Venice and the Annunciation: a guided tour

March 25th... March 25th, 2022 has been the last day of the events and celebrations dedicated to the 1600th birthday of Venice (which was legendarily founded on March 25th, 421 A.D.).
Venice ideally was created by God’s will, under the Archangel Gabriel’s wings, who from the top of St. Mark’s Bell Tower is still observing and protecting the city; then over the centuries Venice started to be identified with the Holy Mary herself, inviolated and divine.

The Exhibit “Venetia 1600. Births and Rebirths”

A room of the exhibit
One of the best ways to celebrate our city, in our opinion, has been the organization of this wonderful exhibit in the Doges’ Palace, in the rooms that once hosted the Doge’s Apartment. It is then a pleasure fr us to communicate that the exhibit has been extraordinarily extended up to June 5h, 2022. Works of art and different objects from several Venetian and international museums tell us about the history, power, grandeur of the Most Serene Republic: about its birth, both legendary and historical, its fleet and commerce, the high quality craftsmanship, as well as about its love for beauty and art, its religious devotion, its fight against epidemics, the fires that affected it and its reconstruction, its passion for feasts and theater, and then its fall and its rebirth as an international cultural and artistical center in the 1900’s.

The Annunciation

Commemorating the date of the Annunciation, we would like to present three marvelous and refined masterpieces, that we can admire in the rooms of the former Doge’s Apartment in the Doges’ Palace. 
This mosaic of the 1500’s, by the artist Francesco Novello, really deserves our attention and admiration. It was originally commissioned for one of the altars of St. Roch’s Church and later moved to the nearby Scuola Grande. The tiles, really minuscule, placed on the support with infinite patience and almost devotion, create an incredibly elegant scene, full of details, with the perfect perspective of the coffered ceiling that leads us towards the landscape beyond the two-mullioned round arch window: the colors of the mountains, which are one of the symbols of the Holy Mary, reproduce the shades of the clothes of the Annunciated Virgin.

Annunciation, by Francesco Novello, ca 1516 (from Scuola Grande di San Rocco)
This triptych, probably by Lazzaro Bastiani, a painter from Bellini’s entourage, is particularly exquisite. The Angel and the Virgin are represented at the sides of a central panel occupied by the Holy Mary with Baby Christ: the message has been fulfilled, the Word has become flesh.
It is a small icon, that can be folded, painted with tempera and oil colors on wooden panels. We like to imagine this art work in the bedroom of a pious nobleman or of a pious noble lady of the late 1400’s for private devotion.

Annunciation, attributed to Lazzaro Bastiani, ca 1490, from the Correr Museum
The Annunciated Virgin by Antonello de Saliba is a replica, painted with tempera on a wooden support, of the famous painting by Antonello da Messina, who was Antonello de Saliba’s uncle. Here the Archangel Gabriel is absent: it is the viewer himself or herself that ideally occupies the place of the Angel, the Holy Mary looks out towards the spectator, reaching out her hand to pierce the limited space of the painting. It used to decorate originally the Anticollegio room of the Doges’Palace; now it is normally exposed at the Accademia Galleries in Venice.

The Annunciated Virgin Mary, by Antonello de Saliba, ca 1480-1497, from the Accademia Galeries

We’ll be waiting for you for a private guided tour to the exhibitVenetia 1600. Births and Rebirths”, or for a walking tour during which you can have a taste of the history, the art and the culture of this city, that for centuries would be named the Pearl of the Adriatic.
See you soon!

You might be also interested in the following guided tours, blog posts and videos: 

St. Mark's square: the Venetian heartbeat. (section: Classical tours of Venice

First time in Venice. (section: Classical tours of Venice

Iconic Venice. (section: Live virtual tours of Venice

The best of Venice: what to see. (section: Blog

March 25th 2021: Venice turns 1600 years old. (section: Blog)

Our guided and private tours of Venice. (section: Blog

Happy birthday Venice 1600 years old. (section: Youtube)