“Isola di San Spirito”
Media: acrylic on board
Size: 102 x 102 cm
The oldest known history of San Spirito dates back to 1140, when the Canons Regular of the Augustan order lived there. Two centuries later, in 1380, the monks were expelled from the island due to their distinctly non religious lifestyle. Cistercians fleeing Chioggia settled there. In 1430 the Augustinians arrived who, until a few years previously, had been based on Lazzaretto Vecchio; they rebuilt the church designed by Sansovino and enriched it with paintings by Palma Vecchio, Bonifacio and Titian. For a short time a part of the convent was used as a printing press for music books.
The Augustinians were forced to leave the island under the oppression of Pope Alexander VII in 1656; the Venetian Senate sold their property, obtaining funds to make up for some costs of war (at that time the war was raging in Candia). The valuable works of art were instead transferred to the church of la Salute, which was still under construction.
When Venice lost the island of Candia a congregation of the Friars Minor fleeing Candia were allowed to settle on Santo Spirito. They remained there until 1806. With the arrival of Napoleon, both the church and the monastery were plundered and the island was used as a military garrison, with the demolition of old buildings to make way for barracks and sheds. Finally it became a powder magazine during World War II. The island is today completely abandoned. It has since passed into private ownership.