This article reconsiders the role of Palladio's friend and patron the Venetian Senator Marc'Antonio Barbaro in the design of the church of the Redentore in Venice, commissioned after the great plague of 1575-76. It examines the circumstances surrounding Barbaro's unsuccessful support of the centrally planned design in light of his recent return from a five-year period as consul in Constantinople. The religious and political issues informing the debate are investigated in detail, in order to amplify the motives behind the final choice of plan. The architectural dialogue between Venice and Milan, two cities seeking to build votive churches after the plague, forms one axis of the debate, but Venice characteristically looked east as well as west. The article suggests that Palladio's subtle range of allusions may have included not only the lessons of antiquity and issues of church reform, but also ideas drawn from the recent work of the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Significantly, Barbaro's dispatches from Constantinople had transmitted enthusiastic descriptions of new Ottoman buildings to the heart of the Venetian Senate.

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