(b. ca. 1441, Bergamo, d. 1504, Venezia)

San Michele in Isola: Façade

Isola di San Michele, Venice

Patrons seized upon Early Christian as well as Byzantine models for much religious architecture in this period, as is evident at the monastery church of San Michele in Isola. It was rebuilt beginning in 1469 by Mauro Codussi, who came to Venice from the subject city of Bergamo and became an outstanding proponent of a new classical style. The façade's classically inspired pilasters and arched upper story, masking the side aisles and top of the nave, suggest Codussi's acquaintance with Leon Battista Alberti's designs for the Rimini Temple, but the general scheme may just as credibly derive from the traditional shape of Venetian parish church façades, many of which culminated in arches over the nave and side aisles. The upper story is ingeniously modeled: the pilasters that frame the central portion of the façade wrap around the corners to suggest piers, seemingly grasped by the moldings of the flanking arches; the arches themselves are embellished with fluting.