Venice – The Friars’ Churches

IN almost every great Italian town, there exist to this day two immense churches, usually dating back to the 13th century, and belonging respectively to the Dominicans and the Franciscans, the popular preaching orders of the middle ages. At Florence, these two churches are Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce ; at Venice, they are SS. GioVanni e Paolo, and the Frari.

The rise of the Friars marks the beginning of the great religious revival in mediaeval Europe, which dates from the first quarter of the 13th century. Filled with a fierce evangelising zeal, the followers of Dominic and Francis spread themselves everywhere, but especially in the crowded towns, where, like the early Wesleyans or the Salvation Army, they strove to address in particular the poorest and most outcast classes. Vowed to poverty themselves, they alleviated the poverty and sufferings of their downtrodden neighbours. As they preached above all to the many, they needed large churches, the services in which were at first enthusiastically attended. But in commercial Venice the world soon conquered. Both their great cathedral-like buildings became before long the favourite resting-places of the rich and mighty ; and the Friars’ shrines are now visited by tourists chiefly for the sake of the sumptuous tombs of Doges and Senators which they contain, or else for the Iordly altar-pieces presented, half in devotion, half in self-glorification, by wealthy and noble families. Both orders had other and more strictly missionary churches in Venice, of which we have already seen one, the Franciscan San Giobbe ; the remainder may be visited, if time permits, at later stages of your exploration.]

A. SS. GIOVANNI E PAOLO.

[During St. Dominic’s own lifetime, the Dominican Order which he founded sent out missionaries to all parts of Europe. Already in 1234 the Brothers possessed an oratory in Venice on the very site now occupied by their lordly church : but it was small and unobtrusive. In that year, however, Doge Giacomo Tiepolo, a friend of the order, dreamed that he saw this little preaching-hall of the Dominicans with the ground all round it (now occupied by the church) covered with a celestial growth of roses, while white doves with golden crosses on their heads flitted among them. (Remember this dream it will help to explain a tomb at the door of the church.) Angels then descended from heaven with censers, and a voice from above exclaimed, “This is the place that I have chosen for my Preachers.” (The official Dominican title is ” Order of Preachers.”) The Doge told his dream to the Senate, who decided that forty paces of ground should be given to enlarge the oratory ; and the Doge himself later increased the gift, on which account he is regarded as the pious founder.

The church was begun in 1234, but not entirely finished and consecrated till 1430. It thus exemplifies several successive stages in the evolution of Venetian Gothic. It is dedicated to Saints John and Paul, not the apostles, but the obscure Roman brothers, Christian soldiers said to have been martyred under Julian the Apostate. (See Mrs. Jameson.) The original Dominicans in Venice were emigrants from the monastery of St. John and St. Paul at Rome, and they carried their local patrons with them. The true title of the church is thus Santi Giovanni e Paolo ; but the Venetians have a curious habit of rolling their saints into one, and generally speak of it as San Zanipolo.

The dead bodies of the Doges lay in state in this church ; and most of them, after the date of its erection, were buried here. There was no more room by that time in St. Mark’s for them.

Bear in mind also that this is a Dominican church, and expect to find Dominican saints and symbols.

Above all, San Giovanni e Paolo is the church which most commemorates the heroic resistance of Venice to the Unspeakable Turk. Most of the great Christian commanders who checked the disastrous progress of the Infidel in the Levant are buried here ; and the later Doges came yearly on the 7th of October to a solemn thanksgiving service for the great victory in the Dardanelles which saved Europe. It is likewise the chief church of the powerful Mocenigo, Morosini, Venier, and Vendramin families.]

