A little off the beaten track, this scuola is a great choice if you’re looking for a slightly more peaceful Venetian experience.
Of Venice’s six great guilds, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is by some way the best preserved. These guilds formed a network of religious brotherhoods which were each dedicated to a particular endeavor, usually involving helping the needy. San Rocco was the patron saint of the plague-stricken, and the scuola dedicated to him was founded in 1478 the wake of a virulent outbreak of the disease in the city.
The guild’s building was not finished until nearly 100 years later, and it now stands grand and proud on the Campo San Rocco, a gleaming edifice of white marble complete with all the intricately carved columns and sweeping arches that characterise 16th century Venetian architecture.
The Best of Tintoretto
Inside, the scuola is comprised of two main halls, the sala terra on the ground floor and the sala superiore on the floor above, together with various smaller chambers. Stepping inside is a treat for art lovers. Every painting here was completed by the Venetian master Tintoretto or his assistants, and all of his most famous works are here. The sala terra contains works depicting the life story of the Virgin Mary, as well as a beautiful portrayal of The Annunciation, while the hall upstairs features vivid paintings of scenes from the Old Testament. The most spectacular of these is the busy Miracle of the Bronze Serpent, whose moody brushstrokes depict so much that on first viewing the panting can be rather overwhelming. It’s rare to find such a comprehensive catalogue of one artists output in one place, and this scuola is a fine example.
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