AUTHOR: Antonio Vivarini, Giovanni d’Alemagna, Stefano da Sant’Agnese
CENTURY: 15th century
CHURCH: Church of San Zaccaria
LOCATION: Chapel of San Tarasio (on map number 15)
TECHNIQUE: Mixed media on panel
The polyptych features, in two superimposed registers, the painted and sculpted figures of twelve saints surrounding the depiction of the Virgin with Child, executed by Stefano da Sant’Agnese. The peculiarity of this polyptych lies in its exuberant architectural and decorative elements, which dominate the pictorial element. The patrons, whose identities are mentioned in an inscription on the work, were Abbess Elena Foscari and Prioress Marina Donà, to whom the two full-length wooden saints, Saint Helena on the right and Saint Marina on the left, are attributed. The two painted figures in the central register depict Saint Mark on the left and Saint Elizabeth on the right. The six half-length sculpted figures in the upper register are difficult to identify due to the lack of specific attributes. At the top of the pinnacles, the elements of an Annunciation flank four figures of prophets, among which Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Solomon can be distinguished. The retro-polyptych, a sort of reliquary cabinet, is painted in tempera with a series of saints in cusped niches; at the top, the dominant figures are the Redeemer and two adoring angels (now displayed in the chapel), while at the ends, two children symbolize the Innocents. Below the retro-polyptych, there is a reliquary chest that originally contained the body of Saint Zaccaria.