16 March 2008


Here is the Venetian lion that author Jan Morris named “most pathetic” – “an elderly animal…bearing listlessly in his mouth a label inscribed (sic) Labore.” His twin is posted at the front gate and several brothers guard the garden walls of Palazzo Franchetti, perhaps better known as the Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ad Arti, near Accademia Bridge. Whether or not they bear inscriptions on their labels, none of them seem any too vivacious. And nearly all of them have lost their bushy tail tips. Can this have been the result of some weird vandalism, or merely a failure in their construction? Who can say?

I do wonder, however, why the curious inscription is in English, and what his maker was expressing about labor by attaching this idea to such a defeated, frail creature.

Think about it on the way to work…