The Lion of St Mark – Vittore Carpaccio

Doge’s Palace

The painting unfurls with a roar. At the centre stands the majestic mascot of the kings of Venice. But the lion wears no crown but a halo. It also holds a book with the words – ‘Peace to you, Mark the Evangelist.’
Mark never met the historical Christ, yet he prominently preached the Good News. Appointed Bishop of Aquileia, he often traveled by boat and preached to the surrounding islands, soon to form modern-day Venice. On one such journey, the angel appeared in the form of a winged lion and said, ‘Peace to you, Mark my Evangelist. Here will your body rest.’ Today the renowned Basilica of Venice treasures the relics of St Mark while the Lion of St Mark marks the city’s motif.

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