SCUOLA DI S. GIORGIO DEGLI SCHIAVONI, Carpaccio's Paintings

Audio File length: 2.53
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

 

Carpaccio's painted scenes completely cover three of the room's walls: get ready to enter a fairy tale.

I suggest starting on the left, with the scene that drives the entire painting cycle: Saint George Piercing the Dragon. The legendary undertaking takes place in a landscape that is both poetic and desolate: in the foreground, you see the macabre remains of the young men who've been the most recent meal of the monstrous dragon with a twisted tail. To the right, behind the heroic knight, you can see the princess who was about to be devoured: the saint has just saved her life.

This outdoor scene is followed by two in which Carpaccio shows you his skill in inventing imaginary cities. In one you can see St. George carrying the defeated dragon into the city Selene, among the crowd's festivities and commotion; on the back wall, to the left of the altar, you can see the saint baptizing King Aio and the queen of Libya.

To the right of the altar there's an interesting "horror" scene dedicated to Saint Tryphon, who as a child was already able to make a repugnant creature leave the body of an emperor's daughter. The monster really seems like an ancestor of modern-day cartoons!

The wall is completed by two smaller scenes inspired by the Gospel (Matthew's vocation and Oration in the Garden), perhaps the first works Carpaccio did for the Schiavoni School.

Now go to the right wall dedicated to Saint Jerome. When Carpaccio wants to make you laugh he's quite able; here he depicts the turmoil evoked in the monastery by the arrival of Saint Jerome accompanied by the lion that he had tamed by removing a thorn from his paw. The next, quieter scene depicts the touching funeral of the saint.

The last scene, Saint Augustine's Vision, is the most famous and fascinating. It shows Saint Jerome in the form of a ray of light, who comes to St. Augustine while he's sitting at the desk in his study. Struck by the supernatural light, the saint raises his eyes while his hand remains suspended in mid-air still holding the pen, and a sense of luminous mystery spreads over the painting, where Carpaccio patiently and delicately describes every detail, which you uncover little by little.

 

FUN FACT: after your tour of the paintings, take a look at the sacristy and the upper hall, which is a meeting place for the brothers; more than five hundred years after its foundation, the Scuola degli Schivani is still in operation and carries out social and welfare activities.

And with this we have finished our tour of the School of St. George in Venice: MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

 

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