You have to hand it to the people who write Wikipedia.  Their entry for Sant’Aponal, a now unused church in the San Polo sestiere of Venice concludes with the sentence:

The facade retains bits of gothic decoration.

The word retains, doesn’t even begin to describe the history of this facade on a church that dates back to 1407.  Having also been a mill, a detention centre and a night refuge, the building has seen some changes and close attention to the brickwork will show the different shaped windows and decorative features that have been added and removed over the years.  The doorway for example was taken out in 1929 and returned to the church in the Castello district that it had originally adorned; Sant’Elena.  Why do you swap doorways between churches I wonder?

Above the doorway is a small collection of reliefs, also set into the brickwork that are believed to have been installed when the door was taken out and are thought to have been part of a now destroyed altar within the building.  Above them is a small rose window and above that is a large and beautifully detailed relief of the crucifixion, also installed when the door was removed.  This has been dated as being late 14th Century, so predating the church completely.  Where had that been for the intervening centuries I wonder?

Bits of gothic decoration indeed!



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