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San Giobbe

IMG_1151One of the first Renaissance buildings in Venice, this pretty pink church is dedicated to San Giobbe (St. Job) who technically was never a Christian at all since he’s an Old Testament character. But Job’s famous trials (and the fact that he was restored to prosperity and good health) made him one of the “plague saints” who was revered during the many epidemics that swept into Venice over the centuries.

The lunette over the door shows St. Francis of Assisi and Job, and was carved by Pietro Lombardo who designed much of the church and, along with his sons and workshop, also decorated several chapels inside including the triumphal arch and a sculptural scene of the Annunciation that surround the high altar.

San Giobbe relief


The church we see today was consecrated in 1493 and replaced a small oratory connected to an old folks’ hospice. The Renaissance expansion included a Franciscan monastery that’s now destroyed although the cloisters are still there, and a campanile that today towers over a basketball court.

At one time, the altars on the right side of this church contained three genuine masterpieces which were stolen by the French after the Venetian Republic fell to Napoleon. The good news is that these paintings are not in the Louvre, they are still in Venice but now in the Accademia:

Christ in the Garden with Saints by Marco Basaiti
Virgin Enthroned with Saints and Musician Angels by Giovanni Bellini
Presentation in the Temple by Vittore Carpaccio

It must have been quite a sight to see these paintings lined up next to each other. I asked the Chorus Pass lady if there was any chance they might be returned to the church and she said there’s no movement afoot to try to get them back – they’ve been gone for two hundred years and that’s just the way it is. But she made me laugh when she looked with disdain at the rather uninspiring paintings that have replaced them.

There’s still some good art in this church, not quite as blockbuster a line-up, but worth seeing. The paintings I like are all in the Sacristy:

Annunciation Triptych by Antonio Vivarini
The Nativity by Girolamo Savoldo
Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine by Andrea Previtali (photo below)


The other thing worth seeing is the Martini Chapel, the second chapel on the left. Paid for by a wealthy silk merchant family from Lucca, this chapel is a rare example of Tuscan art in Venice, and its domed vault is covered with glazed terracotta roundels by the Florentine Della Robbia family that show the Redeemer and angels in the center surrounded by the four evangelists. It’s lovely.


To Visit This Church

A Chorus Pass church, so it’s open Monday - Saturday from 10-5.

Mass Times (today San Giobbe is a parish church) are listed on the Patriarch of Venice website.

A view of the San Giobbe campanile from across the canal:

San Giobbe campanile

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Comments (17)

I like this painting too, Annie. Next time I am in the Academia, I'll pay attention to the three paintings from St Giobbe's church.
Great post!


The vault in the Martini chapel is really beautiful, Annie. It must be something to see in person.

Your Venice posts are putting crazy ideas in my mind....like a day trip to Venice from Ferrara or Bologna. NOT slow travel -- but you've opened my eyes to so many beautiful sites that I've missed on previous Venice visits and now really want to see!

How did I ever miss this lovely church while staying in Cannaregio. It is beautiful. I had to laugh at the woman's reaction to your question about the paintings. She must have been impressed that you were so knowledgeble. The vault ceiling is beautiful. I love the lunette over the door. Now that I am looking at this church again, I think I might remember seeing it. I know I did not go inside though. Thanks for posting info about this church.

Candi, the paintings in the Accademia are so awesome! I especially love the Carpaccio altarpiece.

Sandra, I say go for it! It might be nice to get away from the world of cars for a day. :)

Girasoli, this church is very much off-the-beaten path. I was glad when the Chorus Pass added it a few years ago.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, wonderful post and great photos! It's so interesting to read about the history of the churches in Venice and also their art and architecture. I also love the domed vault and the painting. And I enjoyed the cute story about your conversation with the lady in the church. :)

Sandra, from Ferrara, it's not that far from Venice! :)

Thanks for this great post Annie!

Kathy, thanks! I love talking to the Chorus Pass staff and wish every church had people like them on site. The terracotta vault is so beautiful - the colors are more vivid than in the photo above.


Annie and Kathy -- thanks for the advice! You're right, it isn't that far from Ferrara. I was thinking I would visit Padova from Ferrara, but I can almost easily do that Padova day trip from Bologna (where I'll be staying for 7 days.)

Annie, I love the idea of taking a break from the world of cars! I could make this an off-the-beaten-path day in Venice!

I visited this church last October and remember seeing the lovely domed vault with its lively colors, and the Previtali painting which is beautiful. I didn't have time to visit the Accademia, it was either that or La Salute but I'm hopeful to make it there next time.

Sandra, planning an off-the-beaten-path trip to Venice sounds like LOTS of fun!

Maria, I'm glad you visited San Giobbe. And yes, put the Accademia on your list more than once. There's too much to take in on one visit. :)

Annie, I am pretty sure I "saw" these paintings at the Academia, because I did take the tour, but my mind and heart were mesmerized by David, so I can't remember anything else, and because we were not allowed to take photos, I really do not remember anything else. I should go back, and maybe seeing David again would not be so mesmerizing. You think?

By the way, check this out http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/candi/2009/03/fabulous_blog_award.html
I've given your blog a fabulous blog award!

Wonderful post! Sounds like a really pretty church. I had never heard of "St. Job", that is interesting. Gorgeous paintings, too. ChorusPass should hire you to do their guide!!

Candi, thanks so much! That is so sweet of you! And I need to edit my post above to make it more clear...the paintings are in the Accademia in Venice, not in Florence. Sorry for the confusion! And I think that David would be mesmerizing the second, third, or hundredth time. I didn't look at anything else in that museum either. :)

Chiocciola, it's been a long time since I heard the Job stories in Sunday school but he went thru a lot, like getting swallowed by a whale and getting boils and many other trials that I can't remember. But it all worked out for him in the end. :)

Oh, sorry Annie, now that you mention it, I am not sure why my brain wandered to Florence.

Oh, I knew about Job but I didn't realize that it was common to take an Old Testament figure and "make him a saint", if you see what I mean. (But wasn't it Jonah that was swallowed by a whale? :)

LOL I think you're right about Jonah. It's been a loooong time since I went to Sunday School and my Bible stories are mixed up!

There is something like church, or oratorio, or chapel etc near S. Giobbe. It is quite big hall with old organ. Today it's used as a fitness club.

Near S. Gerolamo there is another church, visible from Ghetto side, but without any access from the civil ways. It's visible also with the Google maps. The church seems be from 1930s or 1950s. I couldn't find its name or function anywhere.

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