I’m always on the look-out for angels as I walk around Venice. They aren’t quite as easy to find as shrines or images of the Madonna so I’m happy when I find one. These carvings of Archangel Gabriel are on a vera da pozzo in the courtyard of Palazzo Gabrielli. Both the palace and the well-head are 14th century Gothic; the palace belonged to the noble Venetian family Gabrielli (the archangel was their patron saint).
There’s also a relief of Gabriel on the façade of the palazzo.
The most famous member of this family was Trifone Gabrielli (1470-1549), a humanist and philosopher known as the “Venetian Socrates.” Some people believe he’s the guy on the right (the tutor) in this painting by Giorgione, Giovanni Borgherini and His Tutor. This painting is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
The Palazzo Gabrielli is now a hotel called the Gabrielli Sandwirth. The nice guys at the front desk told me that there was another vera da pozzo, even older than the one with the angels, and sent me off to find it. It’s a nice Byzantine-looking one, but the courtyard was closed and I had to photograph it through glass so excuse the glare!