PALMA GIOVANE
(b. 1548, Venezia, d. 1628, Venezia)

Pasquale Cicogna Hearing Mass Celebrated in the Oratory of the Crociferi

1568-87
Oil on canvas, 369 x 262 cm
Oratory, Ospedaletto dei Crociferi, Venice

Palma Giovane's masterpiece is the decoration of the oratory at the Ospedaletto dei Crociferi, especially the singular triptych (1586-87) with its on-the-spot report of the prelude to and beginning of the dogeship of Pasquale Cicogna. Astonishingly, the events related (1. Pasquale Cicogna Hearing Mass Celebrated in the Oratory of the Crociferi by Father Priamo Balbi, 2. Pasquale Cicogna in the Church of the Crociferi Receives News of His Election to the Dogeship, 3. Pasquale Cicogna in Dogal Robes Visiting the Church and Hospital of the Crociferi) are mirrored in the spaces where the teleri were intended to hang. It was in the oratory that Pasquale Cicogna heard mass, it was in the oratory that he received the news of his election, and it was the oratory he finally visited resplendent in his dogal robes. The very clear message as always mingles secular and religious ideologies. The Republic summons to rule her men who have distinguished themselves in their devotion and commitment to welfare.

In this scene, apart from the carpet of honour, equal moral stature is given to the pious Venetian patrician and the modest residents of the charitable institution. The faces are portrayed with care, and the religious accessories and vases of flowers are also scrupulously observed.