Sculpture Journal

The Goldsmiths' altar in San Giacomo di Rialto: a documentary case study of Venetian trade guild patronage

Sculpture Journal (2011), 20, (1), 7–42.

Abstract

The Goldsmiths and Jewellers constituted one of the oldest and most prominent trade guilds in Venice. In April 1601 they were accorded the rights to erect an altar to their patron saint, Anthony Abbot, in the ducal church of San Giacomo di Rialto, and between May 1601 and February 1607, they oversaw the design and production of one of the most elaborate and costly altarpieces ever to have been erected by a Venetian trade guild, employing Vincenzo Scamozzi and Girolamo Campagna, respectively Venice’s leading architect and sculptor. This article reconstructs in minute detail the commissioning history for the bronze and marble altar, critically analysing newly discovered documents in the Venetian State Archives and other primary sources. It is underpinned by a thorough examination of the project’s finances – an aspect which has been ignored by scholars. It is supported by a documentary appendix, which includes new transcriptions of the pertinent archival material.

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Author details

Jones, Emma