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

Santa Maria Derelitti: Façade (detail)

Ospedaletto, Venice

The ponderous, dark, and monstrous façade is indecipherable in its appearance of grotesque deformity and distorted games, tightly closed in, yet evading the observer, as obsessive as a nightmare. The derision of the monstrous masks on the dadoes of the pilasters of the first order, the absurd strength of the four gigantic telamons, the ironically exaggerated cornices, the invisible cartouche on the attic, and the four poised statues are more hinted at than truly seen.