In the northern side of Venice, in the Cannaregio district, you can find the Jesuits Church, which is richly ornate and austere at the same time.
If the Catholic visitor of the church of San Salvador can find in the works of Titian a powerful spiritual message, the common visitor who is not familiar with the Christian religion can perceive their overwhelming theatric effect.
Titian painted both works in the 1560ies, when he was over 70 years old and the world of his youth had deeply changed. Catholic and Protestants were carrying devastating wars all over Europe. The Reform of the Catholic Church had to state the siege of its doctrine.
Filled with more than 25 million visitors a year Venice is always more chaotic.
In spite of the confusion and the thousands of people in the narrow alleyways, there are still places where you can hide from crowds and noises: churches in Venice are real oasis of peace and beauty.
Sitting quietly in front of Titian’s colors, Bellini’s serenity or Tintoretto’s dramatic scenes, it seems as if we could get in contact with our ancestors; as if we, through these works, could understand the passions, the dreams or the fears that moved them.
The churches of Venice, to me, are like a bridge to the past; places where for hundred of years daily life, confessions and love stories, moments of desperation and happiness took place.
To me, those saints and those Madonnas that look at us from the altars are not only images meant to teach the stories of the Bible, but figures with whom people used to share their thoughts, figures who were part of the life of the community. People would take flowers or little presents to them, would talk to them, entrusting them their thoughts and hopes.
In the next posts I’ll put some of my favorite churches. Hoping that visitors will continue to experience them as places of hospitality and beauty.
Save Venice, the American Committee that support the artistic heritage of Venice by sponsoring the preservation of countless works of art, made possible this important restoration of the Sala dell’Albergo at the Accademia Galleries. The Sala dell’Albergo was originally used as meeting room by the board of the Scuola della Carità, the charitable institution today part of the group of buildings that host the art collection.
The Accademia Galleries host the largest collection in the world of Venetian painting. You can see masterpieces by Titian, Bellini, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Carpaccio, Veronese and many other great artists from the 14th to the 19th century.