I know I'm not the only one who keeps a "next time I'm in Venice" list. Whenever I read about something that I want to seek out, I jot it down. A few years ago, I was reading John Freely's "Strolling Through Venice" (a walking tour guide) and read this:
"On the façade of the house on the corner to the right there is a statuette of the Madonna, who is holding the Christ Child and trampling on Satan."
This immediately went on my list! But when I found it, I discovered that the statue is surrounded by plexiglass, hard to see and virtually impossible to photograph.
I took so many photos of this statue, from every angle, trying to find some way though the plexiglass shield. Not much luck!
This was the best I could do, right underneath looking up.
Later on, I learned from my UK blog friend, Bert, that some people call this statue "Sputnik" since the covering resembles some kind of bizarro space craft. A shrine with a nickname...I love it.
Here's the good news. I found a pre-plexiglass photo to scan in!
There's also a photo of the statue on Victorian Web.
It's a unique image of Satan for sure - part cherub, part baby devil (with horns). Because it's painted wood, the statue needs the plexiglass to protect it, but it's a shame that it makes it so difficult to see. I love the little blue stars painted inside the canopy.
There's a local story/legend that this statue was discovered when the canal was drained in the 19th century (whenever you see "Rio Tera" in a street name in Venice, it means that the street/calle is a former canal that was filled in).
If the statue was found in the canal, it might have been the figurehead of a boat. You can find this charming Madonna at San Polo 2614 A (not that far from the Frari).