Section dedicated to the tessellated floor
The floor of St. Mark's church is an actual marble carpet spread over
no less than 2099 square metres.
The floor of St. Mark's includes opus sectile (obtained by setting out pieces
of different coloured marble to create the most varied geometrical forms)
and opus tessellatum (obtained with tiny pieces of marble or glass used
to create floral motifs or animal figures), with a clear prevalence of
the former technique over the latter. Both techniques have their origins
in antiquity, as documented by Varro, Vitruvius and Pliny. Coexistence
of the two in St. Marks testifies to the great wealth of the dukedom:
it not only bought up highly precious marbles but also secured a workforce
of craftsmen who, in all probability, were brought to Venice from Constantinople
or Byzantine Greece, as were the architects and mosaicists.
The geometrical organisation is regular and the positioning observes
the principles of symmetry where possible.
The arms of the transept contain two squares: the northern includes
decorations of five large Byzantine rote and four small ones interposed
between them; in the southern, a lozenge-design carpet with frame is followed
towards the south by four Byzantine rote.
Along the arc of the Upper Adriatic there are many examples of mosaic floors.
But the floor of St. Mark's stands out for its grandeur and the preciousness
and rarity of the eastern, western and North African marbles employed, as
well as for the splendour of the enamels and the variety of scenes drawn
from symbolism and mediaeval literature, or inspired by oriental and western
© 2004 - Procuratoria di San Marco Venezia