Chiesa di San Zaccaria

sights / Religious

Chiesa di San Zaccaria information

Venice , Italy
Campo San Zaccaria 4693
Getting there
Ferry: San Zaccaria
Opening hours
10am-noon & 4-6pm Mon-Sat, 4-6pm Sun
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When 15th-century Venetian girls showed more interest in sailors than saints, they were sent to the convent adjoining San Zaccaria. The wealth showered on the church by their grateful parents is evident. Masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto and Van Dyck crowd the walls. Bellini's altarpiece is such a treasure that Napoleon whisked it away to Paris for 20 years when he plundered the city in 1797.

To your right as you enter, the Cappella di San Atanasio (admission €1) holds Tintoretto’s Birth of St John the Baptist , while Tiepolo depicts the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt in a typically Venetian boat. Both hang above magnificently crafted choir stalls. Behind this chapel you'll find the Gothic Cappella di San Tarasio (also called Cappella d'Oro or the Golden Chapel), with impressive Renaissance-style frescoes by Andrea del Castagno and Francesco da Faenza from the 1440s.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Giovanni Bellini’s Virgin Enthroned with Jesus, an Angel Musician and Saints (1505), which glows like it's plugged into an outlet. Bellini was in his 70s when he painted it and had already been confronted by the first achievements of Giorgione (1477–1510), with his softer sfumato (‘smokey’) technique. Bellini’s assimilation of the technique is clear in the shafts of sunlight that strike the saintly arrangement infusing it with a sense of devout spirituality.