Hidden treasures

Saint Augustine's Vision by Carpaccio in Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice

Unknown places & works
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Saint Augustine's Vision by Carpaccio in Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice

Not far away from Piazza San Marco is a place where time seems to have stopped: Scuola degli Schiavoni, the School of Dalmatians.

During Napoleonic suppressions, this brotherhood was amongst the few ones to either not be abolished or lose its artistic heritage. Its collection includes a cycle of early sixteenth century canvas by Vittore Carpaccio about the lives of George, Jerome and Trifone, the three titular saints of the school.

Saint Augustine in His Study is undoubtedly the most famous painting of the entire cycle. It tells the story of Saint Jerome appearing to Augustine announcing him his imminent death and ascent into Heaven. The artist portraits the saint in his studio, as his reading is distracted by the voice of Saint Jerome, coming as a luminous shape near the desk. The miraculous announcement takes place in a room that is typical of an acculturated humanist of Carpaccio's age, depicted with his usual attention to details.

The observer's attention is caught by several open books, some with music lines, boxes, writing tools and other curious objects like a small bell and a shell. In the middle of the room is a recess with an altar where, as the drawn curtain shows, Augustine keeps his vestments and liturgic objects.

In the center of the room is a Maltese dog and a cartouche with the artist's signature and date.

Venice still preserves many artistic treasures like this painting cycle, many of which unbeknown to the great public and therefore not included, or even ignored, in the usual guided tours. Francesca, our special guide, organizes private guided tours to discover these places and works of art hidden among the beautiful palaces and the narrow streets of Venice.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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