St Maria de Miracolli - Venice
Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a church in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice, Italy. Also known as the "marble church", it is one of the best examples of the early Venetian Renaissance including colored marble, a false colonnade on the exterior walls (pilasters), and a semicircular pediment. The organisation "Save Venice" restored the church over a period of ten years, from 1987 to 1997 (they had estimated as period of two years). The marble cladding contained 14 percent of salts, and was on the point of bursting. All marble cladding was removed, and cleaned in stainless steel tanks, in a solution of distilled water. The restoration was calculated to cost 1 million dollars, the final cost was 4 million dollars. The main altar is reached by a series of steps. The circular facade windows recall Donato Bramante's churches in Milan. Built between 1481 and 1489 by Pietro Lombardo to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. The plans for the church were expanded in 1484 to include the construction of a new convent for nuns of St. Clare to the east. The convent was connected to the gallery of the church by an enclosed walkway that was later destroyed. The interior is enclosed by a wide barrel vault, with a single nave. The nave is dominated by an ornamental marble stair rising between two pulpits, with statues by Tullio Lombardo, Alessandro Vittoria and Niccolò di Pietro. The vaulted ceiling is divided into fifty coffers decorated with paintings of prophets, a work by Girolamo Pennacchi's contemporaries, Vincenzo dalle Destre and Lattanzio da Rimini.