I didn’t take this photograph. I’m using it because it there was no way for me to come close to capturing the texture and detail of the massive painting behind the Doge’s throne in the Chamber of the Great Council. It’s titled Paradiso, and it was painted by Jacopo Tintoretto and the members of his workshop.
Click the image to enbiggen.
I first saw a picture of Paradiso in Venice: Art and Architecture, a two-volume, slip-cased entry in the superb series of art books that the Konemann publishing house released around the turn of the century. The picture took up two full pages of the oversized book.
I was thoroughly enraptured. Venice had always been near the top of my list of cities I dreamed of visiting, and that picture cinched the deal.
And now I was here.
Paradiso is the world’s longest painting on canvas, and the Chamber of the Great Council itself is one of the largest rooms in Europe. It was here that the Great Council of Venice, made up of all patrician males over 25, regularly met to determine the fate of Venice.
I spent more than an hour in this room, moving from place to place, trying to absorb as much of the emotional atmosphere of the room as I could.
Like Schloss Neuschwanstein, like Sainte-Chapelle, like Château de Chenonceau.
A peak experience.