Venice, The Scuola Grande di San Marco
Duration: 2 hours
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a lay brotherhood founded in 1478. The profound popular veneration of San Rocco (saint to whom Venice was voted during the first of the three great plague epidemics), whose relic was already in possession of the Confraternity since 1485, it contributed to its strong growth until it became the richest school in the city.
This association of wealthy citizens, after building the Church of San Rocco, ordered the construction of the building at the beginning of the sixteenth century. When the Scuola Grande was almost completed, precisely in 1564, a competition was announced for its decoration. Tintoretto got the job and worked in the San Rocco school for 20 years, indissolubly binding his name there. Tintoretto decorated the main rooms and created the famous San Rocco cycle in the church of San Rocco.
Tintoretto’s magnificent works are divided into three rooms:
Hotel Hall: place where the school government met. The pictorial cycle here represents the passion of Christ, which is told, originally, from right to left.
Chapter Room: used for plenary meetings by confreres. A cycle of thirty-three paintings that was started from the ceiling, where the major canvases tell the story of the Jewish people’s journey towards the Promised Land. The main canvases on the walls instead illustrate episodes from the New Testament.
Sala Terrena: an obligatory passageway for anyone entering the building, it contains eight large canvases that show episodes relating to the life of the Virgin and the childhood of Jesus.