VITTORIA, Alessandro
(b. 1525, Trento, d. 1608, Venezia)

Altar of the Luganegheri

c. 1600
San Salvador, Venice

Although the altar Vittoria designed for the Scuola dei Luganegheri (the guild of sausage-makers) in San Salvador is usually dated to 1600, it more likely dates from c. 1590. In the composition and placing of the marble statues of St Sebastian and St Roch, Vittoria continued the affective relationship between architecture and sculpture begun at the altar of the Merciai in San Giuliano. The figure of St Sebastian, writhing in pain against the column behind him, is one of the most moving in all Venetian sculpture.

The principle of opposition between the architecture and sculpture, established by Cattaneo in Verona and Vittoria in Venice, culminates in two great works. One is Vittoria's Altar of the Luganegheri in San Salvador, which is flanked by columns, two in a front and two in a rear plane. The only figure sculptures are two statues of St Sebastian and St Roch, which are set against the outer columns and posed in so free and overtly emotional a fashion that for the first time we are justified in speaking of the liberation of the sculpture from architectural restrain.

The second work is the high altar of San Giorgio Maggiore executed by Girolamo Campagna between 1591 and 1593 from a design by the painter Vassilacchi.