The San Gaetano Church in Padua started its existence as a simple chapel of a convent of the Italian religious order of the Humiliati, which was suppressed in 1571. There are various works of art by mostly local artists.
San Gaetano Church Padua
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Altinate – Padua. Phone: 049 876 4688. Opening hours: 10.00 till 12.00 and 16.00 till 18.00. Closed: Sundays. Entrance fee: Free. (NB: because of the Covid crisis, opening hours may differ from what has been indicated here).
The San Gaetano Church is really dedicated to the saints Simeone, Giuda and Bartolomeo. The name it is generally known by refers to one of the founders of the Theatine Order, San Gaetano (or Saint Cajetan, in English).
Another founder of the church would later become Pope Paul IV. Before being elected he was Bishop Giovanni Pietro Carafa of what is now Chieti, but was still known as Theatinum at the time.
The church was designed by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, who was sometimes called the “father of neoclassicism”. He worked from 1581 to 1586 on its onstruction.
Both the architecture and the interior decorations obeyed the guidelines of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as evinced in the Council of Trent.
Originally the church was built as a chapel of the Theatine Convent. This building was later replaced by the Palazzo della Giustizia.
Six pillars divide the facade into five parts. The pillars support an entablature. The statues in the niches were added in the 18th century.
The floor plan is octagonal. The original late 16th century decorations were altered in the 18th century.
The vault fresco depicting “Paradise” was painted in 1730 by the Parisian artist Guido Luigi Vernansal. The chosen ones are divided into sixteen categories.
The “Madonna and Child” statue was inherited from the Illuminati Church. The artist was Andrea Briosco.
The painting “Lament of Christ” was painted towards the end of the 16th century by Dario Varotari.
The six paintings on the walls were made in the 17th century and represent various saints, with San Gaetano himself on the north wall.
The San Gaetano Chapel is decorated with two works by Pietro Damini. In the “Transfiguration” the apostles have been replaced by the founders of the church. The other painting shows “San Carlo Borromeo saving a drowning child”. Damini also painted the “Martyrdom of St. Simon” and the “Martyrdom of St. Jude Thaddeus”, on the eastern wall of the sacristy.
The “San Carlo Borromeo with Pope Clement VII” on the opposite wall was painted by Gian Battista Bissoni, in 1622.
The Cappella della Madonna della Purità is decorated with frescoes by Palma il Giovane e di Alessandro Maganza.
Vernansal painted the “Flagellation of Christ” above the altar in the chapel on the right.
Other works of art include a wooden crucifix by Agostino Tannini (18th century), another, smaller crucifix by an unknown artist (16th century), a number of portraits of the Theatine fathers (17th century), a 15th century “Pietà” by Bartolomeo Bellano, and a 17th century wooden altarpiece by Michele Fabris, depicting a “Speech in the Garden”.