San Giovanni e Paolo may be approached either by gondola, or (better) on foot from the Piazza. If the latter, pass under the gilded Clock Tower and along the Merceria as far as the church of San Giuliano. Turn here to the R. (Embedded in the wall of the house on your L. just before you reach the church is a small and good 15th-century relief of St. George and the Dragon, highly, perhaps too highly, praised by Mr. Ruskin.) Continue on to the back of the church, and proceed by the straight narrow street (Calle di Guerra) as far as the white church of Santa Maria Formosa. There, turn to the L., and cross the pretty little Campo obliquely into the Calle Lunga. Do not take the last turn to the L. before you reach the first bridge, (which the map will show you to be the shortest way to San Giovanni :) it is narrow and malodorous. Instead of that, continue along the Calle Lunga until you reach the first canal, (Rio di San Severo,) which follow, and cross two bridges in a straight line, until you come out at the atrocious baroque façade of the Ospedaletto : ” diseased figures and swollen fruit,” Ruskin well calls its decorations. Here, the vast and lofty brick apse of San GioVanni e Paolo looms up picturesquely on the L. before you. This is the most imposing portion of the exterior of the building, striking in virtue of its immense height and the absence of buttresses ; and though recently restored, it is still very beautiful. Go round to the back and look at it ; the light brick material enables Venetian churches to raise these lofty unbuttressed apses, difficult to attain in solid stone. Then continue to the L. into the open Campo di San GioVanni e Paolo, which contains the magnificent **equestrian statue of Bartolommeo Colleoni, and also the fine early Renaissance façade of the Scuola di San Marco. As I know I cannot induce you to enter the church till you have examined these, I may as well give way, seat you quietly on the steps of the bridge, and say here what there is to say about them.

Bartolommeo Colleoni was a famous condottiere, or soldier of fortune, in the service of Venice. On his death, in 1475, he left the whole of his immense fortune to the Republic, on condition that his statue should be erected in the Piazza San Marco (like Gattamelata’s before the Santo at Padua). This being contrary to law, the senate trickily evaded the condition by erecting it in the Campo of the Scuola di San Marco. The statue was first designed by Andrea Verrocchio, the Florentine painter and sculptor, and master of Leonardo da Vinci. Andrea died before it was completed, (after having once broken the model in a quarrel with the signory,) and the task of finishing the work was given to the Venetian artist, Alessandro Leopardi, (modeller of the fine bronze flag-staffs on the Piazza,) to whom the statue as it stands is mainly due. It was he also who designed the beautiful slender pedestal. With the possible exception of Donatello’s Gattamelata, in front of the Santo at Padua, this is doubt-less the noblest equestrian statue in the world. Its effect is positively increased by the slimness and evident inadequacy of the graceful pedestal, which makes the rider look as though he were about to walk his horse unconsciously over a yawning precipice. The face and figure form a perfect embodiment of the ideal of an Italian soldier of fortune—erect, stern-featured, able, remorseless, with deep-set eyes, and haughty expression. Examine it on all sides. The rich detail lavished on the accessories heightens the effect of the stern simplicity shown in the horse and rider. There is no posturing.

A little to the E. of the statue is a fine well-head, with amorini, of Renaissance workmanship.

Now, sit down again near the bridge over the canal, and look up at the façade of the Scuola di San Marco, erected in 1485 by Martino Lombardo, and forming an admirable specimen of the peculiar Venetian style of early Renaissance architecture introduced by the Lombardi. It should be compared with the extremely similar front of San Zaccaria, in order to form a general idea of their principles of decoration. The façade is richly coated with coloured marble, and its sculptured subjects are those suited to its original object, that of the charitable Fraternity of St Mark. It is now used as a public hospital, (Ospedale Civile.)

Topping the main lunette is a figure of the patron, St. Mark, with statues on either side, representing our now familiar friends, the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. Beneath stands the lion of St. Mark, with the Venetian motto. Over the main portal, Charity carrying a child ; in the lunette of the portal, St. Mark enthroned, surrounded by the brethren of the Fraternity. On either side of the portal, lions in feigned perspective. On the ground floor to the R. are perspective reliefs of the miracles of the patron saint, in picture-like loggias ; L., he cures the cobbler Anianus ; R., he baptises at Alexandria ; in both cases, as usual, the pagans are figured as Mahommedan orientals.

The fine early-Renaissance decorative work, which strikes the key-note of the Lombardi treatment, should be carefully examined throughout, both with the naked eye and with an opera-glass.

This was one of the greatest among the Venetian Scuote; from it came several fine works at the Academy, relating to St. Mark—the glorious Paris Bordone of the Doge and the Fisherman, the Tintoretto of St. Mark and the Tortured Slave, as well as the Mansuetis in the apse of the suppressed church, and several other pictures duly noted in their own places. These once made it a treasure-house of art, like San Rocco.

I do not advise a visit to the interior; but you may stand on the bridge, (decorated with ugly grotesque heads of the worst period,) in order to get a view of the side façade towards the canal.

You may now proceed to the examination of San GioVanni e Paolo itself, with which of course the Scuola has nothing more than a topographical connection.

