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Posts Tagged ‘Baroque’

Churches, Venice

San Giorgio Maggiore, Palladio

Venice has a rich tradition of ecclesiastical architecture. The dome of the nearest church is never far on the horizon. Ironically, some of the best buildings are outside the city limits, on the island of Giudecca.

Buoyed by his success elsewhere in the Veneto, Palladio moved to Venice in the mid-16th century. Two of his most famous commissions, San Giorgio Maggiore (1565) and Il Redentore (1576-77) are located here.

Il Redentore, Palladio

Palladio’s churches solve the problem of designing a facade to fit the basilican cross section. A taller temple front, with four Corinthian columns, covers the nave; whilst a low, wide pediment fits the aisles. The churches exploit the Renaissance dome, but do not result from central planning. Columns on the exterior are replicated indoors, with barrel vaults forming the structure. Palladio’s crisp, monumental churches contrast with more decorative architecture found inside Venice.

First published in 1570, the Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (four books of architecture) are Palladio’s legacy. The collection contains accurate drawings of Palladio’s own designs and reconstructions of Antiquity. The books have proved useful to many famous architects, including the British architect Inigo Jones, who used the Quattro Libri as his guide for a journey to Rome.

Santa Maria della Salute, Baldassare

Another remarkable Venetian church, Santa Maria della Salute (began 1631), sits at the southern end of the Grand Canal. To commemorate the Plague, Longheno Baldassare designed an octagonal church in the Baroque style. The central plan, in the form of a rotunda, depicts Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Views within the church are carefully controlled. Arches serve to frame vistas outdoors to the Grand Canal, whilst allowing passers-by to view the altar. Like the Teatro Olympico, lighting is designed to enhance the spectacle. Structural elements are picked out in grey stone, contrasting with the white-washed walls behind. Externally, the facade is decorated with elaborate scrolls. Baldassare’s dome can been seen from many parts of Venice, contributing to the city’s picturesque skyline.

Santa Maria della Salute, from the Ponte dell'Accademia

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