LONGHENA, Baldassare
(b. 1598, Venezia, d. 1682, Venezia)

Biography

Italian architect, active mainly in his native Venice. He was a pupil of Vincenzo Scamozzi and completed Scamozzi's Procuratie Nuove in the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Among his churches are the cathedral at Chioggia (1624-47), Santa Maria degli Scalzi, Venice, with the façade by Giuseppe Sardi, and the façade of the Chiesa dell'Ospedaletto, near SS. Giovanni e Paolo. His two famous palaces, both on the Grand Canal, are the Ca' Pesaro and the Ca' Rezzonico (1660s-1750s; top floor by Giorgio Massari). Longhena's staircase in the Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, where two parallel flights of stairs join a common landing, became a fundamental design elaborated in the rest of Italy and Europe.

His best-known work is the elegantly decorated Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute begun in 1631 to thank the Virgin for the city's deliverance from the plague. This two domed church on the peninsula between the Canal Grande and the Zattere is one of the city's best-known landmarks. The main entrance, modeled on the Roman triumphal arch, was later copied in successive churches and cathedrals, in Venice and elsewhere.