Thematic sections

2.2 The relief emblems of Venice

On three facades of the fortress dominate the marble relief emblem of Venice, the winged lion holding the Gospel, symbol of Venice’s protector Saint Mark.

The first emblem was embedded in 1533 above the main western gate. It is 5.10m. in height and 3.70m. wide (4.50m. for the pediment). The large winged lion, turned to the left and holding the gospel between its front legs, is now extremely corroded. Nevertheless it becomes obvious by the height of the relief that it was originally a high-quality work. At the base of the pediment there was an inscription with the names of the Doge Andrea Gritti, the Duke Dominico Capelo, the General Gerolamo Zane and the consultants Marcantonio Diedo and the counselor Nicolò Marcello, of which now only the edges are visible.

At about the same period was embedded the marble frame with the lion of the south side (height 2.46m. width 2.73m., total width 3.26m), of equal quality, whose head is now missing. The lion is moving to the right, holding the Gospel between its front legs. The execution of the body and the rich back hair is naturalistic and in a high relief. The framework is simple and crowned by a horizontal flat slab, which preserves traces of an inscription.

The lion of the BA side dates from 1534. It has also a frame ending up in a pediment, (aedicula). Its total height is similar to the western emblem, i.e., 5.10m., and the width 3.50m. Inside the pediment there are remains of the relief icon of the “Eternal Father”. The legs of the lion placed in the foreground are sculpted in the round, the body turns to the right, but the head is frontal. With the left front leg the lion holds the open Gospel. The wings extend parallel to the body of the animal, but the curls of the back hair are less blown and in lower relief than the emblem of the southern side. At the base there is a band with a wiped out inscription over the cornice which lays on corbels. Below there is a triangular ending divided into two decorative bands. The upper band is decorated with two confronted dolphins and lower band depicts half-acanthus leafs sprout from a palmette. The emblem is made of different kinds of marble, probably in their second use, while other parts may belong to later additions.

Same thematic section texts (4)

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2. The Sea-Rock (La Rocca a Mare)
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2.1 Sea-Fortress. The history of the construction
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2.3 The older restoration campaigns of the 20th c.
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2.4 The recent restoration campaign (2011-2016)