Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trophées de Venise

As I embark on a trip that will enable me to explore, admire and fall in love with Venice, I thought it perfectly fitting to live the excitement of experiencing the glory of "La Serenissima" ("the most serene", the name conferred onto the Republic of Venice) through the very design that Hermes chose in paying tribute to the city built in the middle of the sea.  

"Trophées de Venise" ("Trophies of Venice") is an ode to the cultural richness offered uniquely by Venice, as the focal point of this design - the four horses depicted from an angle slightly to the right of the ensemble - makes obvious.  The illustration is a direct reference to the Triumphal Quadriga, the bronze horses adorning the façade of St. Mark's basilica since the thirteen century (previously, they had crowned - appropriately - the Hippodrome of Constantinople until the city fell, during the Fourth Crusade of 1204, to the Christian armies; the Venetian troops were quick to "rescue" them by bringing them back to Venice; there was a further hiatus in their presence in St. Mark's square, thanks to Napoleon's wish to place them on the "Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel"; the originals have since been returned to Venice, where the exact replicas continue to look over St. Mark's square while the originals can be admired inside).

The corners above the horse ensemble depict further highly recognizable elements of Venice - St. Mark's basilica, with its eclectic architectural motifs, and two of the ubiquitous bridges across the lagoon canals, underneath which you recognize the gondola heads (whose iron, used to gain stability by counter-balancing the gondolier's weight, is a mini-map of Venice: the six strips called "pettini" (comb) represent the six "sestieri" (quarters); an additional long strip represents Giudecca Island; the double "S" bending represents the Grand Canal; on top is a stylized dogal horn and, under that, a lunette representing the Rialto bridge).

All around the apparent circles are illustrations of the domes found in the churches of Venice.  Finally, the two peacocks placed in the middle of the lower half of the design are a direct reference to the byzantine art, ever so present in the Venice's architectural gems.  Within the spiritual teachings of Christianity, they symbolize resurrection, renewal and immortality.

Needless to say that I'm thrilled to have the chance and opportunity to re-live the experiences I've been deriving from my readings on Venice, in real life.

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