Churches of Venice: Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo with Dr. Susan Steer

Churches of Venice: Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo with Dr. Susan Steer


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Join us for a closer look at the Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where superlative examples of Venetian painting and sculpture created by Verrochio, Bellini, Titian, and Lotto can be enjoyed in their original context.

The great basilica of Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo was not only the most important Dominican church in Venice, but it effectively became one of two unofficial-official mausoleums for the Republic’s most notable citizens. It was where Doges’ funerals were celebrated and its walls bear the tombs of no less than 23 of their monuments. 

The altars were embellished with some of the finest examples of Venetian painting, including Giovanni Bellini’s earliest Venetian altarpiece, the St Vincent Ferrer polyptych, and the St. Antoninus altarpiece by Lorenzo Lotto, made as payment in kind for the artist’s own tomb – although, in the end, poor Lotto died far from his home city. 

Although Titian’s greatest masterpiece, as The St. Peter Martyr Altarpiece was hailed in his own lifetime, was destroyed in a fire and is known only through a seventeenth-century copy, from this we can still appreciate why the original inspired such extravagant praise. Additionally, Venice is rightly famous for its glass, and it is here we can admire the unique surviving example of a large-scale stained glass window in the city. 

Finally, set imposingly in the campo in front of the church, is the famous equestrian monument of the military commander Bartolomeo Colleoni. This important sculpture represented a further development in equestrian monuments in bronze following Donatello's example in Padua, and while Colleoni's monument was conceived by the Florentine Andrea del Verrochio, it was executed by Venetian Alessandro Leopardi, and its exact authorship has long been contested by art historians. 

Led by Dr. Susan Steer, an expert on Venetian Renaissance Art, this interactive seminar will look in-depth at the art collections inside of SS Giovanni e Paolo. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of this important monument, as well as Venetian art history.

Please Note: This seminar is envisaged as part of a series of to explore Venetian churches.

Susan Steer PhD is an art historian specializing in Medieval and Renaissance Venice. Susan has an extensive teaching background, lecturing on Italian art for universities in the UK and in Italy. She has also worked as a paintings researcher at museums in the UK, and has published on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art in leading specialist journals. She has lived in Venice for over 20 years.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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