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Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

The Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni can be found in the district of Castello near the Bridge della Commenda at the beginning of the Calle dei Furlani. It was one of the occupational and devotional schools of Venice and is today an art gallery.

The school is also called the Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio e Trifone. It isn’t considered one of the great schools but it is certainly regarded as an important cultural and artistic landmark in Venice. It was founded in 1451, commissioned by the Schiavoni or Dalmation population that were subject to the Venetian Republic. There were a large number of them in the city at the time. The long waterfront, called the Schiavoni leading from St Mark’s Square along the lagoon, where merchant ships used to moor, is witness to that.

As a means of forming a cultural and social community for themselves, the Dalmatians bought the ex-hospital, St Caterina and restructured it in 1551 under Giovanni de Zan. The bottom floor was for religious ceremonies while the top floor was for meetings of the brotherhood. Probably the school would have remained one of the lesser known associations if it weren’t for the fact that in 1502 it received a gift that made it famous. The then dying Patriarch of Jerusalem gave Venetian troops stationed in Greece, the relics of St Giorgio (George) who in turn gave it to the school whose name it had taken.

At the same time Vittore Carpaccio completed his works on the St.Girolamo, St.Trifone and St.Giorgio series, the three main Dalmation saints. These are considered his major works of art where his skills reach their perfection. The most important of these is the series on St Giorgio’s life with the famous St George and the Dragon depiction. With the Napoleonic repressions at the beginning of the 18th century, the school risked losing all its treasures. Only the good sense of Eugenio Napoleone, who annulled the edict, saved the school and allowed it to survive until today.

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