Mosaic of the Last Judgement. The cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta was first built in 639, but rebuilt, almost 400 years later, in 1008, which makes it the oldest surviving building in the Venetian lagoon.
The church takes the form of a basilica, with a long nave and two lower side aisles. There are three apses at the eastern end of the church. The plain brick façade is preceded by a narthex. In front of the narthex are the remains of a circular 7th century baptistery.
The cathedral is famous across the world for its mosaics, some of the most beautiful in Italy, which date back to the late 11th century. The counter-façade is filled with an enormous and energetic mosaic of the Last Judgement (late 12th/early 13th century). The choir is separated from the nave by an 11th century iconostasis. The screen is made up of slender marble columns and Byzantine marble panels, which are decorated with animal reliefs. The iconostasis is surmounted by a series of paintings of the Virgin and the twelve Apostles, the work of an unknown 15th century Venetian artist. The mosaic in the central apse of the cathedral is one of the most beautiful depictions of the Madonna in Byzantine art. Mary is identified (by the Greek letters to either side of her head) as the Mother of God (Theotokos). Holding the Christ Child in one arm, while pointing at him with the other, she is portrayed as the Virgin Hodegeteria (literally: She who shows the way). The lower tier of the apse depicts eleven of the Apostles and St Paul.
The campanile, which rises to a height of 55 metres, dates back to the 11th century. The view from the top of the bell-tower is breath-taking. #byzantine #byzantineart #mosaic #prayericon #religiousart #sacredart #christian #christianart #arthistory #venice #basilica