The Choir

In the centre of the the church the observer finds himself before the beauty and magnificence of the choir. Unlike many other churches, the choir of the Frari remains in its original position. It was built in the same period as that of the one erected by the Canozi in the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua (1462-1469). It was completed in 1468 by Francesco and Marco Cozzi of Vicenza, as specified in the Gothic inscription on the outside of the last stall towards the sacristy end (see photo 166 on pg. 107). The perfect distribution of the sections, the elegant dimensions of the stalls and the layout of the spires render this choir worthy of closer examination. The observer must have been astounded by the effect of the magnificent decorations when the guilding was new and gleamed gloriously in the foliaged friezes, in the arches and folds of the twin order shell-shaped niches with blue stripes. There are 124 stalls, 50 of which are in the upper row, 40 in the middle row and 34 in the lower. It is 4.50 metres tall, 13.70 metres wide and 16 metres long. The 50 upper stalls are decorated with double order of panels. The upper panels, with intricate frames, portray the figures of Saints carved in typical Gothic style tinged with German influence. The lower panels are inlaid with buildings, calli, campi and wells in perspective and foreshortened. The rest of the choir is bursting with an array of geometric shapes, each of which is carefully carved down to the last detail. Among the carvings there are some fine examples which look like portraits of persons who have posed for the artist.