Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010: Evansville Diocesan Choir sings at Saint Mark's Basilica

Incantato Tours proudly presents the first Italy Performance Tour venue for the Diocesan Tour Choir from Evansville, Indiana: the Basilica di San Marco in Venice welcomes the singers on Thursday, September 23 at 6:45 pm.

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, more commonly known as Saint Mark’s Basilica, is a cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice in northern Italy. Located on the Piazza San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica is the city’s most famous church and a prime example of Byzantine architecture. Since 1807, the church has served as the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. The building earned its nickname, “Church of Gold,” for its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power.

The exterior of the basilica consists of three registers: lower, upper, and domes. Five rounded arch portals enveloped by polychrome marble columns create the lower register, which opens into the narthex through bronze-fashioned doors. Romanesque art adorns the rounded ceiling above the central door. The lateral portals feature mosaics preserved from the thirteenth century that tell the stories of Saint Mark’s relics. Statues of Theological and Cardinal Virtues, four Warrior Saints, and Saint Mark watch over the city from the top arches of the upper register. Greek horses face the square from the center of the balcony.

Upon entering, the building’s narthex prepares visitors’ eyes for the suffused atmosphere of the gilded interior. Similarly, the mosaic depictions of Old Testament stories represented on the narthex ceiling prepares worshipers for the New Testament Gospel received within the basilica. Bright mosaics containing gold, bronze, and a variety of brilliant stones decorate the 8000 square meter upper interior of the basilica. The most ancient works boast both Byzantine and Gothic influences. Moving from east to west within the church walls, visitors can contemplate the history of Salvation through the chronological art of the domes.

The spacious interior of the building, with its multiple choir lofts, inspired the development of Venetian polychoral compositional style often utilized by Saint Mark’s appointed maestros.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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