A Wanderer in Venice eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about A Wanderer in Venice.

[Illustration:  MADONNA WITH THE MAGDALEN AND S. CATHERINE FROM THE PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI In the Accademia]

The next Ducal tomb is the imposing one of the illustrious Tommaso Mocenigo (1413-1423) who succeeded Steno and brought really great qualities to his office.  Had his counsels been followed the whole history of Venice might have changed, for he was firm against the Republic’s land campaigns, holding that she had territory enough and should concentrate on sea power:  a sound and sagacious policy which found its principal opponent in Francesco Foscari, Mocenigo’s successor, and its justification years later in the calamitous League of Cambray, to which I have referred elsewhere.  Mocenigo was not only wise for Venice abroad, but at home too.  A fine of a thousand ducats had been fixed as the punishment of anyone who, in those days of expenses connected with so many campaigns, chiefly against the Genoese, dared to mention the rebuilding or beautifying of the Ducal Palace.  But Mocenigo was not to be deterred, and rising in his place with his thousand ducat penalty in his hand, he urged with such force upon the Council the necessity of rebuilding that he carried his point, and the lovely building much as we now know it was begun.  That was in 1422.  In 1423 Mocenigo died, his last words being a warning against the election of Foscari as his successor.  But Foscari was elected, and the downfall of Venice dates from that moment.

The last Ducal monument is that of Niccolo Marcello (1473-1474) in whose reign the great Colleoni died.  Pietro Mocenigo was his successor.

In pictures this great church is not very rich, but there is a Cima in the right transept, a “Coronation of the Virgin,” which is sweet and mellow.  The end wall of this transept is pierced by one of the gayest and pleasantest windows in the city, from a design of Bartolommeo Vivarini.  It has passages of the intensest blue, thus making it a perfect thing for a poor congregation to delight in as well as a joy to the more instructed eye.  In the sacristy is an Alvise Vivarini—­“Christ bearing the Cross”—­which has good colour, but carrying such a cross would be an impossibility.  Finally let me mention the bronze reliefs of the life of S. Dominic in the Cappella of that saint in the right aisle.  The one representing his death, though perhaps a little on the florid side, has some pretty and distinguished touches.

The building which adjoins the great church at right angles is the Scuola di S. Marco, for which Tintoretto painted his “Miracle of S. Mark,” now in the Accademia, and thus made his reputation.  It is to-day a hospital.  The two jolly lions on the facade are by Tullio Lombardi, the reliefs being famous for the perspective of the steps, and here, too, are reliefs of S. Mark’s miracles.  S. Mark is above the door, with the brotherhood around him.

And now let us look again and again at the Colleoni, from every angle.  But he is noblest from the extreme corner on the Fondamenta Dandolo.

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A Wanderer in Venice from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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