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Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Scuola Grande di San Rocco Scuola Grande di San Rocco

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a magnificent edifice, devoted to the use of one of the greatest schools or fraternities of Venice, is truly rich and extraordinary, and one can scarcely conceive how an association of almost one hundred private citizens, could lavish so much wealth in erecting a perfect museum of the fine arts.

This majestic and noble structure is adorned both within and without, with columns, cornices, carved work and figures remarkable both for design and execution.

The foundations of it were laid in 1517 on the occasion of the transfer of the body of San Rocco to Venice. The first design was made by Pietro Bon, and the execution of it was committed to three architects, Sante Lombardo, Antonio Abbondi called Scarpagnino, and Giangiacomo de' Grigi. There are two grand fronts, the one towards the palace, the other towards the river. The first was executed by Scarpagnino, (as was also the side of the so called “Albergo”) and the other by Sante Lombardo who furnished, as it is said, the design.

The Interior of the Scuola of St. Rocco

Eight fine paintings of Tintoretto decorate the saloon on the ground floor. Over the altar is a beautiful statue of San Rocco, from the chisel of Girolamo Campagna.

A magnificent stair-case, the work of Scarpagnino, ornamented with columns and beautiful bas-reliefs, with which even the steps are sculptured, leads to the great hall of the school. On the first landing of the stairs, besides many precious pictures, are to be seen two beautiful paintings, one representing the Annunciation by Titian, and the other, the St. Elizabeth by Tintoretto. The most precious ornaments of this temple of the arts are the pictures of the first floor, the rooms of which are filled with them. They consist of paintings of the whole life of Jesus Christ, from the Annunciation of the Virgin to the Resurrection of the Saviour, all produced by the unwearied genius of Tintoretto.

The altar is the work of Francesco Bernardino in 1588, and the statues, with those of the balustrade, are by G. Campagna. The side walls are adorned with the most beautiful carvings. A row of fine columns surrounds the interior of the great hall, and the ceiling is the most sublime work of its kind. From the chan¬cel you pass to the library, the door of which is ornamented with two precious columns, said to be by Lumachella. In this library is to be seen a highly prized mosaic, representing the Annunciation of the Virgin, by Donatello.

You arrive at last at the room called the Albergo on the door of which are some beautiful sculptures of the era of 1747. Over it is a portrait of Tintoretto painted by himself: the great wall adjoining it presents a colossal painting of the Crucifixion; opposite are three other paintings by the same master representing the Ecce Homo, Christ before Pilate and The Nazarene at Calvary. On the two other walls are painted the six great fraternities of Venice. Lastly, the cieling is formed of seventeen other paintings by the same great master.

The gates of the Sanctuary are in bronze; and the bas reliefs in wood, but of the greatest truth of execution, are by Francesco Pianta.

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