Facade, chapel of the Holy Sacrament with Gerolamo Campagna Pieta, organ and high altar, church of San Zulian

San Zulian facade inscription
Portrait of Tomasso Rangone on the facade of San Zulian

About the project

San Giuliano, or Zulian, which stands on a bend in the Merceria, the busiest street of shops in the city, is the only church to be completely free-standing despite being in the most densely built part of Venice. The present building, designed by Jacopo Sansovino, is the third to occupy the site since the church was founded in about 830AD.

The facade was commissioned in 1553 by Tommaso Rangone, a doctor and philosopher from Ravenna, but many of of the interior works of art date from after his death in 1577.  The Istrian stone facade, against which his bronze statue stands, is one of several contemporary facades in Venice which were also celebrative monuments to the patrons who commissioned them.  Intended at first as an independent work, the statue was placed in  position in 1557, several years before the decision was taken to rebuild the three-aisled medieval church behind it as a Renaissance cube.  The facade was cleaned, consolidated and subsequently protected against pigeons in 1989-92.

The conservation of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, with its stuccoed vault and gilded medallions by Alessandro Vittoria, and Girolamo Campagna’s relief of the Pieta and statues of the Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist in terracotta painted simulate bronze, was completed in 1994.  The Gaetano Callido organ of 1764, together with the organ loft and the spiral stairs leading up to it, were restored in 1994-96.  Restoration of the high altar, with its two wooden polychrome statues of saints which, after removal of overpaint, can now be seen in their original colours, was completed in 1996.

All this work was made possible by a generous donation by Stanley Seeger.

Project location

In brief

  • Comprehensive repairs to San Zulian began in 1989 with the facade and continued inside the church concluding by 1996.
  • Works included the  Chapel of the Holy Sacrament with its vaulting and gilded medallions by Alessandro Vittoria and Gerolamo Campagna’s Pieta
  • The conservation of the organ by Gaetano Callido of 1764 carried out by Francesco Zanin and of the organ loft carried out by Maristella Volpin 
  • The high altar and polychrome statues
  • Conservators were: Facade: Alessandri srl, Chapel of the Holy Sacrament: Arke, High altar and Organ loft: Maristella Volpin, Organ: Francesco Zanin
  • Funded by Stanley Seeger

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