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Photographer's Note

Abbey of San Giovanni in VenerernrnThe abbey complex of San Giovanni in Venere is located a short distance from the town of Fossacesia, on a promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Tradition traces its original nucleus back to the sixth century, when, above a pagan temple dedicated to Venus Conciliatrice, a small oratory dedicated to St. John the Baptist was erected (considered by some to be a foundation of St. Benedict). In 847 the building suffered the consequences of a violent earthquake and, in 1015, Trasmondo, Count of Chieti, promoted a radical reconstruction of the church and the construction of a monastery, which included two cloisters, a school and a library. ; in the complex thus defined, as if to perpetuate an ancient tradition linked to the monk of Norcia, the Benedictines settled. Little remains of this architectural phase; However, the construction of the crypt, the leveling of the ground in front of the façade to achieve the natural steepness of the hill, and the general layout of the church are to be connected to it. The latter in fact retains the imprint of the main Benedictine foundations of the eleventh century. already experimented in the Cassinese area, that is the simple basilical plan, ending in three apses with a semicircular plan and punctuated by pillars placed in support of mighty arches. The salient moment for the history of the Abruzzo monastic complex is however to be recognized in the year 1165, in the person of the abbot Oderisio II and, probably, in the work of Burgundian workers; the ambitious abbot practically had the church rebuilt (while retaining its layout), in order to recreate in it the solemnity of the great Benedictine cathedrals that were already numerous in many countries beyond the Alps. S. Giovanni in Venere thus constituted one of the first examples in Abruzzo of the Cistercian architectural style, which from Citeaux spread throughout Europe. The mighty internal spatiality was then lightened by vaguely pointed arches, by hanging semi-columns ending in purely Burgundian capitals, by aerial crowning cornices and by the raising of the walls; the presbytery, divided into three bays as a continuation of the naves, was raised above the level of the church by means of a long flight of steps. Below it are the evocative hypogeal environments of the crypt, which can be accessed from the side aisles. It is marked by two horizontal aisles, marked by a row of massive column shafts and connected by pointed and round arches (combined to level the ceiling). At the end of the 12th century the building was practically completed, both in the architectural and in the decorative apparatus, including the frescoes in the crypt (attributed to Luca Pollustro da Lanciano), while in the course of the following century the front elevation and the rear one. In fact, the striking essentiality of the interior is matched by an exterior characterized by a great plastic creativity, in which the decoration, marked by the recovery of the classical repertoire, emphasizes and enhances the geometric and linear value of the architectural partitions. The façade, in brown tufaceous stone, was built in the lower part at the time of Odorisio, while the crowning was completed only in 1346; it, centered by the portal opened by Abbot Rainaldo between 1225 and 1230, is animated by bas-reliefs depicting episodes from the life of the Baptist, whose extraordinary expressive effectiveness represented an important reference for the subsequent Abruzzo sculpture. The apse area also shows complex polychrome decorations of Islamic-Sicilian and Pisanistic inspiration, assembled in a magnificent curtain wall, whose originality does not exclude the great compositional balance.rnrnr

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 18997 W: 130 N: 40117] (214057)
  • Genre: Lieux
  • Medium: Couleur
  • Date Taken: 2021-08-24
  • Exposition: f/0.9, 1/416 secondes
  • Versions: version originale
  • Date Submitted: 2021-09-03 8:31
Viewed: 0
Points: 36
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 18997 W: 130 N: 40117] (214057)
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