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The Lion of St. Mark

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Anna Blaikie

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of The Lion of St. Mark

The Lions of Venice
Venetian Empire
Influence on political alliances
Effects on cultural and artistic sentiments in terra firma

examine function, depiction, and symbolism of the lion across various media in the Veneto region: Verona, Padua, Venice
Artists most prolific here
Lion seen everywhere
Coins, document seals, bases of bridges, flags...
Università degli studi di Padova
Founded 1222
Ezzelino da Romano, tyrant
Carrara family
1405-1797 - Venice Republic
1404 - fell to power of the Republic
300 years of independence prior

Gained peace and wealth as an active and contributing member of the empire
Lion stands tall above the square
Commercial center of Verona
locale of the original Roman Forum
1523 - Michele Leoni constructed the column
Statement of appreciation dedication to the empire
Sculpture: Lion in Piazza delle Erbe
Two prominent St. Mark's lions
Archway/clocktower and column
Square: meeting and walking place for nobility
1797 - knocked down by the French
1879 replaced with stonework by Sanavio
Sculpture: Piazza dei Signori
Piazzetta San Marco
Sculpture: The Lion of Venice
Michele Sanmicheli
Veronese architect
First half 16th century
Napoleonic influence
Architecture: Porta Nuova
Architecture: Università degli studi di Padova
Architecture: Porta della Carta
Brief History
Patron Saint of Venice: St. Theodore (Greek)
St. Mark's relics brought to Venice
Appeal to Venetians
St. Mark's ties to the city
Reflected the spirit of Venice
St. Mark = Italian alternative to the Greeks
Venetian alternative to Rome
Saint Mark & Venice
The keeper of Venice
Winged Lion & 2nd Century
Pianta leoni
"The winged lion represented the saint who represented the state" (Rosand 48)
Myth of Venice
Self portrait of mythical power and beauty
Serenissima Repubblica
'calm and confident... ideal political entity... selflessly devoted to the commonweal' (Rosand 2)
Perpetuating the myth: lion & religion
Lion of St. Mark
Palazzo Ducale
Established 1222
Students & educators
Palazzo Bo - 1539
Woodcut - 1645
Columns erected 1172
Bronze lion & St. Theodore
Model that was replicated in public squares elsewhere in empire
Piazza San Marco as epitome of public space
Orientation to lagoon: both welcoming and threatening
Represents protection of saints AND serves as ambassador to visitors
1438 by Giovanni & Bartolomeo Bon
Commissioned by Foscari
Doge as symbol of political sphere
Lion as symbol of religious sphere
Represents conjoining of political with religious in Venice
Physically connects political residence with primary religious building
Role of Porta della Carta
Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1526)
Completed 1516
Doge's Apartments of Palazzo Ducale
FULL of symbolism
Land & sea
Center of city
Represents St. Mark's protection of the city
Unequal distribution across media - more abundant in architecture & sculpture
Private vs. public space
Conqueror vs. conquered
Nature of Renaissance painting
Napoleon's destruction
Recurring elements:
Open book
Public space
The Lion today
Works cited
Works Cited
Palazzo Ducale
Full transcript