The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

By Pompeo Molmenti; Gustav Ludwig et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE HISTORY OF THE SCUOLA DI SANT' ORSOLA.

BEFORE describing the various pictorial Cycles composed by Carpaccio the history of the Institution which gave the craftsman so favourable an opportunity for the development of the force of his genius should be briefly discussed. The Scuola di Sant' Orsola, containing that magnificent series of paintings which marks the first period of the artistic life of this king of painters, will therefore first occupy our attention.

In 1234 the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo presented the Dominican Order with a piece of marshland within the boundaries of S. Maria Formosa and S. Marina (in confinibus Sancle Maria Formosa et Sancte Marina,) thereon to erect a convent and a church. The church designed in the Gothic style, commenced about 1240, and dedicated to SS. Giovanni and Paolo, arose beside the convent, and at the beginning of the following century the Scuola di S. Orsola was built upon the same site. Some devout persons, accustomed perhaps to meet together in the sacristy of the new church, resolved to place themselves under the protection of this Saint and her martyred companions. Be this as it may, an authentic document gives the precise date of the Foundation: viz., "the 15th day of July, 1300: in the time of the illustrious Messer Pietro Gradenigo, renowned Doge of Venice, was made and com- menced this blessed Congregation to the glory and honour (15 luglio del 1300: In lo tempo dello egregio messer Piero Gradenigo inclito doxe de Vinexia, fo fata e començada questa benedeta congregation a loldo et honor) "of Our Lord and of the Virgin, and under the protection of SS. Dominick, Peter Martyr and Ursula."1

The chapel dedicated to these three Saints was built seven years after the Scuola in the graveyard of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, adjacent to the church, beside the large window afterwards filled

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1
Arch. di State. Scuola di Sant' Orsola a SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Atti B. Diversi599.

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