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Dedicated to the parton saint against plagues
The Archbrotherhood of St Roch was the richest of the six scuole grandi in 15th-century Venice. Its members came from the higher mercantile and professional classes. Scuola Grande di San Rocco was dedicated to Venice’s other patron saint, the French plague protector St Roch/Rock/Rocco.
The scuola operated out of rented accommodation for many years, but at the beginning of the 16th century a permanent base was commissioned. The architecture, by Bartolomeo Bon and Scarpagnino, is far less impressive than the interior decoration, which was entrusted to Tintoretto in 1564 after a competition in which he stole a march on rivals Salviati, Zuccari and Veronese by presenting a finished painting rather than the required sketch.
In three intensive sessions over the following 23 years, Tintoretto began work on the larger upstairs room in 1575, with Old Testament stories on the ceiling and a Life of Christ cycle around the walls, in which the man who possessed what Vasari referred to as ‘the most extraordinary mind that the art of painting has produced’ experimented relentlessly with form, lighting and color.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
San Polo 3052, Campo San Rocco, Venice
Phone: 041 523 4864
Open Hours: Apr-Oct 9am-5.30pm daily. Nov-Mar 10am- 5pm daily.