Paul

The following set of pictures were taken of what I believe to be the two most beautiful and historically interesting churches in Venice.

First we visited St. Mark's Basilica. It was the chapel of the Doges of Venice, and is the seat of the Patriarch of Venice. Construction on the original church was begun in the 9th century but it as been continuously updated and enhanced, most particularly in the 13th century. The plan is a Greek cross, and the decoration style is distinctly Byzantine. Here's a picture of the facade, showing some of the many portals covered in mosaics. There is a sculpture of the winged lion of Venice on the central panel.

These four horses are replicas of the four bronze horses brought from the hippodrome in Constantinople after it was sacked. The originals have been moved to a museum inside the church.

One of the mosaics on the portals. It depicts the transportation of St. Mark's body to the basilica and is extremely detailed - note the four bronze horses standing in their places!

Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed in the basilica and so I was able to take very few pictures. It was also quite dim inside so a lot of the ones I took didn't turn out very good. This is one of the good ones - it shows some of the more than 80,000 square feet of mosaics that cover the interior of the basilica, giving it the nickname "church of gold".

The rood screen leading to the altar.

One of the carved portals leading out of the basilica.

The next church we visited was the church of Sts. John and Paul. It was built in the 12th century and served as the burial place of the Doges.

The interior of the church. It was massive!

Some of the funerary monuments to Venice's Doges which line the walls.

A side chapel with a Byzantine icon donated by a Doge.

A statue of Sebastiano Venier, the Doge of Venice and commander of the Venetian fleet that defeated the Turks at Lepanto.

A detail of the wooden choir stalls.

The high altar.

A shot of the tracery leading up to the dome.

Closer picture of the high altar.

And lastly, some of the stained glass featured in the transept windows.

1 comment:

DelGrosso said...

The history you are sharing on this blog is just endless. Wow, imagine some people's surprise if they were to see this and realize the Church dates back this far, and not just since the early 1960's!! :)