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Museo Diocesano Sant' Apollonia

John Paul I's Venetian legacy

Last Supper by Giovan Battista Pittoni

Run by the diocese of Venice, this museum in the handsome 12th-century Benedictine Cloister of Sant' Apollonia—a rare example of mainland Romanesque in the Lagoon city—was the idea of Patriarch Albino Luciani (1912-1978) and opened a few years before he was elected and served every so briefly as Pope John Paul I.

The cloister has a 12th-century well head in the centre, along with the stones of the Lapidario Marciano, discovered around the nearby Piazza San Marco; among these are pieces from the original 9th-century Basilica.

Inside, there's a large collection of liturgical silver, and paintings and sculptures from disused Venetian churches, including a San Donato from the eponymous church in Murano, attributed to Paolo Veneziano; Jesus Christ the Redeemer by Tintoretto; Massacre of the Innocents, by Luca Giordano; a Deposition, by Gregorio Lazzarini; San Lorenzo Giustiniani by Pordenone; the Allegoria della Congregazione della Morte by Gian Antonio Pellegrini, and a very peculiar Last Supper by Giambattista Pittoni, showing Jesus and the Apostles about to feast on a puppy dog (or did it slip into the scene and fall asleep on the platter? It's hard to tell).

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Museums and Galleries

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls