In a recent post I mentioned the façade of San Moisè, and it will probably feature fully later in this project, but for now we’ll settle for a detail.
The use of statuary to celebrate the lives of the benefactors who funded its construction (as is also the case at Santa Maria del Giglio) was described by Ruskin as a
manifestation of insolent atheism
I prefer the description provided by travel writer Jan Morris in her book The World of Venice…
Take, in particular, the myriad carved animals that decorate this city, and contribute powerfully to its grotesquerie….there is no zoo in Venice, but a mad-cap menagerie is carved upon its walls, for wherever you go these unhinged creatures peer at you from the masonry: dogs, crocodiles, birds, cockatrices, crabs, snakes, camels, monsters of diverse and horrifying species…there are some very queer dromedaries (the Venetian artist never could do camels, and the two on the façade of San Moise seem to have the heads of turtles).
Here is one of the two offending beasts; do you think she’s right?