Hidden treasures

The cycle of the Cross in San Polo Church in Venice

Unknown places & works

The cycle of the Cross in San Polo Church in Venice

The San Polo district takes its name from a very special church: the frontage does not exist! Unfortunately, the medieval building was subjected to a terrible restoration in the 1800s, which heavily modified both the interior and the exterior parts.

This ‘unfortunate' church, however, has retained within it a masterpiece of Venetian painting of the 1700s: the 14 tables of the Cross by Giandomenico Tiepolo.

It is an incredible cycle that the painter, son of the famous Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, completed in 1749 for the chapel of the Crucifix, adjacent to San Polo Church.

The scenes are quite dramatic but in each of the 14 tables there are several characters taken from the daily life of Venice in the 18th-century, ladies adorned with jewels, turbaned Turks and children playing. The use of bright colours creates even more liveliness to the various scenes and highlights the artist's attempt to create a link between the worshiper and the work of art, to help one empathize.

After a careful restoration and an improved lighting system of the Oratory of the Crucifix, the Via Crucis by Giandomenico Tiepolo has now been returned to all its splendour and enables us to understand how rich Venetian nobles lived in the middle of 1700s, just before the fall of their millennial Republic.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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