On July 7th, 1700, Doge Silvestro Valier (r. 1694-1700) died of a stroke after a ferocious argument with his wife Elisabetta Querini. A few years later the ex-dogaressa commissioned a towering floor-to-ceiling funerary monument for her husband, his father Doge Bertucci Valier (r. 1656-58), and herself.
The Valier monument (c. 1703-08), in the cavernous Dominican church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, was the last, and perhaps the most sumptuous, of the great dogal tombs. This bombastic piece of Baroque theatre was designed by the architect Andrea Tirali (1657-1737), with the help of, amongst others, the sculptors Antonio Tarsia (1662-1739), Giovanni Bonazza (1654-1736) and Pietro Baratta (1659-1729).
When Silvestro Valier was interred in San Zanipolo (the Venetian name for the church), he became the twenty-fifth doge to find his final resting place there. The burial of such a high number of Venetian heads of state within its walls has earned the church the title, 'the Pantheon of Doges'.
San Zanipolo also boasts the earliest extant dogal tomb, that of Doge Jacopo Tiepolo (r. 1229-49) and his son Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo (r. 1268-75). The tomb can be found outside the entrance to the church.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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