St Mark's Basilica Analysis

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Amidst the gondolas and waterways of Venice, Italy lies an iconic and historic center of worship. Saint Mark’s Basilica, built over a thirty- one year span from 1063 to 1094, has been used for Roman Catholic mass services for almost 1,000 years. Home to extensive mosaics and stunning architecture, Saint Mark’s Basilica stands as a testament to the splendor and religious importance of the eleventh century. The complex architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica blends techniques from three different cultures/ eras. One can identify elements of both Byzantine, Gothic, and Italian architecture in Saint Mark’s Basilica (San Marco Basilica). The basic plan for the basilica is a “Greek Cross plan.” There are five major domes in the church: one…show more content…
Saint Mark’s Basilica was built during the Romanesque period, the time when the mastery of mosaics and the use of frescoes came into play in Italy. Both are seen in abundance at Saint Mark’s Basilica. While the interior of Saint Mark’s is mostly comprised of mosaics, the entrances have frescoes painted above them. Frescoes were popular before Michelangelo and other renaissance artists truly mastered them, as seen in earlier examples in Saint Mark’s Basilica. As mentioned earlier, Saint Mark’s Basilica has no shortage of mosaics. The figures of most Italian mosaics have pointed features and stiff figures. As seen to the left in the Anastasis mosaic, the figures are bent into unnatural positions, unlike the fluid proportions and figures of Greek or Roman statues. Italian figures are also out of proportion; the legs are often much too long for the torso and the rest of the body. In these ways, the mosaics of Saint Mark’s are typical of those of other Italian Romanesque mosaics. An architectural feature of Italian churches is the stone arch, another common feature of Saint Mark’s Basilica. To support the weight of the stone, there were fewer windows and the windows are often smaller. For the most part, this is true of Saint Mark’s Basilica, which has smaller and fewer windows than Gothic cathedrals. Another architectural feature of Italian churches is the “campanile” or bell tower. The campanile of Saint Mark’s Basilica was not built at the same time as the original basilica, but was added on later in 1514. These artistic and architectural features make Saint Mark’s Basilica representative of traditional Italian

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