Cycle in the San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (1502-07)
by Vittore CARPACCIO
Around 1501-02 Carpaccio received a commission to create a group of canvases for the headquarters of a minor confraternity, the Scuola degli Schiavoni; this brotherhood was given this name because its members were for the most part Dalmatians, either resident in Venice or sailors and artisans temporarily working there. Built after the Council of Ten passed the legislation governing the institution of confraternities in 1431, on a piece of land belonging to the monasteries of the Hospitalers near the Hospital of Santa Caterina and the church of San Giovanni del Tempio, the building still houses Carpaccio's paintings illustrating episodes from the life of the confraternity's patron saints, Jerome, George and Triphun. In 1551, when the building was restored, the paintings were transferred from the first floor hall to the ground floor. There are also two paintings that are not part of this cycle, the Agony in the Garden and the Calling of Matthew, dated 1502.
The episodes from the life of the patron saints were taken from Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea, Pietro De Natalibus's Catalogus Sanctorum and the Jeronimus: vita et transitus published in Venice in 1485. The seven paintings are: Vision of St Augustine; St Jerome and the Lion; Funeral of St Jerome; St George and the Dragon; Triumph of St George; Baptism of the Selenites; Daughter of Emperor Gordian Exorcised by St Triphun.