When I stand outside the church of San Stae and look across the Grand Canal at the Palazzo Barbarigo, I try to imagine what it must once have looked like when its façade was painted with brightly coloured frescoes.
The Palazzo Barbarigo is a rare example of a Venetian palazzo to have retained fragments of its frescoed façade. However, in the Renaissance, there were dozens of such palaces in the city. The frescoes were often painted by artists such as Titian, Giorgione and Tintoretto, names we do not often associate with such a practise.
This makes the fragments of fresco that have survived on the Palazzo Barbarigo, the work of the little known artist Camillo Bellini, all the more precious.