Author: Domenico Rossi
Church: Church of San Stae
LOCATION: Santa Croce, Campo San Stae
MATERIALS: Istria stone
The foundation of the church of San Stae (Sant’Eustachio) appears to be very ancient, even if there is no certain information before the beginning of the 12th century. The ancient church was a building with five naves, rotated 90° with respect to the current one, with the façade on the salizada S. Stae and the apse reaching as far as the Mocenigo stream. In the mid-17th century the building was in very poor condition static conditions, so much so that it was decided to tear it down to build a new one. The project was entrusted to the unknown architect Giovanni Grassi and work began in 1678. The construction of the facade was made possible by a testamentary legacy of Doge Alvise II Mocenigo who died in 1709. A competition was announced which was won by Domenico Rossi; the works were completed during 1710, thanks also to the collaboration of the most famous sculptors of the time: Torretto, Tarsi, Baratta, Cabianca, Groppelli and Corradini. The prospectus overlooks the Grand Canal with its candid mass; a single giant order of four composite semi-columns on high mirrored pedestals supports the large triangular tympanum with a richly fretworked marble rose window in the centre. At the top of the tympanum are three acroteriale statues of the Redeemer (1) in the centre, flanked by Faith (2) and Hope (3), the work of Antonio Corradini. The giant order is intersected with a minor order of Corinthian columns and pilaster strips, which support the broken tympanum of the portal; the entablature of this minor order continues along the façade, through the intercolumns to define, on the sides of the advanced central body, the two minor wings corresponding to the internal volumes of the side chapels. The broken tympanum of the portal is the most decidedly Baroque element of the entire complex, and houses a sculptural group. In the two intercolumns there are as many niches with a statue each and, above these, beyond the lower entablature, two square bas-reliefs are placed.