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Oratorio dei Crociferi

With paintings by Palma Giovane

Doge Ranier Zeno endowing the Crociferi, Palma G.

To the left of the Gesuiti, the Ospizio dei Crociferi ('the bearers of the Cross') was founded sometime in the 11th century to shelter pilgrims to the Holy Land. It later evolved to assist needy widows. Although the Jesuits destroyed the Crociferi church, the oratory, founded in the 13th century by Doge Ranier Zeno, whose palazzo stood nearby, survived.

In the late 16th century Doge Pasquale Cicogna commissioned its decoration by Palma Giovane. Between 1583 and 1591, he filled it with the chief moments in the history of the Crociferi in glowing colours. The events in themselves lack the drama of those in other Venetian altruistic organizations, but the younger Palma, whose paintings elsewhere are often workmanlike rehashes of Tintoretto, manages to convert some of them into charming images, all beautiful restored after severe damage in the 1966 flood.

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Campo dei Gesuiti

vaporetto: Fondamenta Nove

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: PD Art