San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th-century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio, and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.
The façade is brilliantly white and represents Palladio’s solution to the difficulty of adapting a classical temple facade to the form of the Christian church, with its high nave and low side aisles, which had always been a problem. Palladio’s solution superimposed two facades, one with a wide pediment and architrave, extending over the nave and both the aisles, apparently supported by a single order of pilasters, and the other with a narrower pediment (the width of the nave) superimposed on top of it with a giant order of engaged columns on high pedestals. This solution is similar to Palladio’s slightly earlier facade for San Francesco della Vigna, where the other parts of the church had been designed by Sansovino. On either side of the central portal are statues of Saint George and of Saint Stephen, to whom the church is also dedicated.
The interior of the church is very bright with massive engaged columns and pilasters on undecorated, white-surfaced walls. The interior combines a long basilican nave with a cruciform plan with transepts.
Two very large paintings by Tintoretto relate to the institution of the eucharist and are placed on either side of the presbytery where they can be seen from the altar rail. These are The Last Supper and The Fall of Manna (which was considered as a gift of God foretelling the gift of the eucharist).
Patriarchate of Venice