Church of San Giuliano (Zulian)


San Giuliano (Zulian), Facade, Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, High Altar, Organ, 1989-96

The restoration work in San Zulian was made possible by the extremely generous gift of £250,000 from Stanley Seeger's Sutton Place Heritage Trust. Designed by Jacopo Sansovino, San Zulian is the only freestanding church in the city. The priority was to consolidate and clean the Sansovino façade and the bronze statue of Tommaso Rangone, who had commissioned it; then the statue had to be protected against pigeons. Given its partially sheltered position in a small square near San Marco, the lower two thirds of the façade were heavily blackened, in part by damaging deposits, in part by the chemical alteration of organic substances applied to the Istrian stone to dull its brightness and protect it; the exposed upper third, by contrast, was brilliant white and the stone was relatively vulnerable because the protective substances had been washed away. Rain leaking in from the façade was causing damp patches and disintegrating the plaster on the inner wall. The whole façade was cleaned and consolidated and new protection applied.

Conservation of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament followed, with widespread consolidation of the stucco, and cleaning and waxing of the marble altar. The Gaetano Callido organ of 1764, together with the organ loft and spiral stairs leading up to it, were restored. The final work was carried out on the high altar with its two wooden, polychrome statues of saints, which after the removal of two layers of overpaint can now be seen in their original colours.

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