Venice:Speaking statue: John the Baptist

If/when you’re in Venice, here is something to visit: a sculpture beautifully described by the art historian/broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon thus:

“Donatello more vividly, more brilliantly, more viscerally than anyone else creates these figures which seem as if they are on the point of speech – and that tradition which is embodied by this sculpture of John the Baptist – this sculpture is absolutely stunning – it’s really worth going to see.  It’s John the Baptist but he’s on the verge of speech – it’s very very hard to believe that you’re not in the presence of a person when you’re with it.

1917-Saint-John-the-Baptist_1.jpgThat idea of the speaking likeness – the figure from the Biblical past – the spiritually charged  prophet, that you stand in the presence of, and you feel they’re almost alive with you there, speaking to you – that does come to Venice, but it comes in the form of sculpture, not so much in the form of painting.”

Andrew refers to Venetian art as having “this pull or the draw towards the idea of the golden, sparkling realm of the transcendant”  




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