Crocifixion, 1565, Tintoretto

Scuola Grande of San Rocco
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Crocifixion, 1565, Tintoretto

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Scuola Grande of San Rocco

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco

The Confraternity of San Rocco decided to build its headquarters in 1516, commissioning Bartolomeo Bon to draw up the plans.
The original design foresaw two rows of columns running across the ground floor ("Sala Terrena") and accommodation on the first floor ("Sala d’Albergo"), an area that could also be used as a meeting room ("Sala Riunioni"). It was subsequently modified and adorned, meaning that actual construction was not completed until 1560 under the direction of various famous “Proto” over the years, including Sante Lombardo, Scarpagnino and Gian Domenico de’ Grigi.
In the 18th century Giorgio Fossati was in charge of the second floor extension, to be used as the treasury (Sala del Tesoro).  Restoration of the building in 1999 saw the replacement of the old tiles with sheets of lead.

Today known mainly as the Venetian equivalent of the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco has become one of the world’s most famous and popular “museums”.
In fact, the artist Tintoretto was tied to the Confraternity by a lifetime contract and so had the opportunity to create a full cycle of paintings running through the various rooms in the  Scuola. All his “telèri” depict religious scenes, ranging from episodes in the life of the Virgin Mary, Christ’s childhood, Passion and death, the life of San Rocco and the theological Virtues, plus various stories from the Old and New Testaments. His extraordinary use of colour and light can be seen especially in a short section of decoration that came to light in 1905 quite by chance: this represents three apples and can now be admired in a showcase in the Scuola.

The many masterpieces contained in the "Scuola Grande di San Rocco" include Titian’s "Ecce homo" and an "Annunciation", two paintings by a young Giambattista Tiepolo, "Agan abandoned" and "Abraham and the Angels" and a "San Rocco" by Bernardo Strozzi.
Another masterpiece is the "Christ the Cross-Bearer" that some attribute to Giorgione, other to Titian, although the possibility of both these grand masters having worked on it cannot be excluded.

1500  -   - rev. 0.1.9

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