Hidden treasures

The reredos of the Chapter Hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice

Unknown places & works

The reredos of the Chapter Hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice

When visiting the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice - perhaps one of the most significant monuments of the lagoon city - one is always struck by the incredible canvases made by Jacopo Tintoretto in the second half of '500 ... The Scuola, however, houses many more treasures!

The Chapter Hall, for example, is entirely covered with walnut dossals enclosed amongst striking allegorical sculptures made by Francesco Pianta between 1657 and 1676.

The sculptor himself provides the titles and descriptions of his works in the long scroll supported by a statue of Mercury on the left side of the staircase doorway. The representation constitutes a moralizing iconographic programme, based on the juxtaposition of vice and virtue, and ends with a tribute to the arts of sculpture and painting.

Following the order indicated by the sculptor, at the beginning we find Melancholy, represented as a man with a sad face and long wavy hair, wrapped in a large cloak; Honour, depicted as a handsome young man with delicate features, adorned with a flag, a necklace and a sceptre; Avarice, an austere figure with a flowing beard, carrying under his belt ledgers and coin bags; Ignorance, with bestial ugliness; Science, represented as an old man intent on reading a book.

We then find the Distinction between good and evil (a naked young man seen from the back); the winged Fury, chained and blindfolded; the Spy, with a covered face... Among the latter is placed the magnificent Library with five shelves filled with books (64 in total!), a masterpiece in the field of wooden sculpture for the realism with which all its elements are rendered.

Continuing we find Scandal, a bearded old man elegantly dressed – the musical instruments at his feet indicate that he neglects serious things and worries about vain ones; Honest Pleasure, a fine looking young man with long hair; Sculpture represented by the orator Cicero, and, finally, Painting, the last one made by Pianta, personified as expected by Tintoretto. The painter’s working tools are further evidence of his extraordinary sculpting abilities.

If you wish to visit the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and other unusual areas of the city with an exclusive private guided tour of Venice, contact us immediately! Our guides will organize a private itinerary, tailored for you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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