Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary
The entrance is by way classical portal opened below the monument to Antonio Venier. Built by the Scuola of the Rosary in 1582, to the design of Alessandro Vittoria who also worked hard on the task, the chapel is the result of the transformation of the 14th century chapel of St. Dominic.
It was dedicated to the victory of Lepanto (7 October 1571, the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary). It was a real jewel; a marvellous casket containing many masterpieces.
On the night of 15 – 16 August 1867 a serious fire destroyed the chapel, and with it the gilded wooden ceiling with its paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto (Our Lady of the Rosary), Palma il Giovane, Leandro Corona, and about 34 other paintings displayed on the walls, by the same artists and also by G. Francesco Bassano, Domenico Tintoretto, Giovanni Soens and others.
By sad coincidence there were also deposited there at the time, for restoration, Titian’s Martyrdom of St. Peter and Giovanni Bellini’s Virgin and saints which were likewise lost. On 4 October 1959 the restored chapel, was solemnly reopened.
The chapel is divided into two parts, the nave and the sanctuary. In the nave the present ceiling carved by Carlo Lorenzetti, inaugurated in 1932, is inset with three masterpieces by Paolo Caliari, better known as Veronese (1527-1588): the Adoration of the pastors, the Assumption, the Annunciation.
These paintings were once in the deconsacrated church of the Umiltà on the Zattere, whence they passed to the Vienna Gallery (1838); they were returned to Venice in 1919 and placed here in June 1925.
On the end walls, to the left, on entering, is a second version of the Adoration of the pastors, also by Veronese. On the right wall, above the entrance you can see the Dead Christ by Gian Battista Zelotti († 1578) a contemporary and assistant of Veronese.
Then Jesus meeting Veronica a work by Carlo Caliari son of Veronese, and St. Michael vanquishes Lucifer byBonifacio de’ Pitati († 1553), a follower of Titian.
On the left wall, facing the entrance, you find the Martyrdom of St. Cristina by Sante Peranda; then the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper by Benedetto Caliari, brother, disciple and assistant of Veronese; finally St. Dominic saves some sailors calling on them to say the Rosary by Alessandro Varotto, called the Padovanino († 1650).
Along the side-walls are wooden choir stall back-panels inlaid by Giacomo Piazzetta (second half of 17th century), they come from the ex-Scuola della Carità, and represent the Episodes of the life of Jesus and Mary, and take the place of those by Brustolon destroyed in the fire of 1867. Near the gate in the sanctuary rail, in the centre, is the tomb of Fr. Giocondo Lorgna († 1928), a Dominican and parish priest of SS. John and Paul, founder of the Imeldine Sisters, initiator and leading spirit in the restoration of the chapel.
In the presbytery, the marvellous ceiling continues from the nave and includes other masterpieces by the greatVeronese. In the centre the Adoration of the Magi, a quatrefoil canvas of 1582; at the sides, the Four Evangelists. These paintings come from the deconsacrated church of St. Nicolò in Lattuga near i Frari. The altar is in the form of small quadriform temple surmounted by a pierced work cooper cupola, the work of Gerolamo Campagna; it is precious for its classical lines and sumptuous in the perfect finish of every detail. Our Lady of the Rosary was reconstructed by Carlo Lorenzetti and is in polychrome terracotta. On the crosspieces of the throne (original) are on each side: four pairs of putti each supporting a gilded oval with the head of a sibyl: the Libic, in front; theCumane, to the right; the Agrippine, at the back; the Hellespontic to the left. In the pediments are the fourProphets in low-relief by Campagna. The two restored monumental candelabra are by Alessandro Vittoria.
On the dado round the sanctuary are ten splendid low-reliefs of the 18th century partly recomposed after the fire; eight are signed. Beginning from the left you find the Annunciation by Giovanni Bonazza, the Adoration of the pastors (dated 1700) by the same with his sons Antonio, Francesco and Tommaso, the Meeting of the Virgin with St. Elizabeth by Luigi and Carlo Tagliapietra, the Dream of St. Joseph by Francesco Bonazza, the Child Mary in the Temple by Giuseppe Torretto, teacher of Casanova, the Marriage of SS. Mary and Joseph by the same, theStay in Egypt by Gian Maria Morleiter, the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple by Luigi and CarloTagliapietra, the Adoration of the Magi by Giovanni Bonazza, Jesus disputing with the doctors of law in the Temple by Gian Maria Morleiter.
The sumptuous decoration of the walls is continued higher up by the three Prophets and three sibyls in niches. To the right Eritrea and Isaiah; behind the altar Lybic and David; to the left Delphic and Jeremiah, and six marvellous stucco pictures above these statues, from the right: Visitation and Flight into Egypt, Presentation at the Temple and Marriage of Mary, Annunciation and Adoration of the pastors. Statues and pictures are by Victoria. The four truncated statues behind the altar are the sad record of the fire. They represent SS. Dominic, Giustina (byAlessandro Vittoria), Thomas Aquinas and Rosa da Lima (by Girolamo Campagna).
On the end wall is the Assumption by Giuseppe Porta called Salviati. The work is inspired by the masterpiece on the same subject by Titian, and occupied its place at i Frari for more than a century when this was taken away to the Accademia.