The Cistern Crown by the Provveditore Angelo Gradenigo

Style period: renaissance

Century: 16 A.D.

The cistern crown by the Krk provveditore Angelo Gradenigo (the island provveditore from 1557 until 1559) was made in 1558. For the then circumstances, it was a skilful and rich realization which represented the most significant example of carved Renaissance urban accoutrements on the island and the wider area of Kvarner. The conservation restoring intervention conducted in the 1990s, the crown was reconstructed after it had been disassembled and built in the parapet zone of the façade on the building “Stara Pošta” at Vela Placa(Great Market). Today the cistern crown takes the central position on the square Vela Placa, but its original ubication was probably in the provveditore’s palace, today in ruins, on the south eastern part of the city, which is witnessed by the entry of the notary J. A. Petris.
The crown is hexagonal and consists of six relief tablets, which have an identical profile of the base and the wreath, their sides are aslant, and the back sides concave. Their dimensions differ. The longer tablets, dimensions 119 x 85 cm, contain the images of the winged lion of St Marco, the image of St Kvirin and the coat of arms of A. Gradenigo, while the smaller tablets, dimensions 86 x 85 cm, contain festoons and inscriptions.
The tablet showing the city patron, St Kvirin, contains a small, centrally placed figure of a saint. The character is in counterpoise, dressed in a bishop’s attire and he is cloaked with a cape, holding a model of the city and crosier in his hands. The saint’s name is written on the left and right side of the character. The second tablet shows a typical image of an upright winged lion of St Marco with an open book. The final tablet with greater dimensions contains a shield adorned by acanthus leaves, with the provveditore Gradenigo coat of arms within, showing diagonally placed stairs; his name was written in capital letters and the year 1558 in Roman numerals. Two smaller tablets contain festoons, leaves and fruit wreaths, hanging on links loosely beribboned with ribbons having a forked ending. The third smaller tablet contains a text celebrating the provveditore’s success in solving the conflict between the people of Krk and in the defence of the city from the Uskoks.
The well crowns are a constitutive part of the public area accoutrement in the cities from the Middle Ages onwards. Besides their functional characteristic, in time they obtained the representative feature with their rich form, carved figures or inscriptions cut on them. They are an obligatory part of numerous Venetian squares, as well as other cities under Venetian government, often providing the basic characteristic of a space, which is often the case in Zadar squares of the Five Wells and the Three Wells. Besides on squares, the well crowns can often be found in the yards of residential palaces and public buildings.
The Krk crown originates from the Venetian cultural and artistic circle. The quality of the relief indicates that it was made in one of the specialized stone carving workshops or a master from the centre of production – Venice. Besides the crown relief, the same workshop probably made the tombstone of Ivan and Marija Šubić in the cathedral.


  • Bolonić, Mihovil, Žic-Rokov, Ivan, Otok Krk kroz vjekove, Kršćanska sadašnjost, Zagreb, 1977.
  • Bradanović, Marijan, Šesterostrana kruna krčkog providura Angela Gradeniga, u: Prilozi povijesti umjetnosti u Dalmaciji, 40, 2005., str.239-253