Funeral Monument of Queen Caterina Cornaro

Venice (S. Marco); S. Salvatore, right transept

Soon after her death in 1510, the family of Caterina Cornaro (B-31), Queen of Cyprus, made elaborate plans for the funeral monument of the only Venetian to serve as a ruling monarch, an anomolous distinction in a republic such as Venice.

Giovanni Maria Falconetto, the distinguished pioneer of Renaissance style in the Veneto, was commissioned to design the monument for installation in the south transept of the Church of S. Salvatore; expensive marble was ordered for its execution. For reasons not entirely clear, however, the original plan was aborted, Falconetto's design (if ever actually completed) was discarded, and the project remained dormant for years.

At last Bernardino Contino was selected to execute, 1580-84, a new design, apparently more modest than the one originally conceived. The result is a design highlighted by a low relief Donation of Cyprus, depicting the moment in 1590 when Queen Caterina transferred the Kingdom of Cyprus to Venice by ceremonially handing her crown to the Doge. Upon completion of the monument the Queen's body was removed to S. Salvatore after 70 years in the Cornaro Chapel at the Church of SS. Apostoli. Her grave marker lies in the floor of the Church at the foot of the monument.

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