Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro

This masterpiece of Venetian art is characterised by further research carried out after the innovation of ‘The Assumption’ (1518). Titian’s genius was that he had moved the Virgin Mary with the child from the traditional central position to the side. Nevertheless the Virgin, seated on a throne resting against a huge column, remains at the summit of the geometric pyramid created by the other characters, and, by virtue of the splendid use of colours, it is the central focus point of the painting. Against a background of velvet clouds, intersected by two almighty columns, which add space and dimension to the arrangement of the shapes, Titian places the Virgin and child at the centre of the dynamics of the painting by employing a deviously intelligent use of perspective and colour. In front of the Virgin, just below her, St. Peter, wearing a delightful blue vestment with a glorious yellow mantle draped over his knees, interrupts his reading and presents to her Jacopo Pesaro, the Bishop and Commander of twenty Papal galleys in the triumphant battle against the Turks at Santa Maura (1503). Next to him, a standard-bearer displays the flag carrying the coat of arms of Pope Alexander VI. The laurel on the flag and the Turk with the white turban are symbols of victory. On the right, the Child, who is playing with the border of the white veil, is smiling at St. Francis who presents the kneeling members of the Pesaro family to the Virgin Mary while St. Anthony looks on. In the foreground, there is Francesco, with an endearing scarlet vestment, raised to the dignity of knighthood. On the same level, Antonio, Fantino and Giovanni can be seen. Just beneath them is the nephew of Francesco, Leonardo, son of Antonio, who is looking at the observer in an innocent and carefree manner with eyes that follow the observer wherever he stands.

Up above, two angels put right a skew-whiff cross while sitting on a dark fluffy cloud which throws its shadow on to the two columns and characters below. The precision of detail, the splendour of colour, the powerful expressions of the characters make this painting one of the most important masterpieces of all time.

Monument dedicated to Canova

The monument in Carrara marble is one of the most typical Neo-classic artworks. It was erected by the disciples based on the design prepared by Canova in 1794 for Titian. The design was not used and was adapted for the monument dedicated to Maria Cristina of Austria which can be found in the church of the Agostiniani in Vienna. Canova died in Venice on October 13, 1822, and was taken to Possagno, his native village. Count Leopoldo Cicognara saw to it that the same model was used for this monument, which was erected in the beginning of May 1827. Three steps up is an admirable pyramid with an open door which leads to the presumed burial chamber. In front of the open door there are figures of women which portray the Weeping Sculpture, the Painting and the Architecture, followed by three genii with lit torches (art will never die!). On the left, at the base of the pyramid, the genius of Canova with his unlit torch and the desperate Lion (Venice). Above the door there are two angels who bear the effigy of the sculptor surrounded by a snake, symbol of immortality.

Monument dedicated to the Doge Giovanni Pesaro

This colossal Baroque monument dedicated to Giovanni Pesaro, who was Doge between 1658 and 1659, was erected in 1669 based on the design of Baldassarre Longhena (1598-1682). Above the ornate red and black marble pedestals with sculptured lion heads connected by swags, there are four gigantic Moors, with naked arms and feet and torn clothes, bearing the entablature, adorned with metopes and triglyphs, on their shoulders. In their midst, as if they were in niches, there are two black skeletons which hold a long inscription etched in gold letters on white marble. Above the entablature, four black marble columns support a grandiose red marble canopy which replicates a drape with brocade strips. On the throne held by monsters the Doge addresses the crowd, radiant and full of life, seated between the allegories of Religion, Valour, Concord and Justice. At his feet, above the architrave from left to right, a genius is drawing his bow, two women are offering crowns while another is reading a book. On the second entablature up on high six charming putti bear the architrave. In the middle, two children display the coat of arms of the Pesaro family. The characteristic inscription reads: «Vixit Annos LXX (he lived for 70 years) – Devixit Anno MDCLIX (he died in the year 1659) – Hic revixit Anno MDCLXIX (here, he comes to life again in the year 1669)».