St Mark’s Basilica is located at the Eastern end of St Mark’s Square, Venice and is attached to Doge Palace. It’s one of the most visited cathedrals in Europe, and is both dedicated to and holds the relics of St Mark the Evangelist – the patron saint of the city. With a blend of Gothic, Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, it’s one of the most impressive buildings in Europe.
Michael decided to paint the Basilica from the Western end of St Mark’s Square, looking towards the church. The design of the square with its parallel lines help lead the eye into the painting; while the figures give the work scale. The square has multiple focal points, including The Campanile and Doge Palace. However, due to their positioning around the line of the Basilica, the interest is concentrated to one area around the church, with the buildings on either side preventing the eye from wandering outside the picture.
The flags add a splash of colour and enhance the majesty of the scene, while the glorious sunlight and reflections in the puddles create the mood.