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School of Saint Johann the Evangelist

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The school of Saint Johann the Evangelist is amongst the oldest of the city of Venice, it was founded in 1261, school was the word in use to point a laic brotherhood dedicated to charity.The brotherhood members often were important and rich persons able to transform the school sites in museums rich of the highest expression of Venetian art. The Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista is certainly one of those. All the brotherhoods were suppressed during the Napoleon domination and only few of them were reformed during the 8th century.

The Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista is in San Polo, San Stin contrade, during the first half of 400 (1349-1354) as per some script found in the school courtyard the building were restructured. Few years later in 1936, Philippe de Meziers (lord chancellor of the Cyprus reign) gifted the School with a relic from the cross of Jesus, since that episode the fame and the importance of the School itself enormously increased, to the point that the building was enriched and embellished to make it adequate to the importance of the relic, the works began in 1414 and ended in 1420.

Inside the School there are some inestimable operas, mostly dedicated to the Saint Cross, beautiful is the cycle of “ the miracles of the cross relic” painted by Gentile Bellini, son of Jacopo. Those painting substituted the ones previously realized by his father and damaged soon after being painted. During the second half of 400 the front was remade in gothic style and the marble works of the entrance courtyard (byPietro Lombardo) restored too, to complete the courtyard works the portal is another opera by Bartolomeo Bon a big lumette with an eagle, the Saint Johan symbol.

Before the end of the century it was taken the decision to build an interior stair, quite in use on that period in all the most important schools. The stair was projected in 1498 by Mauro Cordussi (one of the most important architect of the epoch) he left is classic symbol a mullioned window on a middle floor. The embellishment operas does not end here, during the XVI century the inn was completely remade and decorated by Titian and his disciples, the most important was painted by the master himself is “ the vision of Saint Johan the Evangelist” (now by the national gallery in New York). All other minor operas (called minor because painted by the disciples) are in the Accademia art Gallery of Venice.

The operas decorating the Inn walls were painted by Jacopo Palma il Giovane, he painted also the “ episode of the apocalypse” two century later the Inn was restored by Architect Giorgio Massari also the San Johann hall (sala Capitolare) was elevated for 5 meters, on the walls where opened big windows to have much light as possible. The big statue of Saint Johann close to the altar is from 1732-33 and was an opera by Giovanni Maria Molatier. The central canva on the ceiling it’ s an opera by Giuseppe Angeli 1761.

Those where the last big operas made inside the School, few years later the Republic fall under the Napoleon attack and the School of San Giovanni Evangelista as all others in the city was closed, sacked and reduced to a storage place. However its history didn’t’ ended here, thanks to the good will of some Venetian families the building and some operas where redeemed from the Austrian state property and saved. Amongst the saved operas there was also the Cross reliquary, it was destined to be melted and taken to the French state mint. In 1931 the brotherhood was elevated to Arcibrotherhood by Pope Pio XI.

The school is not open to the public, however it can be visited by appointment, for any infos call 041718234 from Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm or mail to .

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