GIORGIO MASSARI designed several of Venice's most prominent structures
of the 18th century. In the opinion of Deborah Howard (The Architectural
History of Venice [New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987], p. 199), Massari
was "[b]y far the most talented Venetian architect of [his] period."
"More than any of his rivals, he succumbed to the influences of Rococo
taste, but he absorbed its elements into his architecture with such
delicacy and sureness of touch that his style never degenerated into
Early in his career
Massari completed the Church of S. Maria della Fava, which Antonio Gaspari
had begun in 1705. Massari's first major work on his own was the Church
of S. Maria del Rosario, called the Gesuati, 1726-36. Thereafter, in
1736 Massari prevailed in a competition for construction of the S. Maria
della Pieta church and hospital. Only the church was actually erected,
1745-60 (facade, early 20th cen.). His most prominent legacy, however,
is the enormous Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal, begun 1748, now used
primarily as a conference and exposition center.
Massari is also
credited in one account with the reconstruction of Villa
Cornaro at S. Andrea di Cavasagra, c. 1750-70.