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 Essential Architecture-  Venice

Redentore Church


Andrea Palladio


Venice, Italy


1576 to 1591


Italian Rennaisance




  Exterior from the Canale della Giudecca 
Il Redentore, more properly Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (Church of the Most Holy Redeemer), is Andrea Palladio's great domed church on Giudecca, one of the islands of Venice. Located on the waterfront of the Canale della Giudecca, it dominates the skyline of the island.

The Redentore was built in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague that decimated Venice from 1575 to 1576, in which some 46,000 people, 25-30 per cent of the population, died. The Senate commissioned the great architect Palladio to design it and it was built between 1577 and 1592. Every year, the doge and senators walked across a specially constructed pontoon bridge from the Zattere to Giudecca and attended Mass in the church. The Festa del Redentore remains a major festival in the Venetian calendar, celebrated on the third Sunday in July. A huge firework display on the previous evening is followed by a mass procession across the pontoon bridge. The church has always been entrusted to the Capuchin friars, the youngest branch of the Franciscans, and about twenty now live in the attached monastery.

The Redentore, in the most prominent site of any of Palladio's structures, is considered one of the pinnacles of his career. It is a large, white building with a dome crowned by a statue of the Redeemer. The white stucco and gray stone interior combines a long nave with a domed crossing, in spaces that are clearly articulated yet unified. It contains paintings by Francesco Bassano, Lazzaro Bastiani, Carlo Saraceni, Leandro Bassano, Palma Giovane, Jacopo da Bassano, Francesco Bissolo, Rocco Marconi, Paolo Veronese, Alvise Vivarini and the workshop of Tintoretto. The sacristy also contains a series of wax heads of Franciscans made in 1710.