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Moving Maria’s house from Nazareth to Loreto - Giovanni Balista Tiepolo. 126 x 86
“Moving Maria’s House from Nazareth to Loreto” by Giovanni Balista Tiepolo is one of two mural designs for the Venetian church of Santa Maria of Nazareth. The second is kept at the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The fresco itself was destroyed in 1915 during the shelling of the temple by the Austrians.
The complexity of the work was that the artist needed to fit the drawing into a narrow oval space between the murals of the Mangozza Colonna, the famous quadurist (quadurists are artists who performed illusory architectural compositions on a plane using pictorial means). Creating the effect of vertical depth of celestial space, Tiepolo divides the image into registers, emphasizing the density of characters in the bottom and maximizing, visually lightening, the upper plan with barely outlined refined graphics. According to legend, Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, erected a church over Mary’s house in Nazareth, where Gabriel appeared with a divine message to the young Virgin. At the end of the 13th century, when the Turkish threat arose, the three walls of the building were transferred to the town of Loreto in the papal possessions by members of the Angels family that controlled Epirus, under whose protectorate Nazareth was located. The legend “adapted” the name of the rulers and reports that the angels moved the house and lowered it into the laurel grove of a town in the north of the Adriatic.