The painting represents St. Catherine of Alexandria who is spared from torture at the wheel. The frenetic movement of the characters converges towards the kneeling Martyr on a pedestal. The powerful angel swoops down from the sky with a sword in his hand to defend the virgin and, with great force, breaks the wheel into pieces which overwhelm the persecutors.
The statue of St. Jerome and the statues of The Baptist, St Peter, St. Andrew and St. Leonard in stucco and, on the upper pediment, the two supine sibyls ( which resemble the famous statues by Michelangelo in the sacristy of St. Lorenzo in Florence) represent the most important pieces of the artist between 1560 and 1575. Vittoria expresses his most inner self in these works. The St. Jerome (1565) was defined as “one of the most famous works of the 1500s” (Fogolari), imitating Michelangelo’s style. The expression, the realistic likeness to the human form, the strength and finesse demonstrate the introspective talent of the artist. On the plinth, which bears the statue, and on the sibyls on the pediment, is the inscription: “ALEXANDER VICTORIA FACIEBAT”.
In December 1441, after having completed the construction of the church, the friars granted the space in the right aisle to the Scuola di S. Antonio, which moved here in 1439 from San Simon Grando. The space extends from the facade to the first column nearest to the entrance of the central doorway. It was established that “a sumptuous altar could be erected… along with a round window in stone and glass up above ”. The present altar was built in 1663 using funds collected by the “Confraternity of St. Anthony”. It replaced the original wooden altar of which remains only the statue of the Saint by Giacomo di Caterino of S.Salvador, carved in 1450. The project of this monumental work is by Baldassarre Longhena (1598-1682), but the work, as the contemporary F. Vincenzo Coronelli states, was mastered by Giuseppe Sardi (1621- 1699) and the help of talented artists working in Venice. The altar is rich with marble sculptures and statues which centralise the figure of the Saint, surrounded by angels, and symbolic figures of the theological and cardinal virtues. The altar fills the entire space offered by chapel width-wise whereas length-wise it touches the point of the arch where the Christ Resurrected stands. Four large white Carrara marble composite columns frame the statue of the Saint. Faith and Hope, on either side, and Christ Resurrected on top, are the work of Bernardo Falcone of Lugano (†1694). Above Faith and Hope are Charity and Prudence and, on the pediment, Justice and Meditation. Up above, resting on the curvilinear tympanum, Temperance and Fortitude. These were all sculpted by the Flemish Giusto le Court (1627- 1679).
Titian died in Venice on August 27, 1576. He had asked to be buried at the Frari at the foot of the Altar of the Crucifix which was the focus of his last piece of work, The Pietà, left unfinished and completed by Palma the Younger. Towards the end of the 18th century, many artists wanted to erect a monument in memory of the artist. The project was commissioned to Canova in 1790. The project was never completed due to the fall of the Republic of Venice and lack of funds. In 1838, while visiting Venice, the Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand I, was struck with the idea of erecting a monument in memory of the great artist who had worked at the court of his forefathers. The monument is in Carrara marble. The centre is dominated by the statue of the artist crowned with a laurel wreath. Nearby is the universal nature and the genius of knowledge with the statues of Painting, Sculpture, Graphic Art and Architecture. Five bas-reliefs recall Titian’s most important religious works: in the centre of the masterpiece is the Assumption on the left the Martyrdom of St. Peter from Verona, a splendid piece of artwork for the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, destroyed during a fire; and on the right the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, now located in the Gesuiti church. Above the entablature are the following sculptures: on the right the Visitation, while on the left the Deposition from the Cross. On the top of the monument is the Lion of St. Mark clutching the shield with the Hapsburg Coat of Arms. On the base, to the left of the monument, is an old man sitting down with a tablet bearing the inscription: “EQUES ET COMES TITIANUS SIT CAROLUS V – MDLIII”.