Venice day 6 (continuation 2)

Ca’Rezzonico, Palazzo Corner della Grande and the San Pantaleone


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 but we are going to walk.

Rio S. Barnaba big size
Rio S. Barnaba Venice

Photo: Bob Radlinski

Ca’Rezzonico entrance at the Rio S. Barnaba
Ca'Rezzonico entrance at the Rio S. Barnaba Venice

Photo: bradamant

The last palace designed by Baldassare Longhena was the Ca’Rezzonico. Masari added the last two floors and the ballroom. This is another androne (the deep and centrally-located floor above the Portega on the so-called piano nobile; see layout Ca’Rezzonico) but perpendicular to the first androne. At the top of this perpendicular androne, Massari constructed a ballroom and a large, impressive staircase. Large frescos were painted in this ballroom.

Museum Ca’Rezzonico

It is currently a museum (click here for their official website).  Filippo Bon commissioned Longhena in 1667 to construct this palace.

Lucius Rossi ‘Masker Ball’
Youtube Museum Ca’Rezzonico (2.54 minutes)
Floor plan (layout) rooms first and second floor of the museum
Layout first floor:
1. The ballroom    Other side    Ceiling (G.B. Crosato
2. The Nupital Allegory room   Ceiling (Tiepolo)
3. The Chapel
4. The Pastel room
5. De Tapestry room     Door       Detail door
6. The Throne room
7    The Tiepolo room
9.   The Library
10. The Lazzarini room
11. The Brustolon room
12. The Portego (sculpture)
Layout second floor:
13. The Painting Portego
14. The  Villa in Zianigo G. Tieplo    Zianigo G. Tiepolo    Zianigo Ceiling
15. The Harpsichord room
17. The Parlour room 
18   The Longhi room
19.  The green Lacquer room     Other side of the room
20. The Guardi room
21. The Alcove
Giandomenico Tiepolo ‘Mondo Nuovo’  1791 large size
Giandomenico Tiepolo 'Mondo Nuovo'  1791 Ca' Rezzonico
‘In 1738, aged approximately one month, Clara was adopted by Jan Albert Sichterman in India after her mother was killed by Indian hunters. Sichterman was the director of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC) in Bengal. She became quite tame, and was allowed to move freely around his residence. She passed through Bologna in August and Milan in October. She arrived in Venice in January 1751, where she became a major attraction at the carnival and was painted by Pietro Longhi. She passed through Verona on the way back to Vienna. She had reached London by the end of the year, where she was viewed by the British royal family.’

Source: Wikipedia    One of the spectators in Longhi’s painting holds Clara’s horn triumphantly.


Ca’ Rezzonico facade ground floor large size       Details: Corner         Top       Mascaron
The portego ground floor and courtyard large size       Portego second floor
Ca' Rezzonico portego ground floor Venice

Photos: Barbara DALMAZZO and portego  Daisuke Ido

Gondola in the portego ground floor large size
Gondola in the portego ground floor  Ca'Rezzonico

The remarkable texture of the palazzo Pesaro barely had room for any additions. The Ca’Rezzonico opted for a much more calm surface. The palace owes its name to the Rezzonico family who purchased the palazzo in 1712. That’s when Masari completed the palazzo. It’s completion reached to the piano nobile and to the side of the Rio Barnaba.

Canaletto ‘View Grand Canal’
Canaletto 'View Grand Canal' Ca'Rezzonico private collection

What’s nice about this museum is that you get a good impression of how wealthy traders and nobility lived in the 17th century. The furnishings, furniture, paintings and precious upholstery and tapestries are genuine seventeenth/eighteenth century items. It also has a nice series of paintings by Tiepolo and Longhi.

This facade also has the traditional trichotomy, indicated quite subtly. It shows in places like at the piano nobile where the balconies continue in the middle as opposed to the side walls. For the facade, Longhena again fell back on the facade of the Ca’ Corner that Sansovino had built.

Canaletto ‘View of the Grand Canal’ oil on canvas  Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan  large size
Corner della Grande restoration      Canaletto ‘Grand Canal and  Corner della Grande’ detail          In its entirety big google art project
Corner della Grande facade Venice

Ca’Rezzonico resembles the Corner della Grande more than it does the Pesaro. The similarities are:

1. Rustication ground floor (columns with rings of rustication based on Porta Maggiore).
2. Three entrances.
3. A lot of columns, denying the wall surface.
4. Order of the columns Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.
5. Oval mezzanine windows.
6. The capstone also has faces apart from lion heads.
7. Sides have loose balustrades as opposed to the centre part.
8. Facade curves around the corner, well integrated.

