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Art Restoration

The original artistic decoration finally back “home”

The original works of art of Ca’ di Dio finally return “home” following the major restoration of Sansovino’s architectural complex after being restored and repaired.

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Sculpture of the XV Century. 

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Sculpture of the XVIII Century. 

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Paintings of the XVIII Century. 

Jacopo Sansovino and Ca’ di Dio

Note by Agata Brusegan, Head of I. P.A.V. Cultural Heritage Enhancement Service

With its portholes and funnels, more appropriately flues, in the 16th century Jacopo Sansovino, the Architect of the Republic, designed a new house-ship docked at the San Marco’s basin.

A stone ship ideally heading for the Holy Land, to bring home wounded and sick pilgrims and crusaders, exhausted by years away from home, veterans of a spiritual and yet terribly physical adventure.

In fact, Ca’ di Dio origin dates back to the Middle Ages and Sansovino built on the 13th-century foundation, converting the obsolete shelter for crusaders into a hospice for women, aware of its historical heritage but also pursuing his idea of modernity keeping pace with the new times of the height of the Renaissance.

Historian Manfredo Tafuri dwells upon this building, reflecting on how Jacopo chose, or was induced by his client (the State), to renounce all reference to Antiquity, or rather, to reduce it, with an ascetic and Spartan spirit, to a few elements. And within this formal silence he included a few allusive fragments, mere architectural accents. The archistar, a specialist in rhetoric, here speaks to us in a whispered language that is unusual to him, producing, according to Tafuri, “the most ostentatiously poor work by a 16th-century Italian architect”

 

The original artistic decoration before and after Jacopo Sansovino’s mid-16th century intervention

Laura De Rossi, Fondazione Venezia Servizi alla Persona (I.P.A.V.) art history consultant

The original works of art of Ca’ di Dio finally return “home” following the major restoration of Sansovino’s architectural complex after being restored and repaired.

The 7 surviving works of the ancient decoration can be divided into two chronologically distinct groups: two sculptures dating back to the 15th century and a set of two sculptures and 3 paintings from the mid-18th century.

The two 15th-century sculptures date back to at least a century before the reconstruction by Sansovino, which saw a daring relocation of the ancient early medieval church to its current site, corresponding to the space occupied today by the hotel hall. The minute and graceful Madonnina in chalk alabaster, recalling an ancient sculptural tradition of the French Middle Ages, and the polychrome stone bas-relief with Christ Blessing are evidence of the decoration of the previous church demolished by Sansovino that he wanted to relocate in the newly built oratory. In particular, the Madonnina was placed in an external niche on the façade, specifically designed by the architect as a symbolic emblem of the hospice.

The sculpture remained on the façade for centuries, exposed to the weather, until in the 1980s, due to very advanced deterioration of the alabaster, it was decided, after a restoration, to relocate it inside.

The VOIhotels designers’ decision to have a copy of the Madonnina relocated in the original niche was a very happy one, returning the sculpture (without compromising its conservation) to its function as protector and symbol of the place.

The realisation of the copy using innovative techniques that open up new perspectives in conservation and restoration is the result of an active collaboration between the Monuments and Fine Arts Office, the owners and Voihotels, with the highly professional contribution of Mauve’s restorers and FabLab, the firm that made the 3D copy.

The two sculptures will soon find their permanent home in a special space inside the hotel, in showcases specially designed to protect them and display their beauty.

On the other hand, all five surviving works of the 18th-century decoration have already been relocated: the pictorial cycle of three altarpieces representing the last major decorative intervention in the oratory by the painter Giuseppe Angeli (a pupil of Giambattista Piazzetta) in the mid-18th century and two large stone sculptures. In the hall, we can still see three altars that housed the three altarpieces of the Angels. The high altar is characterised by a triangular tympanum in the classical style with the two statues on the sides, resting on brackets, representing St. Francis and St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The pictorial cycle includes the oil painting on canvas representing “St. Francis Xavier, St. John of Nepomuk and St. Catherine of Siena” and its pendant depicting “St. John of the Cross, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Theresa”. The most interesting work, since it opens a window into the history of Ca’

di Dio origin, between politics and religion, is undoubtedly the largest altarpiece for the high altar, in which Doge Pietro Orseolo I strips himself of his official robes in the presence of the Virgin.

 

The Madonnina

Note by MARTINA SERAFIN – OWNER OF SERES

This note describes the original scale replica of the 64 cm high ancient statuette in white chalk alabaster (a highly water-soluble material) depicting a Madonna and Child that was historically placed on the main façade of the building. Due to its outdoor exposure, repeated cycles of freezing and thawing caused over time several major fractures and degradations compromising it. Following in-depth evaluation and analysis, and in agreement with the competent Monuments and Fine Arts Office, it was decided to replace it with a replica so that the original statue could be preserved inside the building.

In collaboration with Fablab Venezia – Digital Fabrication & Social Innovation, the statue was digitised using structured light 3D scanning technology, a non-contact technology, i.e. without any direct interaction with the artefact, which uses light projections to detect the morphology of objects. Therefore, the resulting digital model is a perfect copy of the original. Subsequently, the digital model has was reproduced by 3D printing using high-resolution bioplastic filament technology.

The 3D-printed physical model formed the basis for a silicone and plaster mould, which eventually led to the final three-dimensional replica that was then entrusted to Seres srl for post-production, in which it was pictorially reproduced to replicate the same conditions as the original following restoration by Mauve srl.

Pietro Orseolo strips off his doge’s robes in the presence of the Madonna and Child

Giuseppe Angeli

1762. Oil on curved canva,
cm 263 x 150,5.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Francis Xavier, St. John of Nepomuk and St. Catherine of Siena.

Giuseppe Angeli

Oil on canvas, gilded and shaped frame
cm 180 x 135
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. John of the Cross, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Theresa.

Giuseppe Angeli

Oil on canvas, gilded and shaped frame
cm 180 x 135
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

Madonna and Child

15th century sculptor

Sculpture in chalk alabaster
h.cm 64
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Francis

18th century Venetian sculptor

Sculpture in Vicenza stone
h.cm 165 approx.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Ignatius of Loyola

18th century Venetian sculptor

Sculpture in Vicenza stone
h.cm 165 approx.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

Pietro Orseolo strips off his doge’s robes in the presence of the Madonna and Child

Giuseppe Angeli

1762. Oil on curved canva,
cm 263 x 150,5.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Francis Xavier, St. John of Nepomuk and St. Catherine of Siena.

Giuseppe Angeli

Oil on canvas, gilded and shaped frame
cm 180 x 135
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. John of the Cross, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Theresa.

Giuseppe Angeli

Oil on canvas, gilded and shaped frame
cm 180 x 135
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

Madonna and Child

15th century sculptor

Sculpture in chalk alabaster
h.cm 64
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Francis

18th century Venetian sculptor

Sculpture in Vicenza stone
h.cm 165 approx.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)

St. Ignatius of Loyola

18th century Venetian sculptor

Sculpture in Vicenza stone
h.cm 165 approx.
Venice, Ca’ di Dio
(I.P.A.V. Collections)