Enrico Dandolo and the Crusaders in Saint Mark’s Basilica

Carlo Saraceni

Palazzo Ducale (The Doges’ Palace)

The telero (large painting), that Saraceni was not able to complete because he died first and that was completed by his French pupil Jean Leclerc, was the most important order received by the painter in his city.

The scene portrays a historical event: the time when Doge Enrico Dandolo (1107-1205) swore his oath in view of the IV Crusade which lasted from 1202 to 1205 and that, in addition to the conquest of Constantinople, returned to Venice the cities of Trieste, Muggia and Zadar.

The Doge is portrayed on the top left, inside a loggia over the iconostasis of Saint Mark’s Basilica, whose columns and statues of the Apostles are represented by the sides of the Crucifixion; all around, the church swarms with figures, mostly of Crusaders going to war. Amidst them, overhead, the Venice Patriarch stands out.

Trivia: the famous illustrator Gustave Dorè, who portrayed the same subject, exactly drew the detail of the Saint Mark loggia in his etching. 


Works in Italy
Works around the world