Palazzo Corner della Grande

The palazzo Corner (also called Ca’Grande or Ca’Corner Grande) lies across from the Guggenheim terrace.  The Corner family was very wealthy. Not only were they important traders, they also dabbled in politics and the church. The family has their own website for a reason.

Corner family members were among the oldest families in Venice. Zorzi Corner was the brother of queen Caterina of Cyrpus. Zorzi convinced her to turn her kingdom over to Venice following the death of her husband James II. That is how Venice gained this important island. After Zorzi’s death, he leaves an immense capital. La Serenissima was of course very appreciative He was given large plots of lands in Cyprus that cultivated sugar, cotton and what.

Canaletto ‘View of the Grand canal from San Vio’ 1723-24 Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemiszo, Madrid detail large size
Canaletto ‘View of the Grand canal from San Vio’ 1723-24 Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemiszo, Madrid
Canaletto ‘View of the Grand canal towards the Punta della Dogana from the Campo San Vio’ Brera, Milaan 1740-50
Canaletto 'View of the Grand canal towards the Punta della Dogana from the Campo San Vio' 1740-50, Brera Pinacoteca, Milaan

Zorzi Corner purchased the palace at San Maurizio, an old gothic palace, where he later ordered the construction of the Corner Grande. Zorzi purchased it from the Malombra for twenty-thousand gold coins. In addition, Zorzi also purchased eleven smaller homes at the Canal Grande, and a shipyard and a plot of land next to the old palace. In his will, Zorzi wrote that this palace along with the purchased homes and plots should remain within the family. Under no circumstance was it allowed to sell or divide it. Zorzi divided his possessions among four of his sons, Francesco, Zuanne, Hieronimo and Giacomo. In his will, Zorzi wrote that this palace along with the purchased homes and plots should remain within the family. But the fraterena fell apart.

Five years after Zorzi’s death, on 16 August 1532 a massive fire erupted in the old palace. It was a spectacular inferno. Sanudo describes this fire in his [48-part] diaries down to the most minute detail. One of Zuanne’s brothers delivered sugar and cotton from Cyprus. However, the sugar in the bales was still moist and was put to dry on the attic. Like other family members, Zuanne suffered from gout. He went to bed with warmed up wood to ease the pain. But the process to warm up the wood had created so much heat that the beams in the attic began to smoulder. Sparks from the beams caused a fire in the sugar bales. The family had dinner late and thus struggled to wake up. They attempted to recover some important documents from the mezzanine floors next to the androne. But with the locks of the doors being opened, gathered crowds were given the option to pillage these rooms. A lot of sugar and cotton in the androne was able to be preserved. Sanudo also tells us that the marble columns of the facade came thundering down, killing three curious spectators. Sanudo described it as: ‘Deus dedit, Deus abstulit’, or, God gave and God took’.

Right after the fire, Giacomo and Francesco filed a petition with the Doge to explain their situation. It expressly mentioned that the city’s interests were best served if a palace would be built at this amazing location at the Canal Grande. Both brothers requested for a hefty contribution to build the new palace.

Titian (studio) ‘Girolamo and cardinal Marco Corner’ c. 1520-1525 National Gallery of Art, Washington
Titian (studio) 'Girolamo and cardinal Marco Corner' c. 1520-1525 National Gallery of Art Washington

One coy remark was that the family had a whopping eight daughters. They thus hinted towards a massive dowry of sixty-one-thousand gold coins needing to be paid in the future. And that is exactly the amount requested by the brothers. Of course, they also explicitly referred to the fact how Cyprus fell into the hands of La Serenissima thanks to Zorzi Corner. The petition did not fall on deaf ears. The Council of Ten offered the brothers thirty-thousand coins: half of what they asked for. The provision in Zorzi’s will to keep the plot undivided within the family was ignored with permission of the senate. The entire plot at the side of the large channel was divided in two equal pieces. The left part was never built on.

The facade: Sansovino used rustication for the aediculas around the ground floor windows. There are three entrances for trade goods like grain, sugar and cotton from Cyprus. It also uses double orders or paired columns. Paired columns allow the wall surface to be better hidden and it emphasises the columns as a constructive and thus supporting element, at least visually, because the columns lack a real support function. Just like with the palazzo Dolfin Manin, Sansovino uses high rounded windows, which was very popular in Venice during the renaissance.

