Church of San Giovanni in Bragora
Sebastiano Mariani da Lugano
Frame for the Baptism of Christ
Restored in 1989 with partial funding from World Monuments Fund and The J. Paul Getty Trust
In 1492 the stonemason Sebastiano Mariani da Lugano was commissioned to build the frame for Cima’s high altar painting. Inspired by the works of Tullio Lombardo and other Lombard sculptors working in Venice, Mariani designed a innovative frame complete with richly decorated pilasters and columns odorned with garlands. In 1595 the renowned Venetian sculptor, Alessandro Vittoria, member of the parish of San Giovanni in Bragora, remodeled the presbytery of the church. Cima da Conegliano’s Baptism of Christ, which had originally been placed directly on the high altar, was raised about five feet so that it would not be partially obscured by a Sacred Sacrament tabernacle. Vittoria adapted the existing frame, adding a new marble tympanum enclosed in an incomplete semicircle. On the presbytery vault above Cima de Conegliano’s Baptism of Christ, Ottaviano Ridolfi (1543–1603) added opulent stucco and gold designs. Ridolfi was a relative of Alessandro Vittoria, and his work often closely followed Vittoria’s style.
Project Director: Sandro Sponza, Superintendency of Fine Arts of Venice
Restorer: Lithos restoration firm, G.R.C. restoration firm (1989, marble frame)