Hidden treasures

The other Pala d'Oro in St Mark's - Venice

Unknown places & works

The other Pala d'Oro in St Mark's - Venice

Every day a large number of visitors to St Mark's Basilica in Venice go to see the famous St Mark's Pala d'Oro, behind the high altar of the church. But not everyone knows that there is another Pala, also very precious, that decorated the altar in the Basilica: the Pala feriale, painted by Paolo Veneziano in 1345.

This work served as a cover or custody of the Pala d'Oro, which was only exposed to worshippers  during major festivals, and was commissioned by the Doge Andrea Dandolo (during 1307 – 1354) - one of the most important patrons of art works for the basilica and the last doge who was buried in St. Mark's Square. It is considered the masterpiece of Venetian painting of the 14th century, which combines artistic elements of Eastern and other Western artists.

The large half figures in the upper register recall the Greek or Greek-Venetian iconostases, while the narrative cycle of the life of St. Mark and his Venetian ‘legend' painted in the seven panels of the lower register have a western conception and style. Above, around Christ, you have, in addition to the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist, the saints of Venice: St Mark and St Teodoro on the left, St Peter and St Nicholas on the right. Amongst the seven episodes of the lower register, the first four narrate the life of St. Mark, while the other three describe the theft of the relics of the saint and their subsequent transportation to Venice.

After a thorough restoration the Pala has now returned to its splendour and you can admire it in the St Mark's Museum, thanks to the tour St Mark's Museum and cathedral from above.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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