A flag flying on one of the three ceiling ovals, in which the biblical stories of Esther and Mordecai are recalled, presents a black eagle on a red background and has been read as a Habsburg flag until now, in relation to the events of which on. In reality the Habsburg flag has never had a red background, but a clear one.
The Albanian flag
It was published in the number CXCVIII, third series 10 / II (2011) of the prestigious magazine of sciences, letters and arts «Ateneo Veneto» an article of Lucia Nadin, of which the author had given the news in Tirana, last November, on the occasion of the celebrations of the Centenary of the Independence of Albania, entitled: Proposal to re-read the paintings by Paolo Veronese in San Sebastiano a Venezia: Scanderbeg, Miles Christi, and the Church of Albania.
The article, the author specifies, is only a foretaste of studies it has in progress and intends to return to Albania an exceptional place of art in Venice: the church of San Sebastiano, located in the Dorsoduro district, very famous because "author's" church: in fact it is a very rare example of a church in which the entire decorative apparatus bears the signature of a single artist: Paolo Caliari, the Veronese, one of the greatest interpreters of Venetian painting of the '500.
A symbolic place, therefore, a famous Renaissance monument of international renown, known as the "temple" of the artist who also wanted to be buried in it. Unfortunately a series of frescoes went over the time destroyed.
The Veronese paintings, from the ceiling of the Sacristy, to the ceiling of the central nave, to the walls, to the area of the barco, that is to say the hanging choir reserved for the friars of the adjoining convent, up to the large canvases of the Presbytery, were executed over a period of time between the 1555 and the 1565. Throughout the cycle the triumph of the Faith / Church / Virgin Mary is celebrated through the exemplary story of one of his martyrs: Saint Sebastian.
The prevailing reading on the part of art critics has linked the cycle to celebratory intents in an anti-protester function, in relation to the events that saw in the early sixteenth century the explosion of the Lutheran protest against the Catholic church and the related religious wars.
A flag flying on one of the three ceiling ovals, in which the biblical stories of Esther and Mordecai are recalled, presents a black eagle on a red background and has been read as a Habsburg flag until now, in relation to the events of which on.
In reality the Habsburg flag has never had a red background, but a clear one.
The reading proposed by Lucia Nadin is quite different and also makes use of her studies on Albanian emigration in the Veneto region in the second half of the fifteenth century, following the great events that shocked the Balkans then, which became massive after the death of Scanderbeg and after the peace with the Turks in the 1479, following the two exhausting sieges of Scutari and Drivasto in the 1474 and the 1478.
The scholar, formerly Professor of Italian Literature at the State University of Tirana, starts from the flag of the ceiling in the church, which recalls the flag of Scanderbeg and therefore of the Castriota, already described by Marino Barlezio and confirmed as an Albanian flag by Konica in the 1908 and then on the occasion of the Albanian independence in the 1912: black bicep eagle on a red background.
The Nadin metaphorically reads the vicissitudes of Mordecai, who fights for the redemption of his Jewish people, events that overlap with those of Giorgio Castriota. He then analyzes the whole celebration of Saint Sebastian who - in an unusual way for the Venetian tradition - is presented not as a holy miracle worker, but as Miles Christi, who confronts Diocletian, the great persecutor of the Christians, and therefore goes to the safe martyrdom, for the triumph of the Faith.
In San Sebastiano, Miles Christi, metaphorically overlaps also in this case Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg, repeatedly appealed by various popes to the Miles Christi, defender of Western Christianity.
The goat's head
The frieze of a goat's head runs along the entire high wall of the nave of the church and in the boat: reference to the acute sight of the animal in the medieval Bestiares, a symbol of the farsightedness of the Christ.
But the goat's head was also to decorate the crown of Scanderbeg, when he became king of his people, following the crusade wanted by Pope Pio II and ended tragically with the death of the pope himself in Ancona.
Therefore another precise castriota symbol, "Albanian".
In the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian displayed in the canvases of the presbytery the author reads the martyrdom of the whole Church of Albania; and in a specific person who wears a garment with a double-headed eagle crowned with a reference to the Angeli family, who saw the Knightly Order of Saint George recognized by the Roman Curia at the beginning of the fifties: a family that was engaged in a tenacious work of recovery of historical memory of Albania (for which work see also the recent work of Nadin, in bilingual edition: Albania found again. Recoveries of Albanian presences in the culture and art of the sixteenth century from Veneto, Tirana, Onufri, 2012).
The full account of the author's studies on the Church of San Sebastiano is therefore awaited; but already from this article that anticipates them, to Albania a very important and fundamental page of its history is returned and a place of art for excellence, so much more charismatic because tied to the work of one of the greatest painters of all times: Paolo Veronese.
We wish to recall, at the end of this article, the important discovery of Lucia Nadin of Statutes of Scutari, recovered by the scholar after almost seven centuries from the original drafting in the Library of the Correr Museum in Venice: Lucia Nadin reported it in the 1997 at the Scientific Conference of the Luigi Gurakuqi University of Scutari. Albania News published the 1 April 2012 news with the article: A monument of medieval Albania: the Statutes of Scutari.
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