The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

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

CHAPTER VII
CARPACCIO'S PAINTINGS IN THE NEW ORATORY OF THE SCUOLA DEGLI SCHIAVONI

IN 1551 the new Scuola being completed, the paintings were removed from the Upper Chamber on the first floor of the Albergo to the Oratory on the ground floor, and placed in a totally different order to suit the altered conditions.

The altar stands opposite the door and the lower portion of the wall is panelled throughout with walnut. The paintings fill the space of 1 m. 41 cm. in height from the wainscot to the cornice. The grooved pilasters of wood which separate the paintings and the cornice running round the ceiling are of pure and graceful style, such as would induce the belief that they date back to an earlier period than that of the rebuilding,--a period already marked by the decay of Art,--and would suggest that they also had been transferred from the Albergo on the first floor along with Carpaccio's paintings.

Marco Boschini writes in Le Ricche Minere1 that in the Scuola degli Schiavoni there were "nine paintings by Vittore Carpaccio; some of the Life of S. Jerome, others of the Life of S. George, and one of Christ in the Garden; precious works painted between 1502 and 1507."

The chapel of the Schiavoni and Carpaccio's pictures have furnished Mr. Ruskin with the subject of a most curious study.2

Mr. Ruskin with quaint originality thus describes the Oratory of the Scuola, a building still untouched and undesecrated by modern irreverence, and which in its appearance transports us in spirit to olden times:

" Entering we find ourselves in a little room about the size of

____________________
1
Le Ricche Minere della pittura veneziana, compendiosa informazione ecc. Venezia, Nicolini, 1674.
2
S. Mark's Rest. The Shrine of the Slaves. Kent, 1877. This essay has been admirably translated into Italian, together with others of Mr. Ruskin's studies by Signora Pezzé-Pascolato. ( Florence, Barbéra, 1901.)

-120-

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