Study of Mosaic, 'Obadiah, Habakkuk, Hosea and Johah', Eastern Dome, San Marco, Venice, ItalyArtist:
Thomas Matthews Rooke
, British, 1842 - 1942
Material and Medium: watercolour, bodycolour and gold on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 455 x 605mm
Support: 388 x 559mm
Accession Number: CGSG00199
John Ruskin placed particular importance on the vivid stories told in San Marco’s mosaics because they would have been the only illustrations available to Venetian citizens 900 years ago. He also felt that their style, known as ‘Byzantine’ was the important stepping-stone from ancient classical art to that of the modern period. Ruskin was distressed that Venice's authorities were restoring and replacing the mosaics so together with the artist, Edward Burne-Jones, Ruskin made a public plea to request funding for a project to record them before unsympathetic restoration could destroy them.
Rooke’s study is part of this project. He has painted the dome from below the High Altar but has altered the perspective to give detailed illustrations of the different figures and a clear indication of the mosaic's structure. He produced a number of these records, together with a view of the complete dome from below. Ruskin noted his devotion: '[he] is doing this for love and mere journeyman's wages.'