Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Historic Building in San Polo & Santa Croce

Flagellants founded this confraternity in 1261, and it served as social club to the Council of Ten, Venice’s dreaded secret service. Political power had obvious perks: Pietro Lombardo’s 1481 triumphal entry arch, a Codussi-designed staircase, and a 1729 1st-floor meeting hall designed by Giorgio Massari and decorated by Giandomenico Tiepolo, who was obliged to finish contracts signed by his father.

Bellini and Titian turned out world-class works for the scuola that have since been moved to the Gallerie dell’Accademia – but Palma Il Giovane’s works still illuminate the Sala d’Albergo, and Pietro Longhi’s wriggling baby Jesus is magnetic in Adoration of the Wise Men. The confraternity was suppressed by Napoleon, and today the scuola hosts conferences and concerts, opening to the public when not in use for events.

Across the street, the deconsecrated Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista houses a Tintoretto Crucifixion, and the adjoining private chapel, founded by the Badoer family in 970, features Pietro Vecchia's painting of St John the Evangelist holding a pen, eagerly awaiting dictation from God.