CAMPAGNA, Girolamo
(b. ca. 1549, Verona, d. 1625, Venezia)

High Altar

Bronze and copper gilt, hright 350 cm
San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

The high altars for the Venetian churches of Il Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore are among Girolamo Campagna's most impressive achievements. These altars represent Campagna's first known attempt at bronze statuary and include the first monumental bronze figures cast in Venice since those for the Zen Chapel in San Marco (1504-22).

Campagna was commissioned to execute the bronze high altar of San Giorgio Maggiore on 20 January 1592. He is said to have worked after a design and several sketches by the painter Antonio Vassilacchi (called Aliense). The subject is the Trinity, with the four Evangelists supporting on their shoulders a large copper globe, on which stands God the Father. The theme extends back to early Christian iconography but is uncommon for a high altar. Campagna here transformed the theme into a three-dimensional composition of compelling authority.

The altar was finished in 1593 and clearly met with approval since the abbot of San Giorgio ordered a marble altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with Angels from Campagna in August 1595.