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Baroque gone bad

Santa Maria dei Derelitti or "Ospedaletto" Church (1668-1674) in Venice - Architecht Baldassare Longhena (Venice about 1597-Venice 1682) - Sculptors Marco Beltrame and Josse Le Court

Baldassare Longhena was having a bad day when he designed this nervous wreck of a Baroque façade near SS. Giovanni e Paolo; the cumulative effect of all the strong men, lions and giant telamones hovers somewhere between a circus poster and low-calorie nightmare–a fair reflection of the low ebb of everyday life in the declining 1670s.

Ruskin found it 'the most monstrous' façade in Venice. There's a bust of the man who paid for its completion, merchant and haberdasher Bartolomeo Cagnoni, front and centre, but like several other churches in Venice, around him there's a decided lack of Christian imagery.

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Carlo Raso, Sailko, TracyElaine