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Venice 2014

The Main Apse

Venice: St. Mark's Cathedral: Main Apse Mosaic: Mark

Saint Mark, main apse mosaic, Basilica di San Marco, Venice

Entering the main portal of San Marco, visitors are greeted by Four saints:  Saint Nicholas, Saint Peter, Saint Mark, and Saint Hermagoras .  Saint Peter and Mark are the two central figures, bring the most significant to the site.  Peter faces Mark with his hand extended, seemingly handing him the codex.  This is most likely symbolic of the close relationship between the two, as it was Peter who baptized Mark and sent him on missions to Italy and Eygpt to spread Christianity.  The location in the narthex, directly inside the basilica, serves to remind visitors of the solidity of Venice's relationship with the Saint.

Mark is shown in full frontal pose, a position popular in Christian art as it is considered more direct and truthful. He is garbed in blue and white robes, colors often associated with purity.  In his left hand, Mark holds the codex containing his Gospel, but his hand is covered with his robe, so his hand does not directly touch the book. This is a motif commonly used when depicting holy personages with sacred objects.  This pose may also indicate he is passiing the gospel to Saint Hermagoras, since he was one of Mark's most loyal followers.  This progression of handing the books from Peter to Mark, and Mark to Hermagoras, could symbolize the passing of the torch.  

The style is Byzantine with the stylistic linear quality of his robes and the gold implied ground line against a flat gold landscape.  His name, enscribed in Latin serves as a label, which each saint has to set them apart from one another.  Discoloration is evident in some areas of the surrounding gold background where restoration has taken place.