The West Front, unfinished, in brick, is heavy and featureless, but has a fine late portal, Gothic in form though Renaissance in treatment. L. of the door stands the sarcophagus of the founder, Doge Giacomo Tiepolo, and his brother, Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, bearing a curious long Latin verse inscription, and a shorter one below, which states that “the Lord Giacomo died in 1251 ; the Lord Lorenzo in 1275.” At the sides are angels swinging censers; above, between two ducal caps or berrettos, are doves crowned with crosses, both these as in the Doge’s dream. R. of the door is the Angel of the Annunciation, good semi-classical work of the 7th century ; the Madonna corresponding to it is now missing. Further R., Daniel in the lions’ den, of the 8th century, treated still in the simple old Roman fashion. Beneath are the plain sarcophagi of early Doges ; note the archaic simplicity of these for comparison with the ornate fiddle-faddle tombs of their successors in the interior.

The architecture of the south side, (best viewed from below the step of the Campo,) is vast and imposing, with its lofty dome, chapels, and transepts, but has little beauty. Those, however, who approach by water should walk along it and through the narrow street at the end, in order to view the splendid apse already noticed. The other side of the church is built in to the now secularised monastic buildings. Several early sarcophagi and fragments of sculpture (worth inspection) are embedded in the wall of the south side also.

The interior is unimpressively striking by its colossal size, and the vastness of its parts, but has been much disfigured by rococo additions. The lofty nave and aisles, however, are effective by virtue of their dignity and height, though they lack the crowded perspective of numerous rows of columns. The general plan is simple :—a Nave ; single Aisles (with large chapels built out on the S. side ;) short Transepts ; an Apse ; and two Apsidal Chapels on each side of it.

I advise the visitor to walk straight up the church at first, and at once enter the apse, which is both the earliest and most important part of the building, and also contains the best tombs. You will see them thus before you are tired. Give the Sacristan half a franc and dismiss him, or he will bother you with “information.”

The High Altar is an ugly rococo erection of 1619, with Our Lady, angels, and saints, only interesting because the extreme figures to L. and R. below, in Roman military costume, represent the two sainted martyrs John and Paul (see Introduction) to whom the church is dedicated. These are the only figures of the nominal patrons which I have been able to discover in the building. The Dominicans do not seem to have thought much of them.

Wall on the R., 1st tomb, fine florid Gothic **monument of Doge Michele Morosini, (d. 1382,) the most ornate of all the monuments in the pointed style, and one which well marks the increasing sumptuousness of Venetian life, especially when compared with that of Doge Giacomo Tie-polo outside the church and Doge Marco Corner opposite. Below, the Doge himself lies dead, with his head on a pillow, his serene, resolute, Dante-like features exquisitely sculptured. The seven pedestals below once supported the Seven Virtues—their earliest appearance on a true Venetian tomb. At the side, angels. Behind is a charming *mosaic with the Crucifixion, St. John and Our Lady as usual; the Archangel Michael (the Doge’s personal patron saint) and the Virgin recommend the kneeling figure of the prince, in ducal cap and robe, to the mercy of the crucified Saviour : on the extreme R., St. John the Baptist similarly recommends the kneeling Dogaressa. Above is a relief of Christ, and on the finial at the apex, the Doge’s patron saint, St. Michael, once more, with the conquered dragon. At the sides are niched statues of saints, surmounted by an Annunciation. Study the whole as a characteristic specimen of the ornate late-Gothic tombs, which strike the keynote for later monuments.

L. of this, the late-Renaissance tomb of Doge Leonardo Loredan, (d. 1521 ; but this monument was not erected by his family till 1572.) The statue of the Doge is by Campagna ; the allegorical figures are uninteresting.

L. wall, near the altar, *tomb of Doge Andrea Vendra min, (d. 1478,) by Alessandro Leopardi. This is a beautiful and costly piece of early-Renaissance architecture, with exquisite and delicately-chiselled sculpture. In the centre lies the Doge, recumbent on a couch supported by eagles ; the face, however, has only one side sculptured, that turned to-wards the spectator. Behind are three figures of pages or attendants ; beneath, in niches, the Virtues, dressed now like heathen goddesses, and hardly distinguishable from one another. R. and L. two youthful military figures, splendid soulless specimens of Renaissance workmanship. Are they St. George and St. Theodore—or only pages? I think, the latter. Above them, an Annunciation, in two compartments. In the lunette under the arch between these, St. Mark recommends the kneeling Doge to Our Lady. The outermost figures of St. Catharine and the Magdalen, below, do not belong to the original composition—they are later and inferior works, substituted for Adam and Eve (by Tullio Lombardo) of great beauty, which were removed as unsuitable for a church ; they are now in the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi. All the details of this beautiful tomb, somewhat unjustly depreciated by Ruskin, should be carefully examined. It shows still better the increase of the pomp of state in the Republic. Note especially the predominance of symbols marking a sense of the naval supremacy of Venice.

