15 Jan 2023 00:00

Hidden in Plain Sigth: An (un)curated exhibition on the Tetrarchs and Arsenal Lions of Venice

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Virtual Exhibition curated by Elisa Corrò and Francesca Dolcetti
Realised in collaboration with the Department of Humanities and Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities
15 November 2022 – 15 January 2023.

In this exhibition we explore the concept of the Latin spolium, movable objects taken by force, often spoils of war put on display. A term that in the early modern period was adapted to signify reused objects from antiquity, losing its association with war/violence. The use of spolia connected Venice with a Roman legacy still active in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The exhibition focuses on the spolia from the Eastern Mediterranean visible today on St. Mark's church and at Venice Arsenal, as documents of the strong identification of thirteenth-century Venice with Roman Cultural Heritage.

We chose the title "Hidden in Plain Sight" because while both the Arsenal Lions and the Tetrarchs are an integral part of Venice Cultural Heritage, they tend to be overlooked in the richness of the city's heritage and attractions.

Within this virtual gallery space we recreated a museum storage room to narrate the Story of these artefacts. We chose to display closeup pictures taken for photogrammetry purposes as the main subject of the exhibitions, to offer a different perspective and show details of the Lions and Tetrarchs that might go unnoticed. Casual shots that symbolize particular meanings and perceptions.

An experience that is enhanced by the possibility to interact with the 3D digital replicas in the gallery space. Accompanying these exhibits are various media contents, created using both digital and printed replicas the Lions and Tetrarchs, to discuss the issue of the endangered Venice Cultural Heritage and tell alternative, more playful stories about the spolia.

Special thanks to Federico Bernardini, Eleonora Delpozzo, Nevio Danelon, Paola Peratello and all the participants in the Venice Summer School in Digital and Public Humanities 2022.

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