Basilica Ghost Image

Last week I spent some days at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. The college is run by a group of Benedictine monks who also operate the California school where I work, and I was there with a group representing my school.

St. Anselm’s College has on loan a heritage edition of the St. John’s Bible, a modern commission that follows many of the traditional practices for creating an illuminated manuscript. But you’ll see that this is a rather modern version, with a range of artistic styles represented. The original on vellum and done completely by hand is at St. John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota. A printed “heritage” edition of it, which is what we saw, costs a cool $135,000.  You can see details about the St. John’s Bible here: St. John’s Bible

But why am I blogging about it? The group I was traveling with enjoyed a curated “tour” of the volume that contains the gospels. Here are the opening pages to the Gospel According to Mark:


When I looked closer, I noticed this detail. Behind Mark are the gilded outlines of the Basilica San Marco in Venice. They are vague impressions rather than sharp depictions, but the Basilica is unmistakable.


For comparison, here’s the Basilica:

Basilica di San Marco venice

I asked the curator, Keith, who has received extensive training in the making of the St. John’s Bible, and he confirmed that the imagery is intentional.



A statue of St. Anselm on the college’s grounds

The lion os St Mark is not only seen in Venice. He also lives in the library at St. Anslem’s College.


(Photo of the Basilica from Can you believe I didn’t have my own photo to use??)

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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4 Responses to Basilica Ghost Image

  1. Nancy Schwalen says:

    I am jealous that you saw these magnificent illustrations. I’ve seen pictures in magazines and those are stunning but to see them “up close and personal” – Wow.

  2. Cecelia Pierotti says:

    Isn’t it wonderful how Venice follows certain of us around, wherever we are?!!!

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