L. of this, pure Gothic tomb of Doge Marco Corner, (d. 1368,) with two angels, Madonna and Child, and two saints, (Mark and Peter,) under beautiful Gothic niches, probably by the Massegne. (The connecting portion between these saints and the recumbent figure has probably been destroyed.) The severe simplicity of this earlier work contrasts with the florid character of Morosini’s tomb, opposite, and still more with that of Andrea Vendramin. The growing boastfulness of the Renaissance can well be traced in this church and its monuments.

Now, return to the main portal, and examine, first, the R. or South Aisle.

R. of the door, on the end wall, the immense tomb of Doge Pietro Mocenigo, by Pietro Lombardo and his sons, Tullio and Antonio. This is another specimen of the sumptuous and costly Renaissance monuments, exquisite in decoration and splendid in finish, but wholly lacking in spiritual feeling. Three figures of captives, (representing, I think, the three ages of man,) support the sarcophagus of the Doge, which bears an inscription in Latin, ” From the spoils of the enemy.” (Note in this and later tombs the increasing desire to veil the nature and shape of the sarcophagus by decorative adjuncts) Above stands Pietro himself, with two pages ; by the side are armed allegorical figures ; and over the top is the Doge’s patron St. Peter. The relief beneath, which is almost the only piece of Christian symbolism on the monument, represents the Resurrection; it is counteracted below by Hercules with the lion, and the Hydra. You will see in many of these later tombs how the recumbent figure of the deceased has risen from the sarcophagus, and now stands erect above it.

On the south wall, (Right Aisle,) relief of Christ en-throned, between two flying angels, forming the tomb of Doge Ranieri Zen, (d. 1268.) Above it, a fine Renaissance sarcophagus, of the school of Leopardi, highly decorated, marks the tomb of Admiral Girolamo Canal, (d. 1535.)

1st altar, altar-piece by Bissolo, Our Lady enthroned, with Franciscan saints, Francis and Bernardino ; at the sides, the four Fathers of the Church (Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, Ambrose :) behind, St. John the Baptist and St. Peter. An intrusive Franciscan work in this Dominican church : a modern substitution : it replaces a Bellini burnt in 1867 see later.

The next large monument, over the Confessional, is the tomb of Marc’ Antonio Bragadino, the heroic defender of Famagosta, in Cyprus, against the Turks ; (d. 1596.) Uninteresting in itself, this big and ugly work commemorates a singular act of treachery ; Bragadino, who had surrendered on terms, was tortured and flayed alive by the Unspeakable, as the picture above shows.

The 2nd altar, that of St. Vincent, has a much-debated altar-piece, variously attributed to Carpaccio, Alvise Vivarini, and others : it seems to me to be by different hands. Below, St. Vincent, the patron ; L., St. Christopher wading with the infant Christ, and R., St. Sebastian : above, a Pieta ; at its sides, an Annunciation in two sections.

Beyond it, tomb of the Procurator Alvise Michiel, (1589.)

Pass the gaudy and over-decorated chapel beyond this, and stand for a moment opposite the truly appalling monument of Doge Bertuccio Valier, his son Silvestro, and his son’s wife Elizabetta Quirini, (1708.) This is the largest tomb in the church, and a unique monument of atrocious taste. A huge dingy-yellow curtain is sustained by cupid-like angels, the lineal descendants of the beautiful and simple Pisan angels who draw the curtains on the tomb of Doge Andrea Dandolo in the Baptistery of San Marco. Note hereafter the gradual evolution of these angels : many examples in Venice will help you. The theatrical figures of the two Doges, and of the vulgar, ugly, and over-dressed old Dogaressa, in 18th century costume, are as bad as art can make them. The accessories match in tastelessness the central subject. Flounces and furbelows ; virtues, victories, genii, and lions. All bombast and rhodomontade.

Beyond these opens the chapel of St. Dominic, founder of the order, enriched with six dull reliefs in bronze by Mazza, (1670,) telling in theatrical style the usual episodes from the life of St. Dominic.

