The San Sebastiano Church is located in the sestiere Dorsoduro in Venice. Although its façade is fairly austere, the interior is among the most lavishly decorated in the city, thanks the paintings Paolo Veronese produced in different phases of his career. Veronese is also buried inside the church.
San Sebastiano Church Venice
Address, opening hours and admission
Address : Dorsoduro 701 – Venice (tel. +39 041 2750462). Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed: Sunday, January 1, Easter, August 15, Christmas. Entrance fee: 3 Euro (discount: 1,50 Euro). Chorus Pass is valid. Public transportation: Line 2, N (Accademia DX stop); Line 1, N (Accademia SX stop); Line 1 (Ca’ Rezzonico stop).
History and description
The Chiesa di San Sebastiano is part of the Hieronymite Monastery. The church was completely rebuilt by Scarpagnino between 1505 and 1548. In the process, the orientation was also changed. The church was originally built in the 15th century.
Although its façade is rather sober, the of the church interior is among the most beautiful ones in Venice. Veronese‘s masterpieces were commissioned by the abbot Bernardo Torlioni.
The interior consists of a single nave preceded by an atrium. The presbytery is characterized by an apse and a dome.
The theme of Veronese‘s cycle of paintings, the triumph of faith over heresy, was assigned to him by the abbot.
The first phase started in 1555, with the paintings on the ceiling of the sacristy, depicting events from the Old Testament. This was followed by the coffered ceiling of the church itself. The paintings here are based on the Book of Esther, which tells the story of the prevention of the extermination of the Jews in the Persian Empire in the 4th century B.C. Veronese continued working on this section until 1556.
In the second period (1158-1559) he painted the upper part of the walls of the nave with portraits of Church Fathers, Prophets, Sybils and Biblical characters. He painted the friar’s choir with “Events from the life of St. Sebastian” and the organ and parapet with the “Nativity,” “Bethesda” and the “Introduction of Jesus at the Temple.”
Veronese was also responsible for the altarpiece “Madonna in Glory with Saint Sebastian and other Saints,” as well as the two canvases on the side wall of the presbytery. These depict “Saint Mark and Saint Marcellin being led to the place of martyrdom” and the “Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.”
Veronese is buried along the left wall of the presbytery.
Veronese was not the only famous master contributing to the decorations of the church. Other works of art were made by Titian (“Saint Nicholas,” 1563), Bonifacio de’ Pitati, Paris Bordone, Jacopo Sansovino, Jacopo Palma il Giovane and Alessandro Vittoria.