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|Location||Venice, Italy map|
|Date||1576 to 1591 timeline|
|Construction System||bearing masonry|
|Notes||Domed church by water's edge.|
|Discussion||Redentore Church Commentary
The Redentore Church was founded to call upon the Redeemer to deliver the city of Venice from a serious outbreak of the plague from 1575-1576. The church is sited on the island of the Giudecca, somewhat remote from the heart of Venice, but in a position where it is clearly visible from the Piazetta di San Marco. The Venetian Senate promised that every year the Doge would cross the Canale della Giudecca on a bridge of boats to give homage to Christ the Redeemer, and the church massing and facade were designed as the culminating point of this annual procession.
From the distance, the temple front facade stands as the front layer, behind which the higher roofs of the nave culminate in the dome and its lantern. As one approaches on axis, the building massing disappears and the white stone facade dominates.
Bathed in even north light, the centralized facade is layered to reflect the internal volumes of the nave and the side chapels. The central temple front is given prominence by being raised on a podium of wide steps, which ties together the base. Composite pilasters and half columns frame the large central door. Motifs of triangular pediments recur at each side of the main volume, as half pediments in front of the side chapels, at the same height as the pediment over the door. Each part is articulated, and yet principles of proportion (squares and golden rectangles), motifs (pediments, arches and details) and hierarchy (distinguishing major and minor scales) unify the whole.
The narrow church has a longitudinal nave with side chapels connected to each other on either side, which leads to a domed crossing. At the crossing the church develops centralized characteristics with semicircular apses on either side and a hemicycle of columns which receive the altar, while they separate the monk's choir beyond, allowing light and sound to flow through.
Influenced by the spatial qualities of Roman baths, the interior is a linked set of vaulted spaces, lit by clerestory windows. As in San Giorgio and other Counter-reformation churches, the vaults and walls of the interior are stucco, painted white, and ornament comes only from architectural detail of cut stone: columns, continuous entablatures, framed arches and railings.
"The light does more than illumine; in the Redentore, its different quality in each of the three major spaces underlines the individuality so distinctly established in plan; it separates the diffusely lit nave from the amply lit tribune from the brilliantly lit monk's choir; but, in so doing, it really unifies, because the white blaze of the choir, against which the columns in a hemicycle are silhouetted and become immaterial, attracts one as if to a supernal goal. The spiritual implication is reinforced by a physical rise in the level of the crossing and choir, as the nave is above the ground level of the exterior. . . .
"Clearly defined sequences of self-sufficient spaces in the Redentore represent Palladio's intellectual resolution of the problem of joining a domed crossing to an extended nave."
James S. Ackerman. Palladio. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1967, p. 158.
The dome has a diameter of 50 feet.
The length of the church from the entrance to the rear wall is 227 feet.
Proportional system described by Ackerman (p. 146):". . . the overall width of the facade is about the same as the height of the church to the base of the dome (83 as vs. 87 Vicentine feet according to a recent measured survey) and the height from the ground to the peak of the main pediment (68 1/3') is half the overall height (137 5/6').
Sources on Redentore Church
Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan and section drawings, p123. Available at Amazon.com
Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. exterior drawing, p65. A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at Amazon.com
Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. ISBN 0-442-21668-8. LC 84-3543. NA2750.C55 1984. drawings and diagrams, p94-95. Updated edition available at Amazon.com
Peter Murray. Architecture of the Renaissance. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971. ISBN 8109-1000-4. LC 70-149850. NA510.M87. plan drawing, fig463, p311. no image credit.
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