Saint Mark's Square in the 15th century
The picture of Gentile Bellini, of impressive size (373x745 cm), is one of the most famous representations of Saint Mark's Square. It was done in 1496 and shows the transportation in procession of a relic from the Cross of Christ conserved in the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. This was an extremely significant event of great social, political and religious importance for the School and for the whole of Venice. The relic, 'A piece of the wood from the Cross' was donated to the School in 1369 by Filippo de' Mérzières, Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom of Cyprus and Jerusalem, who had received it in his turn from San Pietro Tommaso, Patriarch of Constantinople.