📍 🇮🇹 Entering the Basilica di San Marco
Right after purchasing your ticket, you will enter through the Great Beginning: Genesis. God creating all things. But pay attention to another mid-13th century mosaic above the main portal, on the far left, often referred to as the “Christ enthroned between the Virgin and St Mark in the form of a Deesis”.
This explanatory quote by English historian John Ruskin helps to catch the religious practice behind:
"Our eyes are now familiar and wearied with writing; and if an inscription is put upon a building, unless it be large and clear, it is ten to one whether we ever trouble ourselves to decipher it. But the old architect was more sure of readers... we must take some pains therefore, when we enter St Mark's, to read all that is inscribed, or we shall not penetrate into the feeling either of the builder or of his times. When after his baptism, the catuchumen [new Christian] was permitted to enter the church, over its main entrance he saw, on looking back, a mosaic of Christ enthroned in attitudes of adoration. Christ is represented as holding a book upon his knee, on which is written:
"I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." [from John, 10:9]. This and the first dome after the main door represent the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to sanctify those who had become His Children…"
____ Sources ____
>> John Ruskin, “The Stones of Venice”, 1851