Visiting the Scuola Grande di San Rocco


I recently visited the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. This complex, Scuola Grande plus the adjacent Church, is just 8 minutes’ walk From the railway station; crossing the Ponte degli Scalzi and following the narrow alleys towards San Marco.

To visit the Scuola Grande it takes at least a couple of hours. Tickets can be bought at the door, and they allow into the Sala dell’albergo, the Chapter Room, and the Ground Floor.

The Sala dell’albergo hosts paintings among the best painters in Venice, such as Giuseppe Salviati, Federico Zuccari, Paolo Veronese and of course, Tintoretto.

The Chapter Room offers an imposing decorative cycle of 33 paintings. The ones on the ceiling show stories from the Old Testament, those on the walls illustrate episodes from the life of Christ.

The three main ceiling paintings narrate three key moments in the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land. Surrounding these are 10 oval panels, which recount 10 episodes from the Old Testament.

In painting the Scuola di San Rocco Tintoretto obtained a regular income for the whole of his life, and above all, a place where he could express his art without any fear of competition, a place which would moreover allow him to express to the full his own religious feelings.

The eight large canvases on the wall show episodes from the life of the Virgin and the childhood of Christ.

At The Scuola Grande and the Church there are also paintings by Tintoretto, Giorgione, Titian, and Tiepolo, the major Venetian painters.

Tintoretto was born in Venice in 1518, as the eldest of 21 children. His father, Giovanni, was a dyer, or tintore; hence the son got the nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer, or dyer’s boy, which is anglicized as Tintoret. Tintoretto was a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. His work is characterized by its muscular figures, dramatic gestures, and bold use of perspective in the Mannerist style, while maintaining color and light typical of the Venetian School.

Giorgione born Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco; (c. 1477/8–1510) was an Italian painter of the Venetian school in the High Renaissance from Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over 30. The painter came from the small town of Castelfranco Veneto, 40 km inland from Venice.

Titian (Tiziano) or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 the exact date of his birth is uncertain), known in English as Titian, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto, Republic of Venice).

Tiepolo also known as Gianbattista, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice. He was prolific, and worked not only in Italy, but also in Germany and Spain. Born in Venice, he was the youngest of six children. His father was a small shipping merchant. Two of his sons, Domenico and Lorenzo, painted with him as his assistants and later achieved some independent recognition.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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