Monday, May 16, 2011

Lions of Venice

Along with the multitude of artichokes, gelaterias, and bridges in Venice, you can hardly walk two steps without bumping into a Lion...
The winged lion is Venice's symbol or mascot, since the remains of San Marco, the Evangelist, were stolen from a tomb in Alexandria, Egypt, and brought there in 828 AD. Vitorio Capaccio painted this lion in 1516. The lion is usually depicted with its paw on an book inscribed with the Latin motto goes: Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus.
Aka: Peace be with you Mark, my evangelist.
Being Mark the patron Saint of Venice.

This lion guards the Accademia bridge...
Another lion protecting the courtyard at La Fenice opera house...
Each of the arcades of Piazza San Marco have different lions heads. Fortunately not all are roaring at once...
Caffe Florian in San Marco sprinkles lion heads over it's china, napkins, and sugars. I know. I saved the sugar packets... If a Venetian house has a door knocker, it's likely to be a lions head...
You can follow suit and bring home a lion knocker or doorbell...
Or a winged paper weight. I did not see any Lion masks. Did you?

For a while Venetians kept live lions in their gardens in the 16th century. For a longer while there were thousands of cats, but they were removed to a shelter on the Lido. This Fu dog (Lion of Buddha) is the most current lion to reside in Venice.
Venetians had a penchant for Rhinos as well, illustrated in this Pietro Longhi painting. You do still see a few. There was one on my street corner, fortunately in bronze. Donna Leon has yet to take up Venice's lion in her mystery books, but I've only read four...

The Venetian lion must be a good cell conductor. "Can you hear me now?" This one is lounging in Piazza Mani.
BONJOUR LIONS OF VENICE!

21 comments:

  1. Love lions, and today I did a post about artichokes-- I love those too! Sure looks like you had fun in Venice.

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  2. The Latin motto goes: Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus.
    Aka: Peace be with you Mark, my evangelist.
    Being Mark the patron Saint of Venice.
    Thanks for these glimpses of Venice,a city which I deeply love. If you want to see it in its real, melanchonic essence you have to go in winter.If you are lucky you may even find snow and a white San Marco is a sight to behold.Have a nice day/night, Rosanna

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  3. I would like to be the first to give a ROARRR!!! of approval on your lion post. I have an big old Victorian house, and one of the things (two, actually) I love are the "Lions Rampant" crests, on the front of the second story. I also love the fact that nothings escapes your aesthetically sensitive eye, while on your journeys, Carol.

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  4. Bonjour Carol, and thank you for sharing more of the Venice you saw with us. Lions are beautiful, and provide lots of inspiration for artists in many cultures.

    Certainly the Lions of Venice are spectacular. (Of course, we are also fortunate to have many magnificent lions included in our NYC architecture, too. I wonder if many of those terracotta or store decorative lions might have been created by Italian artists and artisans? And let's not forget the Library Lions!)

    xo

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  5. I'm kind of wishing I'd gotten a lion door-knocker, now that I see them again here. Next time I go, I may have to do that. Nice, Carol!

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  6. Great photos!! Wonderful lions!! I love the last pic!! haha hello!? xx

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  7. LOVE the Venetian lions. The third photo down reminds me of my own King of the Jungle, HARRY CAT! Lordy, if he had wings imagine the hair he could shed everywhere...

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  8. You managed to include my favourite statue in all of venice! The first and last photo contains my favourite. There is also another lion neat San Marco square where the Vaporetto drops you off. On either side there is a lion - one chewing on his chains and the other roaring, to each lion there is a regal looking female - the personification of Venice. On top is an equestrian statue.
    Lovely post! and as an art history student longing to return I really appreciate it when you include the art!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

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  9. That is the lion of Piazza Mani, a stones throw from my hotel more or less.
    I wish I had noticed the Vaporetto stop lions you mention Murissa...

    If I go back soon Sue I'll get you a door knocker. I think they are locally made.
    Hmm...or else made in China like the mini gondola I bought.

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  10. I love that last shot :)
    I remember all of the lions and I loved it! They were everywhere! It's not a bad choice for a symbol!
    (I never knew why there no cats to be seen - unlike Rome and most of Italy.)

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  11. Lions are nice to watch, if sufficiently distant ... or reproduced as here!

    Not quite time yet over there, but here, yes!
    Happy Birthday!

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  12. I would love a winged lion on our front lawn. Somehow, though, I don't believe our neighbors would be quite as enthusiastic about it. They never have been any fun!

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  13. Nice post on Venice. Love all those lions. I definitely would have brought home one of those doorknockers.

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  14. Well of course she's sitting under a lion to use her phone....she wants a private lion. :-)

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  15. I loved the lions in Venice, they were kind of like a trademark for us as travellers. The kids took the best photos in front of them --- divine. x

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  16. Love these variations on a theme seen through your artist's eye - and then all the links within. Another great and fun post - thanks!

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  17. Bojour Carol:

    Happy Birthday from a faithful follower in sunny Chicago.

    Stef

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  18. On one of our nights in Venice we were walking, and a door opened. Out came a cat. We followed that cat for quite a while through the back streets. Finally it came to it's destination. Another dish of food, far from the door he came out of. The cat was living a double life.

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  19. Love your blog, photo, paintings and colors. You get it all together so nicely. If I recall correctly you enjoy questions about Paris. Do you anything about the restaurant Morot-Gaudry? I am thinking about trying to make reservations there this summer. It is near the Eiffel Tower.

    Happy Birthday and happy traveling.

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  20. I can't get enough of your Venice posts, Carol. What a magical place. You are so fortunate to have spent time there. What a visual feast for the eyes.

    LOVE the lions and the symbolism.

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  21. Anonymous9:43 PM

    Thank you for sharing your artists' eye view of La Serenissima. I was there for my "one trip before I die" in February & can't wait to return! Best, Gail

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