CABIANCA, Francesco
(b. 1665, Venezia, d. 1737, Venezia)

Altar of the Relics

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

The shrine of this rich Baroque altar in the sacristy contains one of the most famous relics of Venice, the Precious Blood of Christ. In a crystal vase is a small quantity of balm which according to tradition Mary Magdalen took from the body of Christ, and in which were mixed drops of his blood. This relic, greatly venerated at St Catherine's in Constantinople, came in 1479 into the possession of Melchiorre Trevisan, Commander of the fleet, who presented it to the Frari upon his return from the East.

The three bas-reliefs are of Carrara marble and by the Venetian Francesco Penso, known as Cabianca. They represent the Crucifixion, the Deposition and the Pietà. The golden angels and wood partitions are the work of the Bellunese woodcarver Andrea Brustolon.

The entire work was commissioned by Father Antonio Pittoni of the friary.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.