When thinking about Saint Mark’s Basilica, the first images that come to the minds of many people are those of the mosaics and their golden backgrounds.
More than 8000 square metres of mosaic cover the walls, vaults and cupolas of the Basilica.
Essentially Byzantine in its architecture, the Basilica finds in the mosaics its natural integrating element. The mosaic decorations were developed through some 8 centuries of the Basilica’s history.
They represent stories from the Bible (Old and New Testaments), allegorical figures, events in the lives of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Mark and other saints.
The mosaics, with their warm colours, particularly gold, decorate the ample spaces of the Basilica, from 28 metres wide up to 21 metres high. As in Middle-Eastern churches, the interaction of the decoration with a dim, but ever changing light, according to the time of day, creates a range of evocative and intense effects.
In the Basilica’s mosaics can be found the most significant evidence of Venice’s history, the ambitions, faith, languages and trends characterizing the evolution of its art. From its Greek-Byzantine origins to the local artistic expressions and the skills to represent and interpret other outside influences, up to the modern, quite difficult art of preservation and restoration of these precious and complicated works.