Voices from Venice - 3rd of 4 readings from John Ruskin's writing on Venice

11th February 2022
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St George and the Dragon

Reading: ‘The Shrine of the Slaves’, Ch 10 of St Mark’s Rest, beginning at § 159 (LE, 24: 335).

‘Supreme, serene, unassuming, unfaltering sweetness’: what Ruskin has to say about Carpaccio’s paintings of St George in the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. This very Venetian institution, also known as the Scuola Dalmata, is still active, with several hundred Venetian confratelli and consorelle, many of whom proudly give their time to work there.

MICHELLE LOVRIĆ, novelist, writer, campaigner, Companion of the Guild

Second reader: Eminent actor JOSEPH MYDELL will read excerpts from Ruskin’s observations on the art of the scuola, interspersed with brief context from Fors Clavigera.


This is the third of four monthly readings from Ruskin’s writings about Venice, December 2021 to March 2022, culminating in a one-day public online conference on 2 April 2022 rooted in the knowledge and passion of a group of Companions concerned about the diverse challenges facing Venice which all arguably arise from confusing ‘illth’ with ‘wealth’.

Venice is wealthy in so many ways – the diversity of its inhabitants, its architectural and artistic treasures, its gardens and its food culture, its location in the precious ecosystem of the lagoon, its strong craft traditions – yet many pressures combine to make the lives of the resident community difficult to sustain and moreover put the cultural and social heritage of Venice at risk. A new kind of thoughtful tourism (such as Ruskin himself practised) is needed – gentle, slow and sustainable.

A new kind of economic system is also needed, one that respects the fact that Venice is a living community rather than a stage set for visitors; and one that resets the damaging over-exploitation of the earth’s resources and provides for a more sustainable future for the city and the Venetian Lagoon.

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Michelle Lovric

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Joseph Mydell, photograph by Matthew Seadon-Young