John Ruskin: The Stones of Venice - "Venetian Index" - G

 



62 Giacomo de Lorio, Church of St.

A most interesting church, of the early thirteenth century, but grievously restored. Its capitals have
*[Now destroyed by restoration. 1877.]
been already noticed as characteristic of the earliest Gothic; and it is said to contain four works of Paul Veronese, but I have not examined them. The pulpit is admired by the Italians, but is utterly worthless. The verde-antique pillar in the south transept is a very noble example of the "Jewel Shaft."

 

63 Giacomo di Rialto, Church of St.

on the Piazza di Rialto.
A picturesque little church. It has been grievously restored, but the pillars and capitals of its nave are certainly of the eleventh century; those of its portico are of good central Gothic; and it will surely not e left unvisited, on this ground, if on no other, that it stands on the site, and still retains the name, of the first church ever built on that Rialto which formed the nucleus of future Venice, and became afterwards the mart of her merchants.

 

64 Giobbe, Church of St.

near the Canna Reggio.
Its principal entrance is a very fine example of early renaissance sculpture. Note in it, especially, its beautiful use of the flower of the convolvulus. There are said to be still more beautiful examples of the same period, in the interior. The cloister, though much defaced, is of the Gothic period, and worth a glance.

 

65 Giorgio dei Greci, Church of St.

The Greek Church. It contains no valuable objects of art, but its service is worth attending by those who have never seen the Greek ritual.

 

66 Giorgio de' Schiavoni, Church of St.

Said to contain a very precious series of paintings by Vittor Carpaccio. [1877. See "St. Mark's Rest." First Supplement, "The Shrine of the Slaves."]

 

67 Giorgio in Alga (St. George in the seaweed), Church of St.

Unimportant in itself, but the most beautiful view of Venice at sunset is from a point about two-thirds of the distance from the city to the island.
[1877. From the island itself, now, the nearer view is spoiled by loathsome mud-castings and machines. But all is spoiled from what it was. The Campanile, good early Gothic, had its top knocked off to get space for an observatory in the siege.]

 

68 Giorgio Maggiore, Church of St.

A building which owes its interesting effect chiefly to its isolated position, being seen over the great space of lagoon. The traveller should especially notice in its facade the manner in which the central Renaissance architects (of whose style this church is a renowned example) endeavoured to fit the laws they had established to the requirements of their age. Churches were required with aisles and clerestories, that is to say, with a high central nave and lower wings; and the question was, how to face this form with pillars of one proportion. The noble Romanesque architects built story above story, as at Pisa and Lucca; but the base Palladian architects dared not do this. They must needs retain some image of the Greek temple, but the Greek temple was all of one height, a low gable roof being borne on ranges of equal pillars. So the Palladian builders raised first a Greek temple with pilasters for shafts; and, through the middle of its roof, or horizontal beam, that is to say, of the cornice which externally represented this beam, they lifted another temple on pedestals, adding these barbarous appendages to the shafts, which otherwise would not have been high enough; fragments of the divided cornice or tie-beam being left between the shafts, and the great door of the church thrust in between the pedestals. It is impossible to conceive a design more gross, more barbarous, more childish in conception, more servile in plagiarism, more insipid in result, more contemptible under every point of rational regard.
Observe, also, that when Palladio had got his pediment at the top of the church, he did not know what to do with it; he had no idea of decorating it except by a round hole in the middle. (The traveller should compare, both in construction and decoration, the Church of the Redentore with this of San Giorgio.) Now, a dark penetration is often a most precious assistance to a building dependent upon colour for its effect; for a cavity is the only means in the architect's power of obtaining certain and vigourous shadow; and for this purpose, a circular penetration, surrounded by a deep russet marble moulding, is beautifully used in the centre of the white field on the side of the Portico of St. Mark's. But Palladio had given up colour, and pierced his pediment with a circular cavity, merely because he had not wit enough to fill it with sculpture. The interior of the church is like a large assembly room, and would have been undeserving of a moment's attention, but that it contains some most precious pictures.

 

69 Giovanelli, Palazzo

at the Ponte di Noale.
A fine example of fifteenth century Gothic, founded on the Ducal Palace.

See also Palazzo Giovanelli for the current state of the building

 

70 Giovanni e Paolo, Church of St.

An impressive church, though none of its Gothic is comparable with that of the North, or with that of Verona. The western door is interesting as one of the last conditions of Gothic design passing into Renaissance, very rich and beautiful of its kind, especially the wreath of fruit and flowers which forms its principal moulding. The statue of Bartolomeo Colleone, in the little square beside the church, is certainly one of the noblest works in Italy. I have never seen anything approaching it in animation, in vigour or portraiture, or nobleness of line. The reader will need Lazari's Guide in making the circuit of the church, which is full of interesting monuments: but I wish especially to direct his attention to two pictures, besides the celebrated Peter Martyr:

* I have always called this church, in the text, simply "St. John and Paul," not Sts. John and Paul; just as the Venetians say San Giovanni e Paolo, and not Santi G., etc.

