Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
Giovanni de Zan
1551, Istrian stone and marble
Restored from 2001 to 2004 with funding from the California Chapter of Save Venice Inc. and the Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
The scuole grandi, or great confraternities, of Venice, such as the Scuola Grande di San Marco and Scuola Grande di San Rocco, were well known not only for their religious, civic, and social achievements, but also for their contributions to Venetian architecture. Many minor confaternities (scuole piccole) also existed in Venice, and while these could be dedicated to religious causes like the scuole grandi, they could also be reserved for member of specific trade and craft guilds, or for the ethnic communities present in Venice, such as the Greeks, Albanians, and Slavs (Dalmati). The Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, or Scuola Dalmata, was established in the fifteenth century by the Dalmatian Slavs, or “Schiavoni,” who lived in Venice. In 1551 on the one-hundredth anniversary of their founding, the Scuola Dalmata hired Giovanni de Zan, head architect of the Arsenale, to rebuild the façade of their confraternity in Castello; the design follows the style of Jacopo Sansovino. Two sculpted reliefs framed by Ionic columns are the focal point of the façade’s decoration. The lower relief, carved by Pietro da Salò, depicts Saint George fighting the dragon to liberate the princess. Above this image, another relief depicts the Madonna and Child flanked by Saints Catherine and John the Baptist, who presents a knight of the order of Saint John of Jerusalem to the Virgin.
Project Director: Emanuela Zucchetta, Superintendency of Monuments of Venice
Restorer: Ottorino Nonfarmale
UNESCO Program-Association of International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice