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Chiesa del Redentore (Santissimo Redentore)

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Built in the 16th century to celebrate the city’s liberation from a terrible plague, the Church of the Redeemer is one of the major examples of Palladio’s religious architecture. The simple but imposing interior in the form of Latin cross contains admirable works by Jacopo Tintoretto, A. Vivarini, and Paolo Veronese. In the summer of 1575 a terrible plague epidemic broke out in Venice which would bring 50,000 deaths over the following two years, almost one Venetian in three. In September 1576, when the plague seemed invincible against all human efforts, the Senate pleaded for divine help, voting to raise a new church dedicated to the Saviour (“il Redentore”). After rapidly choosing, from amongst various options, the form, situation and an architect to whom to entrust its construction, the foundation stone of Palladio’s project was laid in May of 1577. The following 20th July the end of the plague was celebrated with a procession to the site of the church across a pontoon bridge, beginning a tradition which survives until this day with the Feast of the Redeemer. The Festa del Redentore is a festival that is particularly popular with Venetians as it combines a religious theme with a spectacular celebration that attracts thousands of visitors. In is celebrated on the third Sunday of July and on the previous night, the inimitable setting of St. Mark's Basin hosts a phantasmagorical firework display that lights up the spires, domes and bell towers of the city with a kaleidoscope of colours and reflections.

The church was entrusted to Capuchin friars, who determined both the planning layout according to the model of the Observant Franciscans (of whom the Capuchins are an offshoot) and the decision to reject the use of marbles and precious materials, preferring brick and terracotta even in the execution of the very beautiful capitals on the interior of the church. In respecting the functional Capuchins’ grid, and to define the plan Palladio reflected deeply on ancient thermal structures (in a survey drawing of the Baths of Agrippa one may find many of the elements which characterise the plan) as the source of the spatial sequences which follow harmonically upon each other. The plan derives, in fact, from the harmonic composition of four spatial cells, perfectly defined and differentiated from each other: the rectangle of the nave, the lateral chapels which borrow the narthex form, the trichoral cell composed of two apses and a curved filter of columns, and the choir. Once these figures had been precisely defined, Palladio studied refined solutions to facilitate the passage of one form within the other, searching for a harmonious fusion of the whole. The trabeation of the major order, for example, binds the entire internal perimeter of the church without ever breaking forward over its supports, and the diagonal cut of the pilasters of the cupola is particularly effective. The result is the fruit of a consummate ability in composition and a particular sensibility to scenographic effects. The façade of the church constitutes the most mature outcome of Palladio’s reflections on church fronts with intersecting orders, which had begun with San Francesco della Vigna. A genre of façade which finds its origins in various reflections on Vitruvius’ description of the Basilica at Fano, starting with Bramante at the beginning of the century. In the specific case of the Redentore, Palladio “collaged” together still more antique solutions also present in the Quattro Libri, like the Temple of Peace, the Temple of Sun and the Temple of Moon.

Address and Info

Address: Campo del SS. Redentore, 195, 30133, Venezia

AreaVenezia, City Center, Giudecca

Information

Getting there: From Piazzale Roma or Ferrovia waterbus linee 41 e 2 stop Redentore. Info www.actv.it

Opening times: Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm (last entrance at 4.45pm) , Sunday closed. Closed 25 December, 1 January, Easter and 15 August

Additional information: For information and reservation: Chorus - Associazione Chiese di Venezia
San Polo, 2986, 30125 Venezia
tel. 0412750462, fax 0412750494

Prices

Reduced price for: Single ticket for school 1.50