Venetian Gothic: The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo

As mentioned in another article, Venetian gothic is a style that, drawing from its history as a port city, combines the classic gothic pointed arch and merges it with Byzantine influences from Constantinople and Arabic influences derived from the Spanish Moors.  The net result is a style which is particular this region.  Today we are gong to consider the basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo -- known to Venetians simply as San Zanipolo -- in which instance one will see some of these influences in evidence. 

The basilica is one of the largest in the city and was completed in the 1430's.  It is the Dominican church of Venice. The exterior of the basilica has a typically Italian gothic feel to it, combining elements of both the Roman basilica alongside gothic ornaments. The gothic ornaments on the top of the facade contain statues of three Dominican saints. 

The main door of the basilica

The interior of the basilica follows a typical Latin cruciform plan with a central nave lined by columns and two aisles going down on each side. At one time there was a schola cantorum that separated the presbytery from the nave, but this was removed after the seventeenth century in order to make more room for solemn liturgical celebrations here, such as the requiems for Venetian doges and so on. 

In fact, the nave of the basilica is lined by various funerary monuments to a number of doges as well as to other important Venetian leaders. 

The sanctuary follows a reasonably typical gothic approach and includes an impressive vaulting and two tiers of windows within the apse.

The high altar of the basilica was begun in the early 1600's and is marvellously scaled in its proportions for a church of this size with six steps required to ascend to the altar proper -- which would thus have made the sacred ministers visible throughout the basilica. 

A quick look at two chapels within the basilica:

Some other random views of some of the details of the basilica:

Ceiling of the Chapel of the Holy Name

Ceiling of the chapel of the Madonna della Pace - do also take note of the beautiful medieval glasswork

Black reredos of the altar of the Chapel of the Crucifix

The baptismal font

Altar of the Cappella della Maddelena

Before we leave, we should also take a closer look at some of the funerary monuments which are quite striking.

Finally, a quick peak at the sacristy which includes various paintings related to the history of the Dominican order:

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