Hidden treasures

'Il Paradiso' by Jacopo Tintoretto at the Doge’s Palace

Historical Curiosities

'Il Paradiso' by Jacopo Tintoretto at the Doge’s Palace

During the visit to the Doge's Palace, one of the most beguiling halls is certainly the Great Council Chamber, a symbol of the thousand-year long history of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.

On the eastern wall of the immense and sumptuous room is a wide wooden platform on which are the stalls where the doge and his counsellors would sit. At least until the middle of the sixteenth century, this platform was surmounted by a huge fresco spanning the entire wall, commonly known as Il Paradiso and depicting the Coronation of the Virgin before the celestial hierarchies. The work was carried out around 1365 by the most famous local artist of the time, the Padua-born Guariento (active between 1338 and 1367).

Damaged over time and almost completely destroyed by the blazing fire that broke out in this part of the building in 1577, the government launched a competition to create a new work, which saw the participation of several artists. Remarkably, the commission was given not to one but to two artists, Paolo Veronese and Francesco Bassano, who were supposed to work together. In 1588, when Veronese suddenly died, the work was still to be completed, probably due to the profound differences between the two artists. The task was then entrusted to Tintoretto, who worked on it, greatly helped by his son Domenico, between 1588 and 1592.

In the composition of the immense canvas - 22 meters wide and 7 high – the Signoria demanded that the representation of the Paradise include an illusionary depiction of the stall on which the doge was sitting, with a direct vertical symmetry between the divinity, and the light radiating from it, and the head of state in his functions placed among the blessed, the angelic hierarchies and those elected in the Venetian assembly.

Take advantage of our unusual guided visits - created with the help of Francesca, the local tour guide who curates also this section - to come into contact with Tintoretto and his masterpieces in the lagoon!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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