This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘San Marco’

Horses of San Marco, Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 21, 2012

Horses of San Marco, Venice

Horses of San Marco, Venice

This may be hard to believe, but the four bronze (actually, they’re copper) horses above the door of the San Marco Basilica in Venice pre-date Christianity. They have been attributed to Lysippos, the 4th century BCE Greek sculptor, although this theory is not universally accepted. But that gives you an idea of their age.

They were originally displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, until Venetian soldiers sacked the city in 1204 and took the horses as spoils of war. In 1256, Doge Enrico Dandolo sent the horses to Venice where they were installed on the cathedral. The horses traveled to Paris with Napoleon in 1797 and became part of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The horses were returned by the Austrian emperor in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo. As my husband says, they’ve seen a lot of Europe.

The horses guarded the cathedral facade until the 1980s, when they were moved into the basilica’s museum to protect them from damage caused by air pollution. The original horses are in the photo below. In the entrance hall, there is a staircase on your right, as you enter the nave of the cathedral. The museum (and access to the parapet) costs 10 euros, which is a bit steep but you can get some great photos of the piazza and the Doge’s palace.

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice

This Sunday I’m flying to Staines UK and will be taking a course all week, so I won’t be posting much (at least not about Italy). The course is Enterprise Architect. I always wanted to build a starship. 🙂

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Winged Lion, Symbol of Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 18, 2012

Winged Lion in Piazza San Marco

This photo was taken from the bell tower opposite San Marco Basilica. The winged lion is both a symbol of St. Mark the Evangelist (= San Marco), patron of Venice, and of the City of Venice itself. Winged lions are depicted in many piazzas. This lion on the stop of the standard is actually higher than the dome of the basilica itself. The telephoto lens compresses the distance so that it appears as if the lion is just above the tourists on the ground.

You can see the relative distance below:

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice

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Venice in the Rain

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 18, 2012

Venice in the Rain

We arrived just after several days of heavy rain. I could see the flooded fields from the airplane window as we approached Milan. Venice has a very different character in the rain. In bright sunlight, the tourists are streaming through every side and main street and your eyes are dazzled by the ubiquitous sparkly masks. After a heavy rain, Venice has a quieter, softer, more solemn feeling. Colors are muted.

Canal Grande, Venice
The gondolas were in the dock, covered with plastic.

Gondolas in the rain

Even the normally packed Piazza San Marco is quiet. I liked the jaunty red chairs with no one to occupy them, so I rendered the rest of the photo in B/W.

Red Chairs

San Marco Basilica, Venice

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