Marco Boschini, Matteo Ponzone, and the Altar of the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni in Venice

Tanja Trška


In the first decades of the seventeenth century the altar of the Scuola di San Giorgio e Trifone (also known as the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni), at the time situated in the Venetian church of San Giovanni del Tempio, was adorned by an altarpiece by Matteo Ponzone (today in the church of Madonna dell’Orto), mentioned in 1664 by Marco Boschini as being “di Casa Stefani.” Boschini’s definition of Ponzone’s altarpiece as belonging to the Stefani family is explained by a 1582 request by the Guardian Grande Paulo (Paolo) de Stefano, who appealed to the general chapter for permission to construct a family tomb in the church of San Giovanni del Tempio in front of the Dalmatian nation’s altar of St. George. Although the construction of a family tomb in front of the confraternity altar affected its later reception as collective confraternal property, the iconography of Ponzone’s altarpiece depicting the confraternity’s patron saints George, Jerome, and Tryphon represents a distinct statement of Dalmatian identity, which the Scuola sought to exhibit within the multicultural society of Venice.

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