St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Basilica

The religious heart of Venice is embodied in Saint Mark’s Basilica, located between the seat of power – the Doge’s Palace – and the seat of knowledge – the Marciana Library.

Crossing the porch of the basilica, one must look at the ground, because it presents a veritable anthology of Euclidean theorems. The eye and the mind savour the fruit of fertile interferences between geometry, perspectives and optical effects. We are witnessing the marriage of reason and imagination without ever leaving pure mathematical thought.

This unique pavement of marble and semi-precious stones dating from the 12th century is made up of circles, spirals, loops, diamonds and triangles. Through its interplay of reliefs and visual illusions, it offers a masterful demonstration of mathematical beauty.

This photographic essay was taken in November 1984 with a film camera and a tripod. Each documented area covers 30 cm2. In order to respect the exact scale of the subject, the print on paper retains the same dimensions of the original design and thus remains life size.

What appears in these photo documents no longer exists as is, as a major restoration of the pavement began in 2020 due to climate change and the “aqua alta” (high tide) affecting Venice.


01_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

02_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

03_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

04_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

05_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

06_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

07_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

08_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

09_St. Marks Basilica, 1984

10_St. Marks Basilica, 1984