Year of Palladio

Civic Architecture : Sacred Building

Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore

The Refectory of the “Monatery of San Giorgio Maggiore”; begun in July of 1560, is a “skillfully balanced scenographic sequence of spaces on two levels running the whole length of the refectory hall” modeled on the vaults of ancient baths.” (Beltramini, 223) The front is framed with paired corinthian pilasters, and “support a divided entablature and pediment. The design contrasts the high round columns on the high bases with the small flat pilasters on low bases.” (Reed, p. 69) The courtyards, begun in 1579 and left unfinished until the 17th century, exhibit a design meant to conform to the cloister-with-double-columns plan already found in other monasteries affiliated with the Congregation of Santa Giustina. (Beltramini, p. 255) Inside, the building exhibits a “sequence of [four main] spaces run[ning] along a very marked central axis ensuring continuity and the passage from one zone of the church to another. Palladio sought to introduce the greatest variety in the details of the order, never resorting to easy predictable solutions…The overall result is a grandiose church recreating the spatial thrill of monumental ancient Roman buildings.” Unfortunately, however, the present façade “was only actually built many years later, from 1607 to 1611, and recent studies have shown it is far removed from Palladio’s original intentions.” (Beltramini, pp. 234, 238)

Additional Reading

Andrea Palladio by Stephen R. Wassell

Additional Sacred Buildings