San Trovaso, Gesuati, San Stefano, Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Ca’Loredan and Ca’Farsetti
We walk along the Fondamenta Zattere towards the S. Trovas and see the Rio San Trovaso where the church by the same name is situated.
|Rio San Trovaso and the Rio del Ognissanti big size
the gondola wharf and the San Trovaso
Photo: Magda Banach
|San Trovaso Rio Trovaso big size|
This is one of the few wharfs that still produce gondolas. Crafting a gondola is very time consuming. It takes a few months, using eight (!) different wood types.
This church has two facades because the church used to border two groups: the Castellani and the Nicoletti. These citizen groups were in a conflict that lasted until the 19th century. Of course, the rivalling parties never wanted to enter the church through the same door. So the solution was to create two facades and thus two doors. The southern door was to be used by the Castellani, the western one by the Nicoletti.
|Jacopo Tintoretto ‘Last Supper’ chapel of the sacrament ca. 1556-1558|
In this Last Supper, just as in the San Marcuola, Tintoretto is still heavily influenced by the poligrafi. Just to reiterate, these were writers who wrote for the common folk, with working class humor, mockery and laden with folk expressions. Comedy writer Andrea Calmo, a poligrafi, wrote an eulogy for Tintoretto. Calmo praises some facets of Robusti’s work, including the speed of painting, the so-called prestezza. He admired Tintoretto’s ability ‘to portray a figure from nature in half an hour.’
|‘[…] but you twiddling with your paintbrush and a small crumb of white lead and egg white portay a figure from nature in half an hour, and goodness knows how many cobblers, tailors and builders one might find in twenty years who could scarcely even learn to handle the colours.’|
Cited from: Tom Nichols, ‘Tintoretto Tradition and Identity,’ Reaktion Books, London, 1999 p.77
The back figure grabbing a wine jug is an introductory figure in the story. The lower class figures contrast sharply the quiet and idealised Christ figure similar to the Last Supper by Tintoretto in the San Marcuola. According to ‘serious’ critics, such folkish yokels were an insult. For instance, painters Félibien and Poussin claimed Tintoretto failed to add dignity to his subject. Classicist Lanzi wrote in 1792 that the apostles of Tintoretto could just as easily be mistken for gondoliers.
International gothicism is a style that arose at the 14th century French courts and spread all over Europe. Generally, this style is easily recognised by it’s nice looking decorative lines. In this painting, dating to the early 15th century, the gown and flag of the knight wave around gracefully.
|Michele GiambonoSt. Chrysogonos on horseback c. 1450 big size|
The Renaissance arrived late to Venice; Gothicism and especially Byzantine art prevailed for quite some time. One good example of early-Renaissance can be found in this church, namely in a small chapel where some of the panels were removed to accommodate an altar, likely from 1470.
We continue west. The Zattere al Gesuati has a church that goes by the same name.
|Zattere ai Gesuati big size|
|Gesuati facade big size
view from the top
Photo: Davide De Martin
This church was founded by the Jesuits, but is now in hands of Dominicans, and Tiepolo once worked here. He completed a large ceiling piece, but also a painting. We will have a closer look at his art.
|Gesuati interior big size
The ceiling piece consists of three large panels. The subject deals with the founder of the Order of Dominicans. After taking over the church from the Jesuits, the Dominicans commissioned Tiepolo to add ceiling frescos. Framed inside stuccowork there are three large panels on the ceiling, Apotheosis of St. Dominic, Institution of Rosary and finally St. Dominic blesses a Dominican monk. The middle panel ranks as a very good artwork by the painter. We will discuss at the location why Tiepolo must have been strongly influenced by the fresco of Paolo Veronese that we just saw at the S. Sebastiano.
|Ceiling ‘The Glory of St. Dominic’ big size
Tiepolo ‘Institution of the Rosary’ big size
|Tiepolo ‘Madonna with three Dominican female saints’ zoom in
Photo: Jill Clardy
|‘A oil painting on canvas by G.B. Tiepolo is above the first altar on the right. Although the canvas had been prepared by December 1739, the finished painting [big size] was not installed in the church until 1748. It shows three female Dominican saints: St Catherine of Siena standing on the left, holding a cross with the crucified Christ. St Rose of Lima, standing on the right, holding the Christ child, who is holding a rose. St Agnes of Montepulciano (who had only been canonised in 1726), seated and holding a small cross. Seated behind and above the three saints is the Madonna, seeming detached from and unnoticed by them|
To the right of the aisle is another work by Tiepolo. Mary is sitting on a throne that is carried by a golden cloud. Below her, one sees three holy women of the Dominican order, namely St. Catherina, St. Rosa and Agnes of Montepulciano.
