Basilica San Goirgio Maggiore-19th July 2012

Posted: July 19, 2012 in 7.28, 8.14, Architecture & Place-Making, Giuseppe Valadier, July 2012, Urban, Venice
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San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.

Plan and section diagram of the church

Exterior:

The façade is brilliantly white and represents Palladio’s solution to the difficulty of adapting a classical temple facade to the form of the Christian church, with its high nave and low side aisles, which had always been a problem. Palladio’s solution superimposed two facades, one with a wide pediment and architrave, extending over the nave and both the aisles, apparently supported by a single order of pilasters, and the other with a narrower pediment (the width of the nave) superimposed on top of it with a giant order of engaged columns on high pedestals. This solution is similar to Palladio’s slightly earlier facade for San Francesco della Vigna, where the other parts of the church had been designed by Sansovino. On either side of the central portal are statues of Saint George and of Saint Stephen, to whom the church is also dedicated.

Interior:

What I am interested in this church is how Palladio playing with light,based on the geometry of the church, which is symmetrical along the elongated  longitudinal axis, I assume Palladio use this brilliant idea of carving in the roof to ring light in, and at the same time, the light got reflected and pointed to the longitudinal axis, thus to strengthen the feeling of the space.

Zoomed in shot of the roof, showing the reflection of the light

The bright and spacious interior is marked by symmetry, by the clam, uniform distribution of light that arrives from and so called thermal windows in the form of lunettes, divided into three parts, that reflect the religious sensitivity of monastic times.

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