 

71 Giovanni Crisostomo, Church of St.

One of the most important in Venice. It is early Renaissance, containing some good sculpture, but chiefly notable as containing a noble Sebastian del Piombo, and a John Bellini, which a few years hence, unless it be "restored," will be esteemed one of the most precious pictures in Italy, and among the most perfect in the world. John Bellini is the only artist who appears to me to have united, in equal and magnificent measures, justness of drawing, nobleness of colouring, and perfect manliness of treatment, with the purest religious feeling. He did, as far as it is possible to do it, instinctively and unaffectedly, what the Caracci only pretended to do. Titian colours better, but has not his piety. Leonardo draws better, but has not his colour. Angelico is more heavenly, but has not his manliness, far less his powers or art.

 

72 Giovanni Elemosinario, Church of St.

Said to contain a Titian and a Bonifazio. Of no other interest. [1877. 1398-1410, Selvatico. Its campanile is the most interesting piece of central Gothic remaining comparatively intact in Venice. It stands on four detached piers; a greengrocer's shop in the space between them; the stable tower for its roof. There are three lovely bits of heraldry, carved on three square stones, on its side towards the Rialto. Selvatico gives no ground for his date; I believe 1298-1310 more probable. The Titian, only visible to me by the sacristan's single candle, seems languid and affected.]

 

73 Giovanni in Bragola, Church of St.

A Gothic church of the fourteenth century, small but interesting, and said to contain some precious works by Cima da Conegliano, and one by John Bellini.

 

74 Giovanni, S., Scuola di.

A fine example of the Byzantine Renaissance, mixed with remnants of good late Gothic. The little exterior cortile is sweet in feeling, and Lazari praises highly the work of the interior staircase.

 

75 Giudecca

The crescent-shaped island (or series of islands) which forms the most northern extremity of the city of Venice, though separated by a broad channel from the main city. Commonly said to derive its name from the number of Jews who lived upon it; but Lazari derives it from the word "judicato," in Venetian dialect "Zudega," it having been in old time "adjudged" as a kind of prison territory to the more dangerous and turbulent citizens. It is now inhabited only by the poor, and covered by desolate groups of miserable dwellings, divided by stagnant canals.
Its two principal churches, the Redentore and St. Eufemia, are named in their alphabetical order.

See also Giudecca for a current description.

 

76 Giuseppe di Castello, Church of St.

Said to contain a Paul Veronese: otherwise of no importance.

 

77 Giustiniani, Palazzo

on the Grand Canal
now Albergo all' Europa. Good late fourteenth century Gothic, but much altered.

See also Palazzo Giustiniani for the current state of the building

 

78 Giustiniani, Palazzo

Lazari, I know not on what authority, says that this palace was built by the Giustiniani family before 1428. It is one of those founded directly on the Ducal Palace, together with the Casa Foscari at its side: and there could have been no doubt of their date on this ground; but it would be interesting, after what we have seen of the progress of the Ducal Palace, to ascertain the exact year of the erection of any of these imitations.
This palace contains some unusually rich detached windows, full of tracery, of which the profiles are given in the Appendix, under the title of the Palace of the Younger Foscari, it being popularly reported to have belonged to the son of the Doge.

See also Palazzo Giustiniani for the current state of the building

 

79 Giustinian Lolin, Palazzo

on the Grand Canal.
Of no importance.

See also Palazzo Giustinian Lolin for the current state of the building

 

80 Grassi, Palazzo

on the Grand Canal,
now Albergo all' Imperator d' Austria. Of no importance.

 

81 Gregorio, Church of St.

on the Grand Canal.
An important church of the fourteenth century, not desecrated, but still interesting. Its apse is on the little canal crossing from the Grand Canal to the Giudecca, beside the Church of the Salute, and is very characteristic of the rude ecclesiastical Gothic contemporary with the Ducal Palace. The entrance to its cloisters, from the Grand Canal, is somewhat later; a noble square door, with two windows on each side of t, the grandest examples in Venice of the late window of the fourth order.
The cloister, to which this door gives entrance, is exactly contemporary with the finest work of the Ducal Palace, circa 1350. It is the loveliest cortile I know in Venice; its capitals consummate in design and execution; and the low wall on which they stand showing remnants of sculpture unique, as far as I know, in such application.

 

82 Grimani, Palazzo

on the Grand Canal,
There are several other places in Venice belonging to this family, but none of any architectural interest.
Of all the buildings in Venice later in date to the additions of the Ducal Palace, the noblest is, beyond all question, that which, having been condemned to be pulled down and sold for the value of its materials, was rescued by the Austrian Government, and appropriated to the business of the Post Office.
It is composed of three stories of the Corinthian order, at once simple, delicate and sublime; but on so colossal a scale, that the three-storied palaces on its right and left only reach to the cornice which marks the level of its first floor.

See also Palazzo Grimani for the current state of the building

 
Jan-Christoph Rößler