The church of San Giobbe owes its foundation to the charitable will of the priest Giovanni Contarini, who in 1378 built a home for poor folk beside an oratory dedicated to Saint Giobbe the Prophet.
A few years after Contarini’s death, the oratory was entrusted to the Friars Minor who began the construction of a new building in Gothic style, and of a convent. During the XV century, the church, which became famous for the preaching of Fra Bernardino from Siena, was partly rebuilt in Renaissance style by the will of, and by funds offered by, the Doge and humanist Cristoforo Moro.
Reconsecrated in 1493 the church assumed a dual dedication to Saints Giobbe and Bernardino.
The transformation of the church was mostly in merit of the architect Pietro Lombardo (1435-1515), and represents one of the very first examples of Renaissance architecture in Venice, with clear Tuscan influences that find their maximum expression in the Martini Chapel. Here the ceiling represents “The Eternal Father surrounded by Four Evangelists” made in majolica attributed to Luca from Robbia (1400-1482).
During the XV century, the church was progressively enriched by masterpieces from some of the greatest Venetian painters of that epoch: throughout these, some are still conserved here (Bonifacio de ‘Pitati, Savoldo, Vivarini, Previtali), while others, of immense value, are currently exposed at the Gallery of the Accademia (Bellini, Carpaccio, Basaiti).
On the right side of the church there is the opening of the Contarini chapel which corresponds to the fourteenth-century oratory dedicated to Saint Giobbe, first nucleus of the church. On the altar, the altarpiece is illustrated with the “Nativity of Christ” by Girolamo Savoldo (1480-1548).
Consecutively, there is the sacristy, a wide space from 1500 with original cabinets and a panelled ceiling on which “Prophets and Saints in the Old Testament” is painted; on the altar the splendid triptych by Antonio Vivarini (1420-1484) representing the “Annunciation throughout Saint Antonio from Padova and Michele Arcangelo”.
Reentering the church it’s hard not to admire the finely decorated area of the presbytery, work of Pietro Lombardo that furthermore realized the vast triumphal arch with sculptures of the “Annunciation”, the archway with sculptures of “Gabriele the Archangel and the Prophets”, and the cupola with the “Four Evangelists”.
Moreover, on the flooring the grave of Doge Cristoforo Moro is visible, merit to the remaking of the church in the fifteenth-century and the dedication to Saint Bernardino.
(Aldo Bova “Venezia i luoghi della musica”)
The eighteenth-century organ has one keyboard and 19 stop knobs (probably a Callido).
Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10.30 to 13.00
(ticket offices, bookshop closing and last admissions ten minutes before closing)
first holiday (Saturdays and eves) 18.00
holidays (Sundays and holidays) 10.00
weekdays 17.30 (solar time) / 18.00 (summer time)