With the church of San Giorgio Maggiore Palladio further developed the theme of the temple front introduced with the façade of San Francesco della Vigna. He also brilliantly succeeded in creating the illusion of a centralized space in spite of the axial plan of the church by making the great dome the centre of the whole composition and emphasising the four arms of the cross.
The position of the choir behind the high altar was a solution already adopted by Jacopo Sansovino in his San Francesco della Vigna and repeated by Palladio in Il Redentore. Both architects were probably aware of Roman precedents for this arrangement, which had the advantage of giving an interrupted view of the altar from the nave.
Situated on an island opposite Piazza San Marco, San Giorgio Maggiore provided a magnificent backdrop to what was already the greatest example of Venetian splendour.