The R. Transept has a fine 16th-century stained-glass window, with St. George, St. Theodore, and other military and Franciscan saints, after a design by the Vivarini.

R. wall of Transept, under glass, Bartolommeo Vivarini, noble figure of St. Augustine, one of the best works of the master. Beyond it, perhaps by Cima, Coronation of the Virgin, in an assemblage of saints and angels. Above this, gilt equestrian monument of Nicolo Orsini, general of the Republic in the war against the League of Cambrai, (d. 1509) obviously suggested by the Colleoni outside the church. End wall of Transept, 1st altar, * Lorenzo Lotto, Glory of St. Antoninus, of Florence, one of the painter’s finest works, but unfortunately darkened, and ill seen in its present position. Angels whisper inspiration to the enthroned saint ; beneath him, the priests, his deputies, receive petitions and distribute alms to the poor, assembled at the base of the work. Fine silvery colour.

The door of exit under the window is formed by the tomb of General Dionigi Naldo, (d. 1510.)

Altar to L. of the door, altar-piece by Rocco Marconi, Christ with St. Peter and St. Andrew. There is a replica of this work in the Academy, where it can be seen to greater advantage.

1st Choir chapel, (Chapel of the Crucifix,) fine recumbent Gothic tomb of Paolo Loredan, (1365.) This is a knightly image of a sort more common in the north than in Italy ; on the simple sarcophagus, his name-saint, St. Paul, and two angels, and Chapel (of St. Mary Magdalen.) On the altar, a late Renaissance statue of the Magdalen, only recognised as such by her pot of ointment ; otherwise, a mere voluptuous Venetian courtesan : the framework is better. L. wall, monument of Marco Giustiniani, ambassador of the Republic to the Scaligers, (d. 13470 a plain sarcophagus, with a Madonna and Child, and an Annunciation, supported by poor grotesque heads. Bear in mind the relative dates of these sarcophagi, and their gradual enrichment, as well as the evolution of accessories.

Beyond the apse : [1st Chapel (of the Trinity ;) L. wall, monument of Andrea Merosini, (1347;) again a sarcophagus with Madonna and Annunciation.

and Chapel :

R. wall, knightly tomb of Giacopo Cavalli.

full armour, face hardly seen through helmet : dog and lion. He was general of Venetian troops in the war against Genoa, known as the war of Chioggia, (d. 1394.) The work is said in an inscription in Venetian dialect to be by Paolo di JacobeIlo, (one of the Massegne ;) it has the symbols of the evangelists and two saints (the two Jameses?), with brackets which once supported Faith, Hope, Charity. This is a noble tomb, still retaining much of its fine colour. L. wall; monument of Doge Giovanni Dolfin, (1361 :) no inscription, but known by the arms, three dolphins : a fine sculptured sarcophagus: centre, Christ, with angels opening curtains, (note these,) and diminutive figures of the Doge and Dogaressa : at the ends, saints (?) male and female (perhaps patrons of the Doge and Dogaressa :) in the panels, L., Arrival and Adoration of the Magi ; R., Death of the Virgin, all of which are worthy of close attention.

L. Transept.

The door in this Transept gives access to the Chapel of the Rosary (closed) ; the Sacristan will try to make you enter it—resist him and he will flee from you. This was once the richly adorned chapel of the great Dominican cult—the Rosary. It now contains nothing but the charred and blackened remains of some very base bas-reliefs of the rococo period, much admired for their intricate and useless carving. The chapel was accidentally burned down on August 16th, 1867 ; unfortunately, it contained at the moment two of the finest pictures in the church, a Madonna by Bellini, and Titian’s famous Death of St. Peter Martyr, which had been placed in it temporarily.

Over the door which leads to this Chapel is the tomb of Doge Antonio Venier, 1400, with numerous figures of saints, in beautiful niches, in the style of the Massegne. L. of the door, tomb of the same Doge’s wife Agnese, and of their daughter Orsola, (1411); a fine piece of architectural work, with an Annunciation, and a relief of Our Lady and Child between St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist.

L. wall of Transept, poor tomb of Leonardo Prato, knight of Rhodes, with an equestrian figure (1511.)

Equestrian figures are common here, all suggested by the inimitable Colleoni : feeble imitations.

