|A view of the Sala Capitolare, looking south, in the direction of the scuola's famous facade|
The ground floor grande andito, or entrance hall, of the old scuola and the present-day hospital has always been open to visitors who usually stop in for a look after visiting the nearby church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. But the space has been cleaned up, and the large wood and glass concierge's office that used to run along part of one side wall has been removed. The concierge now resides in a sleek all-glass fish-tank-like office that spans the width of the front entrance just inside the door, and leaves the entire grande andito free of anything that might impede one's appreciation of its fine dimensions and array of lovely columns.
Of course, Sandro and I were already familiar with the ground floor; it was the upstairs that blew us away.
|L'altare maggiore, designed by Sansovino, at the north end of the Sala Capitolare|
In any case, its reopening was considered significant enough to merit a special civic presentation on the day of the Festa della Madonna della Salute, complete with the deputy mayor, free guided tours and live music. I missed it, but I was happy to just find complete coverage of the festivities, with photos, on the French language blog of Olia i Klod: http://oliaklodvenitiens.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/visite-de-la-scuola-grande-di-san-marco/
One thing I know is that it had to have been closed long enough, or its displays altered greatly enough, to have aroused considerable interest among Venetians, whom for the glorious present seem to be its primary visitors. "Beo!" said the retired man in Venetian while looking at the ceiling, after we'd been speaking in Italian.
|The center of the Sala Capitolare's ornate ceiling|
|Domenico and Jacopo Tintoretto's San Marco che benedice le isole di Venezia, flanked by an annunciation by Nicolò Renieri|
One of the works that is known to have originally hung in the scuola is the above work San Marco che benedice le isole di Venezia by Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto. This is one of three pieces by Domenico and his famous father now in the scuola in which, according to the informative nicely-produced small guide available onsite (in Italian only), the hand of the son is mostly evident. Now, while being the son of the great Tintoretto could not have been as bad as being his daughters (two of whom were cloistered, as you can read about here: http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/annienc/2010/08/santanna.html), looking at the doughy modeling in the some of the three paintings here I couldn't help but feel a bit for poor Domenico who had no prayer of measuring up to his progenitor.
|Domenico and Jacopo Tintoretto's Trasporto del corpo di San Marco sulla nave beside the high altar|
But Sandro and I kept our eyes focused on more pleasing prospects, of which there are many; some of which you can see below, more of which I'll probably inevitably post in the future, and all of which I'd suggest are worth seeing for oneself.
|An anonymous life-sized 15th-century crucifixion in wood in front of the high altar|
|A detail from Le nozze di Cana, 1622, by Alessandro Varotari, called Padovanino|
|Another detail from Le nozze di Cana|
|An illustration from Cirurgia universale, published in Venice in 1605|
|A 17th-century medical text in Latin on the treatment of hemorrhoids, with some of the required instruments in foreground|
|Detail of an undated folio page of what appears to be a picnic gone very wrong|
|Among the few non-medical items on display is this 1929 model of the planned development of the island of Sacca Fisola by one U. Fantucci. Note the extensive free-standing arcades connecting the different areas.|
|A view of one of the three ground floor doors designed by Mauro Codussi, along with two of the 10 columns of the grande andito, or entrance hall|
|A view of Codussi's second entrance to his stairway up to the Sala Capitolare|