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The Altar of St Jerome in the Church of St Simeon at Zadar and the Bettamelli Workshop

Bojan Goja ; Ministarstvo kulture - Uprava za zaštitu kulturne baštine, Konzervatorski ured u Zadru

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str. 203-216

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Based on the book, the full title of which is Registro delle Administrationi de Signori Governatori di San Gerolimo della Nation Oltramarinna in Dalmatia et Albania, this paper discusses the altar of St Jerome in the church of St Simeon at Zadar. It is already known that the altar was commissioned and maintained by the confraternity of Croatian and Albanian soldiers (Croatti a cavallo and Soldati Albanesi) founded in 1675 at Zadar, who were in the service of the Venetian Republic. New archival
research has established that on 26 September 1694 the confraternity authorized the expense of 200 silver ducats intended for two Venetian carvers, the Bettamelli brothers, as a down payment for the making of the altar. The work on the altar began in April 1696 and several local master craftsmen took part in it: Zanotti, Rodo and Radičić, as
well as smith Rosini. Since the Bettameli brothers, the makers of the altar of St Jerome, are not mentioned in the records by their first names, it should be noted that an altar-maker of the name of Alberto Bettamelli from Venice was responsible for the construction of the high altar and its tabernacle in the cathedral of St Maurus at Maniago
(Friuli), as we learn from a contract made in 1693. Alberto
Bettamelli also made the tabernacle in the parish church at Marsure (Aviano, Friuli). Bortolo Betamelli (Bettamelli), a tagliapietra, is mentioned between 1646 and 1682 in the ledgers containing contracts of apprenticeship to various sculptors, stone-cutters and carvers kept by the Giustizia Vecchia, a magistracy which supervised the activities of Venetian guilds. Two tabernacles have been attributed to the Bettamelli workshop: one on the high altar of the parish church at Maniago Libero (Maniago, Friuli) of 1694, and one in the parish church at Provesano (Friuli).
Based on the records about the construction of the altar of St Jerome, it can be suggested that the coat of arms (composed of a cartouche with a shield emblazoned with a left-facing rampant lion and the initials C.C.S.F. above) depicted on the east pillar of the altar base, previously linked to the members of the Civran family, refers to Šimun Fanfogna (Zadar, 7 April 1663 - Lendinara, 6 March 1707), a Zadar nobleman and distinguished commander in the Venetian army who was the caretaker of the altar.
The altar of St Jerome together with the surrounding area inside the church aisle - also called the chapel of St Jerome - represented an isolated unit delineated by a balustraded rail which could be used separately from the rest of the church, on certain occasions and festivities, by the members of the confraternity as well as the representatives of local and regional Venetian government at Zadar, and ecclesiastical and other dignitaries. Numerous works on the decoration of the altar and chapel of St Jerome were carried out throughout the whole of the eighteenth century and large numbers of local craftsmen skilled in different arts were engaged in them. Over a number of years, the Registro mentions the builders Antonio Piovesana (1742) and Antonio Bernardini (1789), the altar-maker Girolamo Picco (1756), the marangon Domenico Tomaselli (1743),
blacksmith Antonelli (1744) and the goldsmiths Zorzi Cullisich (1738), Nicolò Giurovich (1752) and Giuseppe (Josip) Rado (1755). A number of other interesting pieces of information concerning the decoration of the altar and the activity of the confraternity of St Jerome is also presented.

Ključne riječi

Zadar, church of St Simeon, altar of St Jerome, the Bettamelli workshop, seventeenth century

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