Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venezia, though so-called a minor cathedral, due to its strategic location near the tip of Punta della Dogana, visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the Grand Canal, was a natural stop for many visitors to the city. Its interior was relatively sparse, understated and unassuming, but that it didn't prevent Salute from accumulating some muted splendors.
Amongst several interesting and moving works, I cite these two as my favorites (below).
The one left me the strongest impression was an altar to Virgin Mary - centering on a brilliantly-painted ikon, a Byzantine Madonna and Child of the 12th or 13th century, known as Panagia Mesopantitissa in Greek ("Madonna the mediator" or "Madonna the negotiator"), framed by flowing baroque sculpture of the Queen of Heaven Expelling the Plague (1670), which was a theatrical Baroque masterpiece created by the Flemish sculptor Josse de Corte. The colored painting and the bleached sculpture, the stiffness of the icon and the soft sensual line of the stone figures contrasted strongly and a sense of unexpected and fascinating surprise.
My second favorite was a painting by Titian, titled The Descent of the Holy Ghost. For modern eyes, his tableau might not be so ground-breaking; but at the time of its creation and aided with more vivid colors, the large altar piece must be breathtakingly impressive - the classical triangle composition, the seamless transition from the built columns to the painted arch, and finally the blindingly dizzying holy spirit crashing down from heaven, must be truly awe inspiring.
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
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List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited
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- My Favorite Sculptures in Basilique Saint-Denis (Paris)
- Basilica di San Petronio and San Domenico in Bologna
- My Favorite Art Works at Santa Maria Novella, Firenze