Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (39)

Situated in the sestiere of Castello, this building with a simple appearance might even pass unnoticed in a city full of monuments and exquisite architecture such as Venice. Nevertheless, the secret of this scuola is in the interior, since it hides a plethoric series of works by the painter Vittore Carpaccio.

You will also be surprised to know that it was built at the behest of the city’s Dalmatian community, which had been growing exponentially since the region from which they came, Dalmatia, which belonged in the main part to Croatia, had become a colony of Venice in 1420. The Venetians called this colony Schiavonia, and thus its inhabitants were known as the schiavoni.

These citizens of Slav origin got the permission required from the State to establish their own fraternity, and in this way this scuola was formed in 1451. At the beginning, in the absence of their own headquarters, they met in different places, such as the hospice of the Knights of Malta, but they finally raise enough funds to build their own centre.

The first Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni was built between 1480 and 1501, but in the mid-16th century it was rebuilt according to the design of Giovanni de Zan. The decoration was entrusted to Carpaccio, who painted nine canvases between 1502 and 1508 that narrated, through selected episodes, the lives of the three protector saints of the fraternity: Saint George, Saint Tryphon and Saint Jerome. The experts highlight the use of colour and the level of detail achieved by their author in these paintings. 

This building has another peculiarity that might not seem to be of any importance, but which in reality is one of its great assets, and it is that it has been preserved in a very similar state to how it was when it was built. Added to the fact that its artistic treasures have remained intact, you should know that the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni is one of those places that will not amaze you for its splendour, but for that intimacy that is soaked in history and which is, therefore, the best frame possible for the works by Carpaccio that it houses.

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