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Unknown places & works

The ceiling of the Church of San Pantalon in Venice

Next to the bustling Campo Santa Margherita in Venice is a sombre looking church with an unfinished façade: the Church of San Pantalon.

 

Yet inside this church hides an incredible story… Its ceiling houses the biggest canvas painting in the world, depicting the Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St Pantalon, painted by Giovanni Antonio Fumiani.

 

To the eyes of the visitors this is an imposing view, in which the structural features of the church are continued in the architecture of the painting to create a truly unique visual illusion.

 

This huge oeuvre has a total area of 443 square metres, representing a multitude of characters in a space magnified by the clever use of perspective. In fact, it is no coincidence that Fumiani was a specialist in the making of theatre scenes.

 

Giovanni Antonio Fumiani took over 20 years to paint this colossal work, from 1680 until 1704 and legend has it that he fell to his death from the scaffolding when he was giving the painting the finishing touches…

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