The L. Aisle has in its 1st bay nothing of interest. Beyond the first door, stone tomb of Doge Pasquale Malapiero, of fine Florentine earlier-Renaissance workman-ship ; the Doge lies on a sarcophagus supported by griffons, under curtains ridiculously suggestive of a shower-bath there are no angels ; above are a Pieta and figures of Virtues.

Next to it, tomb of Giovanni Battista Bonzio, a senator, (d. 1508,) in the usual Renaissance style, with a figure of the deceased, and the now inevitable Virtues. Beneath this tomb is an arcade, with statues of two great Dominican saints, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Peter Martyr. The arcade contains in the arch to the R., the beautiful tomb of Doge Michele Steno, (1413,) placed low enough to admit of examination ; this is only a portion of the original work, transferred here from the demolished church of the Servites the pleasing Latin inscription is worth reading. The arch to the L. has the Renaissance tomb of Alvise Trevisan, 1528, an only son whom his mourning parents have thus commemorated.

The next monument is the gilt equestrian statue of Pompeo Giustiniani, 1616. Beneath it is the unobtrusive tombstone, containing the epitaph alone, of Doge Giovanni Dandolo, (1289.) Then comes the admirable transitional monument of Doge Tomaso Mocenigo, (1423,) under a Gothic tabernacle, with the usual recumbent effigy (fine) of the Doge lying dead on a sarcophagus, containing Virtues in Renaissance niches, together with two armed figures of mock-antique type at the angles. Here’angels withdraw the curtains, the evolution of these angels from the Pisan original, and their final disappearance (as in the Valier atrocity) being well studied in this church and at the Frari; above are saints in niches. Observe the intermixture of Gothic and classical forms and mouldings in the tomb before which you are now standing ; it is by the Florentine sculptors Piero di Niccolo and Giovanni di Martino, who were among the first introducers of Renaissance art in Venice.

R. of the next altar, monument of Doge Nicolo Marcello, 1474, by Alessandro Leopardi, brought here from the demolished Servite church of Santa Marina. This is another good specimen of the early Renaissance tomb, with four figures of Virtues in the niches, and a relief of the kneeling Doge before Our Lady in the lunette, accompanied by patron saints of Venice. The altar close to this has an early copy of Titian’s Death of St. Peter Martyr, by Cigoli, presented by King Victor Emmanuel in place of the original, destroyed in the fire. St. Peter Martyr was of course one of the chief lights of the Dominican order. L. of the altar, a boastful and ugly gilt equestrian statue forms the monument of Orazio Baglioni, (1617,) represented as riding over fallen enemies. The modern marble tomb, L. of this statue, tasteless enough in itself, commemorates the two brothers Bandiera, Italian patriots done to death by Austria in 1844 through the cruel connivance of the English government with foreign despotism. Over the next altar, statue of St. Jerome by Alessandro Vittoria.

The end wall of the nave is occupied, in its 1st arch, by the tomb of Doge Giovanni Mocenigo, (1485,) a work of Tullio and Antonio Lombardo. This is a characteristic middle-Renaissance monument, showing progressive deterioration in taste, though still splendid in workmanship and pure in decoration : it is of a type with which the reader will now be familiar, having on a sarcophagus the recumbent figure of the Doge, who is presented, in the lunette, to the Madonna and Child by his patron saints ; at the sides are Virtues, personally indistinguishable, and at the base, two reliefs of the Baptism of Christ and of St. Mark baptising at Alexandria, this last in compliment to St. John the Baptist, the Doge’s patron. Observe in the former how the three angels on the bank, once adult in form, have now shrunk into meaningless little children.

The entire space between this Mocenigo tomb and the far finer opposite one of Doge Pietro Mocenigo is occupied by a third colossal work, dedicated to the same family and representing the tombs of Doge Luigi Mocenigo, (1576,) and his Dogaressa, as well as that of Doge Giovanni Bembo, with their recumbent figures and statues of Christ, etc. The reliefs represent their tenure of office (the Doge at prayer, the Doge sitting in council). The whole expanse of this great West Wall is thus given over entirely to the glorification of the powerful and wealthy Mocenigo family.

For convenience of identification on a first visit, I have treated all the tombs in this church in local order only, but the visitor who has time for careful study will find it useful to compare them in their chronological sequence, and thus to gain a just idea of the rise, development, culmination, decline, and final degradation of the sculptor’s art in Venice. Fine criticisms of the most important tombs, and a good sketch of their development, are given by Ruskin.

The great Dominican monastery behind the church is now secularised.