The Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, also known as the Church of Santa Maria Zobenigo (as a tribute to the family who financially supported the construction of this place of worship in the 9th century, that is, the Jubanico family) is located in San Marco, in the proximity of Piazza San Marco (west of it) and of its inner attractions. Much of the decorative patrimony of this edifice was delineated in the second half of the 17th century (between 1678 and 1681), when, given the condition of the church required massive restoration works, Antonio Barbaro (back then, a reputed admiral) commissioned Giuseppe Sardi to do the job. The work of Giuseppe Sardi resulted in, as connoisseurs often appreciate, one of the most impeccable expressions of the Baroque architecture, at least as far as the facade of the church is concerned.

Speaking of the facade, what is less common of it is, as compared with the facades of other places of worship, it is replete with decorative elements with little connection to religion, rather hinting on the military achievements of the admiral. Thus, the statue of the admiral is centrally placed on the facade, being flanked by the allegorical statues of Wisdom, Virtue, Honor and Fame. Sculptural representations of sundry family members of the Barbaro family, as well as the coat of arms of the family and maps carved in marble rendering the places where the admiral led his soldiers, are also featured on the facade which, thus, drips with marble hints on the generosity of the family who sponsored the reconstruction of the church (all the representations of the Barbaro family are made of marble, whereas the rest of the elements are built in Istria stone).

The interior of the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio is just as valuable from an artistic point of view, being replete with pictorial works by various reputed artists. Thus, the church takes pride in showcasing the only work by Peter Paul Rubens in Venice, that is, a Madonna with Child Jesus accompanied by a Young Saint John. The large ceiling in the nave section was painted by Antonio Zanchi, but other notable contributors to the biblical scenes along the nave (chiefly, scenes of Via Crucis) are, for instance, Gaspare Diziani and Jacopo Marieschi, Francesco Zugno and Gianbattista Crosato. Two works by Jacopo Tintoretto were also once found in the church, of which only one has managed to survive (the evangelists’ scene behind the sanctuary).

The organ of the church is also an element worth studying and admiring, since it contains decorations by a handful of artists, such as Sebastiano Ricci, Giambattista Piazzetta, Alessandro Vittoria, Gian Maria Morlaiter and Jacopo Palma il Giovane.

Church of Santa Maria del Giglio (Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio / Chiesa di Santa Maria Zobenigo)
Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo, San Marco, Venice, Italy
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