The Confraternity and The scuola Grande di San Rocco, or School of Saint Roch, the patron saint of plague victims, was established in 1478. The school was built near to it and in line with the traditional model of Venetian Schools.
In 1517, after the Saint’s remains had been moved several times, it was decided to build a new church for them in the Fraridistrict. A school was built next to it and in line with the traditional model of Venetian schools, it consisted of a main block with two large halls, one directly above the other. On the ground floor, there is the Sala Terrenaand above, an open-space upper hall, designed to hold meetings of the Capitolo(Chapter), and therefore called the Sala Capitolare. To the side of this hall there is another smaller room called the Albergo(Hotel) where the regular meetings of the confraternity council, known as the Banca (bank) are held. The two halls are connected by a grand staircase that replaced the original stairs built before 1525 and later demolished.
The Masterplan for the intervention
The architect Alberto Pasetti, in agreement with the commissioning body of the scuola Grande di San Rocco, defined the following goals for the intervention and the new lighting:
- Balance the lighting levels between the walls, where the Tintoretto canvases are hung, and the ceiling that hosts other works by Tintoretto with a strong gold component. With the old system, the vertical walls were much darker than the lighting of the ceiling. The new system has created a better balance, without parts that are excessively in the shadows or excessively lit.
- Light the Tintoretto canvases, to accentuate the colours, brush strokes and other details;
- Enhance the whole range of colours and highlight the differences between the materials within the Sala Capitolare: marbles, woods and oil paintings
- Show off the plasticity of the wooden works, both in the chancel and on the walls
- Enhance architectural elements such as the chancel, windows and columns. Initially the hall contained and displayed only these elements, and the Tintoretto canvases came afterwards. It was therefore necessary to enhance them to make the most of the overall environment, even though these elements were lit initially, and the works of Tintoretto were only added later.
- Create an installation with lighting devices that integrated well with the architecture.
- Using DALI devices allows a simplified control system with the option of dimming individual devices to create a system of dynamic scenes and different combinations as required. The following restrictions were imposed on the intervention: use the existent electrical system, keep the eight Fortuny standard lamps (arranged along the long sides of the hall) as lighting elements.
Sala Capitolare - The Tintoretto canvases
The Tintoretto canvases are distributed along the walls. They are large oil paintings, 450 cm wide and 539 cm high. Precisely because of the constraint not to add new elements to the system, the lighting devices for the canvases had to be installed on top of the wooden balustrade running along the hall, which also serves to support the lighting devices for the allegorical wooden sculptures.
A new solution was developed, starting from this installation point: a linear device installed on arms about 50 cm long. Special optics were developed for this device to illuminate the works with grazing light from the bottom upwards, while reducing the problem associated with grazing light, which usually highlights the surface texture. The optics developed also made it possible to reduce the number of devices needed.
The optics developed for this special product, which we shall call "Tintoretto module" here,and the position of the devices.
Sala Capitolare - Tintoretto's works on the ceiling
The ceiling features an arrangement of Tintoretto paintings with scenes from the Old Testament. The works are surrounded by a decoration with gilded stucco. It was necessary to create even lighting over the whole ceiling, with the ability to accentuate the lighting on the central works, and provide different combinations for specials visits.
Sala Capitolare - Wooden allegories
The allegorical sculptures were lit using a sculptural approach: Palco Ø 19 mm
devices on Low Voltage tracks
Sala Capitolare - Il Coro
Around the perimeter of the Sala Capitolare’s chancel, the doors of the eighteenth century cupboards which once contained the Scuola’s books and documents, display a series of twenty-four splendid bas-reliefs carved by Giovanni Marchiori between 1741 and 1743. Palco devices installed on floor-mounted LV tracks were used in this area. This solution also provides lighting from the bottom up, with the special feature of using a Palco Framer for each tile: all the devices are controlled by dimmers in order to balance the brightness of the light flows with the overall atmosphere in the space, and to be able to turn them on individually and gradually.
Sala Capitolare - Particolari architettonici
Other points of intervention were the area of the altar and the choir, the windows and the columns. The previous system did not light the choir and architectural elements, even though just these elements were lit originally: the works of Tinteretto were carried out later.
The outcome of the new system is:
- Better balance between the vertical and horizontal lighting;
- More even lighting levels, thanks to the possibility of dimming the devices, based on their positions and distances from the objects to be lit;
- Greater colour rendering and better differentiation of the materials used, especially regarding the gilding, for which a specific colour temperature was chosen in order not to give the gold too much weight.
- The use of DALI devices makes it possible to create scenes with different lighting combinations for special occasions.