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Zeno's energy and impatience

Published May 20, 2022
Updated Oct 27, 2022

📍 🇮🇹 Zeno's energy and impatience

Verone's Romanesque jewel. One of the 12th century’s richest and most delicate building (reconstruction began in 1120 CE, end of repairs around 1400 CE).

First things first: the facade. Harmonious, massively squared, with a 12th century bell tower on the side. Rounded Romanesque strips all over, and drawn with remarkable ternary precision. Very moving to think that Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) saw this, as one of his Purgatory chants indicates, when on the way to God's saving light (Purg. XVII).

Leaving Venice's lagoon for a little while, English historian Ruskin describes the exterior best in our view:

"All in Venice is graceful, fixed or languid, even lazy... and thus my first impression on coming to Verona is the exquisitely neat masonry here. Nothing can be more chaste, pure, or solemn… Venetian-byzantine birds for instance peck idly at the fruit, and the animals hardly touch it with their noses. But the Lombard animals of Zeno are all alive, and fiercely alive too, all impatience and spring: they peck at it hungrily and naturally...".

Ruskin saw here Northern (read German) energy as well as a certain appeal and knowledge of hunting ("their chase passion"), which island-bound Venetians obviously lacked.

____ Sources ____

>> Dante, "Purgatory", 1320
>> John Ruskin, "Stones of Venice", 1851

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10th-14th CE