I wonder how many tourists travelling to, or from, Murano notice the bronze sculpture of two figures standing in a small boat, which is located in the water between the Fondamenta Nove and the island of San Michele. The boat rests on a slightly submerged platform, which is designed to rock with the waves. One figure points with his outstretched arm, while turning to his companion.
The sculpture is known as the Barque of Dante and is the creation of the Russian artist, Georgy Frangulyan (b.1945). It recalls a scene from the Divine Comedy, in which Dante, on his journey into hell, is directed across the river Acheron, its waters heaving with tormented souls, by Virgil.
In Frangulyan's barque, Virgil is leading Dante to Venice's island of the dead, the final resting place of three of the Russian's compatriots, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Joseph Brodsky.
The Barque of Dante was part of the 2007 Biennale, but when the exhibition came to an end it was decided that the sculpture should remain permanently in Venice.