|Accademia bridge big size
crossing the bridge
Photo: Christian Wilt
|Campo Santo Stefano big size|
Photo: L F Ramos-Reyes
At the edge of Campo Santo Stefano, one of the most cosy squares in Venice, we find the church by the same name. Art by famous Venetian artists decorate the church that had to be consecrated anew six times, as it was desecrated by murder and manslaughter. The church is devoted St. Stefano who was stoned.
|Portal Bartolomeo Bon big size facade
Eduard van de Nül ‘St. Stefan’ Freie auffassung 1845
His martyrdom was depicted in the 17th century by Sante Peranda, but the painting was never completed. If you enter you have to look up, the ceiling is quite remarkable, at least for people of the terra firma. It’s based on the keel of a ship, something you see more often in this city that flourished on sea trade.
|Santo Stefano ceiling big size|
|Santo Stefano aisle zoom in
|Santo Stefano sacristy big size|
The most important artworks are found in the sacristy (to the east of the nave. It shows two late artworks by Tintoretto from circa 1580, a Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and The Last Supper. Unfortunately, these paintings are rather dark, but using some coins we can switch on the lights to see it better. At the other side of the church, in the baptistery, Antonio Canova made a Greek pillar for his mecenas Giovanni Falier. Canova was an 18th/19th century sculptor who was very perfectionistic and sculpted in a traditional manner.
|Scala Contarini Bovolo big size|
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
|the stairs and the snail
|Scala Contarini del Bovolo big size detail
|Scala Contarini del Bovolo big size|
Ca’Loredan and Ca’Farsetti
We head west where we can walk along part of the Canal Grande. This is the location of the Venice municipal building consisting of two palazzi, namely Loredan and Farsetti. We go back in time to the early days, the thirteenth century, when the stone palazzi were first constructed. These two palaces are the oldest in the city. The layouts are customary for Venice: deep, with in the middle a wide part that is flanked by two smaller sides. Something that’s based on the Fondaco dei Turchi. The style is cearly veneto-byzantine.
|Ca’Loredan (left) and Ca’ Farsetti (right) big size
palazzi currently used as municipal building
We get to see it up close for the first time now. You can also examine what an androne looks like. If we compare these palaces to the Fondaco dei Turchi, you will notice a clear resemblance.
|Fondaco dei Turchi big size|
If you step on the scaffolding planks, you can see that the upper-most floors were built in later periods. This is the case for nearly all palazzi. Due to a lack of room, there were not many options to build a new building, as the price of ground was too high. Goethe, who visited this city in the 18th century, remarked the following:
|‘Homes grow vertically like a line of trees, they are forced to grow vertically as growing horizontally was no longer an option.’|
Goethe, Italian Journey 1786 -1788, (1970 edition) p. 77
|Ca’Loredan big size|
|Ca’Farsetti big size|
|John Ruskin self-portrait 1873|
If you look closely, you can make out the transition from the veneto-byzantine style to Gothicism at the first floor arches. Ruskin wrote a famous book about Venice in 1851: ‘The Stones of Venice’ (click here to read the Stones of Venice). He came up with the ‘orders’ of Venice. These orders strive to explain the transition from veneto-byzantine to gothic style. Ruskin’s theory is beautiful, but disregards historical facts. He lists the six orders, namely the following:
- the first order is the extended arch (byzantine n. 1).
- the second order is an arch that has a point on the extrados, or outer edge, of the arch with the intrados, or inner edge, still rounded (n. 2).
- the third order has both the extrados and intrados pointed. In addition, the curved line is not consistent but curves into another direction (n. 3).
- the fourth order has a trefoil-like shape (n. 4).
- the fifth order is similar, but has a straight moulding with the trefoil shape placed inside of the arch (n. 5).
- the sixth order is the same as the fifth order, except with the addition of a decorative piece above the point of the arch, a kind of finial (n. 6).
This developmental scheme may be put together nicely, but actual development occurred much more erratically. Ruskin knew this. According to Ruskin, the fourth and fifth order are typical for ‘adult’ Gothicism.
|Campo S. Barnaba panoramic big size
We walk back south and cross the Ponte dell’Accademia. Via the Campo S. Barnaba we arrive at the Fondamente Rezzonico. This is where we find the entrance to the land side of the Ca’Rezzonico. The main entrance at the Canal Grande can only be reached by boat.