Scuola dei Carmini


Scuola dei Carmini review Rate it

Begun in 1670 to plans by Baldassare Longhena, the building housing this scuola run by the Carmelite order was spared the Napoleonic lootings that dispersed the fittings of most of the other scuole. So we have a good idea of what an early 18th-century Venetian confraternity HQ must have looked like, from the elaborate Sante Piatti altarpiece downstairs to the staircase with its excrescence of gilded cherubs.

In the main hall of the first floor is one of the most impressive of Giambattista Tiepolo's Venetian ceilings: the airy panels were painted from 1740 to 1743. Don't even try to unravel the story - a celestial donation that supposedly took place in Cambridge, when Simon Stock received the scapular (the badge of the Carmelite order) from the Virgin. What counts, as always with Tiepolo, is the audacity of his off-centre composition. If the atmosphere were not so ultra-refined, there would be something disturbing in the Virgin's sneer of cold contempt and those swirling clouds. The central painting fell from the woodworm-ridden ceiling in August 2000 but has been beautifully restored. In the two adjoining rooms are wooden sculptures by Giacomo Piazzetta and a dramatic Judith and Holofernes by his more gifted son Giovanni Battista Piazzetta.

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Scuola dei Carmini details

Dorsoduro 2617,
campo dei Carmini

Area Venice

Transport Vaporetto Ca' Rezzonico or San Basilio

Telephone 041 528 9420

Open 11am-4pm daily.

Admission €5; €2-€4 reductions.