The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

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

CHAPTER X
CARPACCIO'S WORK FOR THE SCUOLE DI S. STEFANO AND S. GIOVANNI EVANGELISTA

FROM 1511 to 1520 Carpaccio was working for the Scuola di S. Stefano.

Around the church of S. Stefano and the adjoining convent of the Eremitani of the Rule of S. Augustine several Scuole sprang up such as those of the "Girdle of the Madonna" (della Cintura) and of S. Stefano; and, as usual, these Societies had their inception in the sacristy of the church. The earliest--though uncertain--record of the Scuola di S. Stefano dates as far back as March 3rd, 1298, but the development of the Society in less remote times can best be followed in the Mariegola, now preserved at the Museo Civico, which opens with the year 1493.1

It is a beautiful MS. on parchment adorned with very exquisite though somewhat injured miniatures. The first part contains the Rules of the Scuola, and the image of their Sainted Patron is introduced into the initial letter. The second comprises the history of the recovery of the relics of the Protomartyr, and this portion of the folio is decorated with two gracefully designed miniatures, delicately illuminated in gold and colours with beautiful landscape backgrounds, of The Crucifixion with the Virgin and S. John, and The Stoning of S. Stephen. The Saint is represented in his dalmatic and his assailants are clad in the fashion of the fifteenth century. These miniatures recall the manner of Bellini, but the critics to whom their elegant fifteenth-century style is reminiscent of Carpaccio ignore the fact that his connection with the Scuola di S. Stefano only commenced in 1511. The third part of the Mariegola comprises divers agreements and other entries which continue until 1801.

The burial-place of the Brethren was situated opposite the door of the church, which opens on to the wide graveyard adjacent, and

____________________
1
Mariegola, No. 3.

-178-

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