Hidden treasures

Titian's paintings in the Sacristy of the Basilica della Salute

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Titian's paintings in the Sacristy of the Basilica della Salute

The Basilica della Salute is one of the most important religious places in Venice ... it was constructed to commemorate the end of the devastating 1631 plague, an anniversary still strongly celebrated by the inhabitants of Venice every year on November 21!

The church is also a treasure trove of works of art: in the sacristy of the Basilica, among others, there are three paintings made by Titian for the central section of the ceiling of the once-existing church of Santo Spirito in Isola, depicting Abraham and Isaac, David and Goliath and the Murder of Abel. The figures are powerful and strongly foreshortened, revealing the influences of Michelangelo's style that Titian knew and admired.

The church of Santo Spirito in Isola was located in the island of the same name in the Venice lagoon, between Poveglia and San Clemente. In 1430 the Eremitani Friars settled there and rebuilt the church according to a project by Sansovino.

Originally, Giorgio Vasari had been given the commission for the three canvases in 1541 but, after his return to Rome, the project was given to Titian. The choice of subjects was part of the overall iconographic cycle of the church, centered on the episodes of the Old Testament in which the sacrifice of Christ is heralded. The works were completed before 1544 and represent one of the most significant testimonies of the painter's Mannerist phase: this is evident in the plastic vehemence of the figures and in the articulated stances enhanced by a strong foreshortening from the bottom to the top, undoubtedly influenced by two of the main representatives of the Tuscan-Roman Mannerism, Giuseppe Porta known as il Salviati and Giorgio Vasari, who had worked for some time in Venice.

In addition to the paintings by Titian, the sacristy of the Basilica della Salute also houses the Marriage at Cana by Tintoretto and other masterpieces by Palma il Giovane and Padovanino ... The visit to this extraordinary but little-known place, is included in one of our private itineraries dedicated to Tintoretto!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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