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

Monument to Doge Giovanni Pesaro

Marble and bronze
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

Giovanni Pesaro (1589-1659) was the 103rd Doge of Venice, reigning from his election in 1658 until his death. His monument was commissioned from Baldassare Longhena by the nephew Leonardo Pesaro. The sculptural decoration was carried out by Melchior Barthel and Josse De Corte, with Francesco Cavrioli, and Michele Fabris, known as Ongaro (the Hungarian). De Corte and Barthel, through their stylistic similarities, represent the new Baroque style. Cavrioli, called on to work on the two bronze skeletons supporting the two scrolls, was presumably chosen in view of his specialization in this field. Michele Fabris was given the task of carving the two dragons, symbols of eternity, which were evidently held to be appropriate to the sculptor's taste and Northern background. De Corte was responsible for the little angels holding up the Pesaro coat of arms, the statue of Giovanni Pesaro, and the four allegories of Intelligence, Nobility, Wealth, and Study, which allude to the exploits and merits of the doge. The figure of the doge and the four allegories are on a grand scale, similar to that of the four Moors. The pairs of figures representing Religion with Constancy and Truth with Justice were executed by Melchior Barthel.

The Pesaro monument and its decoration takes on particular importance in the field of funerary sculpture in Venice at this time as a work that reflects common ideas of the Baroque aesthetic.

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