"Scuola" (School) is the term used in the ancient Republic of Venice to indicate the confraternity or association of laic citizens who, inspired by the principle of Christian charity, committed themselves to reciprocal material and spiritual assistance religious practices toward the patron saint of their schools. From the innumerable schools of Venice, six "Scuole Grandi" (Great Schools) were distinguished (Misericordia, San Giovanni Evangelista, Carità, San Marco, San Rocco, San Teodoro). In the course of time, the "Scuole Grandi" erected monumental buildings, within which they placed many works representing some of the highest episodes of Venetian art. Of the six great schools still in existence, the "Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista" is the most ancient (established in 1261). After the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797, the schools were suppressed by a Napoleonic edict (1807), however, during the 19th century some were reconstituted, and among them was the "Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista".