This magnificent painting illustrates the opening of Marco Polo’s Travels, and shows Marco, his father and his uncle on the brink of their departure from Venice in 1271, bound for Kublai Khan’s Xanadu. In the bottom left exotic creatures evoke the marvellous lands for which they are headed. The painting not only celebrates the Polos’ adventurousness, but the imperialist ambitions, wealth and extravagance for which Venice was famed.
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