Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 6, 2014

Adam and Eve and naughty Noah

With our trusty Secret Venice in hand we set off to discover the beautiful columns at the Doge’s Palace in San Marco. The columns end in capitals adorned with 600 carved images. The original works were sculpted between 1340 and 1355. Some of the originals were replaced by copies in the late 19th century. (The originals are in the Museum of the Palace Fabric in the Doge’s Palace)

The images form a narrative combining the created world and divine majesty, history and myth and celebrate justice, wisdom and prayer.

The largest of the sculptures are Adam and Eve, The Drunkenness of Noah and the Judgement of Solomon. The story begins on the southwest corner with the creation of Adam and the eating of the forbidden fruit.


On the corner beside the Bridge of Sighs is The Drunkenness of Noah. Cham derides his father, while his other son tries to cover his nakedness. What on earth had he been doing and how did he end up naked?



On the corner nearest to the entrance to the cathedral is The Judgement of Solomon.


The smaller sculptures cover topics such as birds of prey, Latin women, Solomon and the Seven Sages, Houses of the Planets and more.

A favourite was Seven Deadly Sins, plus vanity. Before I read about the images I thought Gluttony was someone eating a gelato. It is, in fact, a figure raising a cup of wine and biting into a leg of meat…thank goodness for the book. Gluttony is followed by pride, sloth, vanity, envy, lust, wrath and avarice.

Next time you wander aimlessly past the Doge’s Palace, look up and be amazed.


  1. Noah getting drunk is one of the wierdest passage in the Bible. He plants a vineyard and then gets dead drunk on his wine and lies naked in the vineyard. The sons have to cover up his nakedness and tells others how they found their dad. When he sobers up Noah gets very angry that his sons told others about him being found naked.

    • What did he do between getting drunk and lying naked in the vineyard?

  2. Amazeballs Deb – glad the book is proving useful

    • The book is great fun, it has been dragging us, sometimes against our will, all over Venice.

  3. Beautiful pictures and great stories behind all those sculptures. They were there not only for decoration purposes, but it was a way to teach the Bible to those who were unable to read and write… and there were many at that time…

    • I had fun reading the stories. They must have been amazing for the visitors to Venice centuries ago.

  4. Thanks for this! I often go to Venice as we live nearby and I confess I rarely look up to study these! Wonderful, clear photos and great stories too..

    • I have walked past many times without taking any notice. It is so much more interesting when you know the stories behind the sculptures.

  5. Great photos and info!

    • The book is a mine of interesting stuff. I highly recommend it.

  6. What a tale those sculptures tell, Debra. Great shots! 🙂

    • They are very interesting, I’m so glad Liz gave us the book.

  7. I too have wandered past a couple of times but never had the camera like yours to get such beautiful detail in the pictures. Clever you. Just fabulous . Have you ben to have a Bellini at Harry’s Bar. and is the Hotel Danielle still elegant?

    • We had lunch at Harry’s…with Bellini, and aperitivo at Florian. I haven’t been inside Danielle, but it looks good from the outside.

  8. Gorgeous! Just imagine the skills.

  9. Fantastic Debra! You must have had cricks in your necks by the end of it 🙂

    • My head was spinning from the constant looking up.

  10. […] here, here and here for more secret finds…there will be more to […]

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