Scuola Grande Di San Rocco – The Best Place to See Tintoretto Paintings in Venice:
Next door to the San Rocco Church in Campo San Rocco, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a highlight of the Venetian Renaissance. It was founded in honour of San Rocco (the protector against plague) and funded by wealthy Venetians who were keen to ensure San Rocco’s protection. On the altar placed on the back wall on the Ground Floor hall is a statue of San Rocco.
But the main attraction of Scuola di San Rocco is the interior decoration and works created under the guidance of Jacopo Tintoretto. Often compared to the Sistine Chapel Ceiling in Rome, the paintings in San Rocco by this Venetian master easily demonstrate why. While none can surpass Michelangelo, Tintoretto was indeed one of the most outstanding native artists of the Renaissance. And the over 50 paintings housed in San Rocco make plain why the comparison is warranted.
But first, the building..
The best view of the facade is gained from two vantage points. Take in the whole from far away in order to enjoy the columns and the overall look. Then move in closer.
The close up view allows an appreciation of the elaborate carvings near the base of those columns and the fine gilding that covers the pedestals. From this vantage point one can see the delicate stone work that forms the tops of the columns set in the windows. The floral pattern betrays the Byzantine influences that were still a part of Venetian architecture during the Renaissance.
The building sees double-duty as both art museum and concert hall. Listening to Monteverdi in this setting it is easy to imagine oneself a native of the period.
In 1564, Tintoretto was commissioned by the members of the Scuola di San Rocco to decorate the building’s walls and ceilings. Tintoretto works such as the Allegories, Life and Passion of Christ and many others made him one of the most sought after religious painters of the day.
The two large main rooms of San Rocco are covered – walls, ceilings and stairways – with evidence of this artist’s skill and insight. The ceiling is low, making it easier to see the art. Rising up the highly decorated staircase brings one within easy reach of equally impressive objects, such as the massive paintings hanging from the rafters.
The works gathered here were created over a period of more than 20 years. The results, which began from a contest held in 1564, show how much he achieved in that time. His winning entry of San Rocco in Glory hangs in the centre of the ceiling.
Tintoretto’s Last Supper shows his unconventionality, as it focuses on the gift of the Eucharist, rather than a simple conversation between the apostles. From early works to paintings made in maturity, Tintoretto continued to astound his contemporaries. His work creates that same reaction today.
Visitors from all over the world come here to see The Annunciation and The Epiphany. You can spend long periods enraptured by the beauty and depth of The Flight to Egypt. Tintoretto was famed for his mastery of perspective gleaned from Michelangelo, his use of color learned by studying Titian and the psychological depth of his characterizations which can’t be taught.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is the best place in Venice to see Tintoretto art. Visit San Rocco and see for yourself why. You can get there by vaporetto – St. Toma stop.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Campo San Rocco