Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Founded in 1478, the Scuola di San Rocco soon grew to become one of Venice’s largest and wealthiest confraternities. Home to the relics and body of San Rocco of Montpellier, the patron saint of the sick and afflicted, this Scuola Grande has come to be known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Venice.’ Housing over 60 paintings by Tintoretto, this confraternity stands as an example of the power of these Scuole . Not only did they function as social meeting houses, but also as charitable organizations and mutual aid facilities. Officially finished in 1517, the grounds of the Scuola came to include the church and school on the Campo di San Rocco. Notable works still present in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco include Tintoretto’s Annunciation and Titian’s Christ Carrying the Cross, among others. One of the most extraordinary features of this Scuola is the masterpieces executed by Tintoretto that depict scenes from the Old and New Testament. Likewise, Christ Carrying a Cross stands as a masterpiece within the complex. Origins of this piece are unclear as both Giorgione and Titian had ties to the confraternity. Believed to cure ailments, pilgrims would pray to this painting for healing. Many copies were made in various media and it grew to become one of their most lucrative public displays. One copy of Christ Carrying the Cross was used by the confraternity as its gonfalone, the banner used in public processions within Venice. (NB)