Updated: Oct 29, 2021
The mosaic floor of Ca' d'Oro in Venice is not old at all. It was designed and laid down in the 20th century and yet it is reminiscent of the Cosmati floors of Roman churches and the colors used are those used in ancient times.
Giorgio Franchetti, who bought Ca' d'Oro to house his art collection, designed and partially installed the mosaics himself. The mosaics Venice is known for - the mosaics of San Marco, those of the church of Santa Maria e San Donato in Murano and in the island of Torcello, the mosaics found in S. Maria Assunta, were his inspiration. Franchetti was also inspired by the Byzantine tradition. Sadly he died before this stupendous project was completed.
But as I find myself in the midst of this geometric wonder in the 21st century, I understand how much Franchetti related to what came before him and although, not a native Venetian, how much insync he was with Venice and its art. In turn, I connect to Franchetti and to what has come before me through the magical guile of Venice. It only took me a while to get here. I discovered the mosaics of Ca' d'Oro on my 47th trip to Venice.
The mosaics are not designed to boost a man’s ego but to harmonize with the beauty of the space in which they are housed. It’s not the same pattern all through but you are led from one pattern to the other effortlessly. One space becomes many spaces. Many spaces become one unit as you step aside or sit on one of the many marble benches provided around the immense space. This is not a space that you can absorb in in one quick glance. You want to slowly take everything in and when you finally leave, you look with anticipation to the next visit.