With our trusty Secret Venice in hand we set off to discover the beautiful columns at the Doge’s Palace in San Marco. The columns end in capitals adorned with 600 carved images. The original works were sculpted between 1340 and 1355. Some of the originals were replaced by copies in the late 19th century. (The originals are in the Museum of the Palace Fabric in the Doge’s Palace)
The images form a narrative combining the created world and divine majesty, history and myth and celebrate justice, wisdom and prayer.
The largest of the sculptures are Adam and Eve, The Drunkenness of Noah and the Judgement of Solomon. The story begins on the southwest corner with the creation of Adam and the eating of the forbidden fruit.
On the corner beside the Bridge of Sighs is The Drunkenness of Noah. Cham derides his father, while his other son tries to cover his nakedness. What on earth had he been doing and how did he end up naked?
On the corner nearest to the entrance to the cathedral is The Judgement of Solomon.
The smaller sculptures cover topics such as birds of prey, Latin women, Solomon and the Seven Sages, Houses of the Planets and more.
A favourite was Seven Deadly Sins, plus vanity. Before I read about the images I thought Gluttony was someone eating a gelato. It is, in fact, a figure raising a cup of wine and biting into a leg of meat…thank goodness for the book. Gluttony is followed by pride, sloth, vanity, envy, lust, wrath and avarice.
Next time you wander aimlessly past the Doge’s Palace, look up and be amazed.