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Three canvases depicting Christ's Passion, commissioned from Giambattista Tiepolo by the patrician Alvise Cornaro, hang in the chancel and nave. The Crowing with thorns, the Flagellation and Christ's ascent to Calvary, were origianally part of a tryptych, now separated; the first two hang on the right of the nave and the third in the chancel. Painted around 1737-40, they are subsequent to the frescoes in the church of the Gesuati. The Sant'Alvise works are notable both for their composition and colouring. The central canvas, hung in the chancel, is without doubt the most openly dramatic. In representing Christ bent under the weight of the cross, Tiepolo created an entire parade of people; the scene is animated, sumptuous and of great tragic effect. Its composition was inspired by the grandiosity and luminist dynamism of Tintoretto, but there are also other sources: such as in the choice of Biblical personalities from Rembrandt's engravings, which Tiepolo was familiar with thanks to the collection owned by his friend Anton Maria Zanetti. The prostrate body of Christ is touching and rich in fascination, but the emphasis on the red of his robe is regarded by some as making it rather too pathetic. The cross he carries is enormous and overlong; it is scenographic, as are the expressions of suffering and the contorted position of the body. Both the Crowing and the Flagellation unfold on a background of architecture, introduced by short stairways, with groups of figures observing the scene. In both cases, the suffering figure of Christ stands out against the backgroung and is of great emotional impact. In that period the artist was highly attracted to theatre in costume and drew inspiration from the scenery of the many melodramas staged all over the city.
Chorus - Associazione per le Chiese
del Patriarcato di Venezia

San Polo, 2986 - 30125 Venezia
tel +39 041 27 50 462
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