Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Jun 23 2013

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Category: Europe, Italy

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DSC00634 dei Frari - Copy blogsize

Popular belief or the folklore of faith is, in general, what religion means to the common man. It is its most widespread manifestation, not only in Catholicism, but in other religions as well.

There’s a lot of suffering in the world and people are often subjected to great stress, either self imposed, or by their family, school, work, society. Believers usually address themselves to gods and saints requesting relief from suffering, cure of a disease, fulfillment of dearest wishes, like happiness in love or the wish to become pregnant or not to become pregnant, finding again a lost object or passing an exam, and so on. These requests are often accompanied by offerings, penances, written petitions, promises that will be kept in case the request is fulfilled, and, like here at the feet of the statue of Mary, portraits of the petitioners. I find this religious folklore always amusing. It can be pathetic, but often it is actually quite touching.

During a visit to Venice I never miss the opportunity to drop in at the churches that contain great works of art. When going to the Frari for example, I’m eagerly looking forward to again standing face to face with the beautiful altar triptych by Giovanni Bellini, my favourite Venetian Renaissance painter. The church has also two paintings – and the grave – of Bellini’s pupil Titian. And then I like to pause for a while at the simple gravestone of Monteverdi whose music is very dear to me.

DSC00630 dei Frari - Copy blogsize

The popular folklore around the Virgin Mary we get thrown in for free. And sometimes a nice bonus as well, like in the photo below. The girl stands in front of the funeral monument of Canova, the sculptor ‘who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately rendered nude flesh’. His heart is kept inside it.

DSC00629 Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari, Canova monument - Copy blogsize

Photos of the week: Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, Italy, 2011

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