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The Altar of the Relics
Altar of the Relics
Altar of the Relics

This rich baroque altar dated 1711 keeps the shrine containing one of the most famous relics of Venice, the Precious Blood of Christ, formerly in Constantinople and brought to Venice by the Venetian Fleet Commander Melchiorre Trevisan, who presented it to the Frari upon his return from the East. The altar is adorned with three bas-reliefs in Carrara marble representing the Crucifixation, the Deposition and the Entombing of Jesus Christ. The works are by the Venetian Francesco Penso, known as Cabianca. The central part and the top of the altar are enriched with fine gilt wood carvings by Andrea Brustolon from Belluno ( 1662-1732 ).

The entire work was commissioned by Father Antonio Pittoni of the friary. Worth seeing also an interesting 16th century counter with the wooden statues of St. Francis and St. Anthony at the corners, and a painting by Paolo Veneziano portraying St. Francis and St. Elizabeth of Hungary presenting Doge Francesco Dandolo and his wife to the Virgin. Despite the Byzantine rigidity of the figures, the pictorial stroke shows some early overture to the new Gothic decorative values. Before being moved to the sacristy, the Virgin by Veneziano was originally set above the mo- nument of Doge Francesco Dandolo in the Chapter Hall.

Virgin by Veneziano
Virgin by Veneziano


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