All bays on the first and second floor are equally wide, which goes against the usual trichotomy of the facade. Which two elements show that in fact there is a traditional trichotomy in the facade?

  1. The used bays are equal, but the three middle-most windows at the portego or salone in the bays are wider than the windows in the bays of the side-wings. This nifty trick – keeping the same bays but having slightly wider windows in the centre gives the palazzo a classic shape, while also respecting Venetian tradition.
  2. The balcony at the centre part is contiguous as opposed to the side parts, where each window is given an individual balcony.

The facade was both traditional and modern. The Rome by Bramante and Raphael were also of big influence. Features of the facade:

  1. Completely correct use of the orders. First Doric, then Ionic, and finally Corinthian.
  2. The paired columns are above a basement that is fully composed of rustication.
  3. The individual balconies at the side windows.
  4. The elegant corner solution (just to the right of the facade: ’round the corner’) that is inspired by
    Raphaël’s House by Bramante.
  5. The antique coat of arms in the spandrels, the lion heads as capstone are all very classic  elements
    that people loved.
  6. Entire facade of Istrian stone that, like marble, has a classic look.

The palazzo Corner della Grande is much different from the first palazzo, Dolfin Manin, by Sansovino. The Dolfin Manin is kept simple, where the Corner has all kinds of typical elements like

  1. The segmented pediments on the ground floor that are pushed together at the ends.
  2. The clever corner solution with paired columns, while the palazzi Vendramin-Calergi by Codussi and the Grimani by Sanmicheli have a facade that looks more like a picture. The facade of the palazzo Corner is well integrated into the rest of the building. John Singer Sergent displayed this corner solution in one of his works in 1907.
  John Singer Sergent and Corner della Grande
  John Singer Sergentthe corner  Corner della Grande

The layout is remarkable as well. The courtyard connects to the facade: the three entrances for goods are mimicked in the courtyard. In the architrave, Sansovino used recessed ovals like he wanted to do for the facade. In addition, the oval-shaped mezzanine windows of the facade make another appearance in the courtyard. So the facade isn’t just ‘curved around the corner’, but it makes another appearance in the courtyard.

During the final restoration, a secret staircase was discovered for female visitors that came to see the high clergymen in the family like Marco Corner.

We walk north and as we cross the rio Foscari via the Campo di S. Margherita, we arrive at the Campo di San Pantaleone that has the church by the same name.

Paolo Veneziano ‘Presentation at the temple and Dormition of the Virgin’
Large  size
Paolo Veneziano 'Presentation at the temple and Dormition of the Virgin' Cappella del Sacro Chiodo San Pantaleone

The San Pantaleone has an old chapel with well-preserved original artworks. After the sexton has opened the chapel for us (afternoons only), you can see inside the Cappella del Sacro Chiudo (nail) a work by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d’Alemagna from 1444, ‘Coronation of the Virgin’ next to a beautiful gothic sculpture. This kind of art in its original context has a much different impact than the triptychs we have seen in the Accademia.

Across from ‘the Coronation’ we see a panel from the mid-14th century. The themes, the presentation of Christ and the assumption of Mary are the opening and closing piece of ‘the Coronation’.

The church also has an illusionistic ceiling fresco. The painter, Antonio Fumiani, who is completely unknown, spent twenty-four years working on this ceiling painting.

Antonio Fumiani
Martyrdom and the apotheosis of St. Pantalon’ large size
Antonio Fumiani 'Martyrdom and the apotheosis of St. Pantalon' ceiling San Pantaleone Venice

The second chapel to the right has another painting by Paolo Veronese, ‘San Pantalon healing a Boy’ from 1587. This painting is Veronese’s last work, he died to a lung illness not too long after.

Paolo Veronese ‘San Pantalon healing a boy’ large size
Bartolomeo Borghi and the dying boy
Paolo Veronese 'San Pantalon healing a boy' chiesa di San Pantaleone Venice

It was commissioned by Bartolomeo Borghi, the priest of this church. Borghi appears on the painting as well. He is holding the dying boy who was tragically bit by a poisonous snake. The angel comes flying towards them holding a palm branch, the sign of sanctity: a status the newly converted San Pantaleone will still achieve. At the top right of the image we have a classic depiction of Asclepius: the heathen Greek healer. Scientific medicine is not able to heal the boy, but Divine power knows no bounds. The boy is healed. While the painting was recently restored, the lighting isn’t optimal so we can’t fully appreciate this touching scene.

End of day 6