jueves, 21 de febrero de 2019


Tess Thackara

Jacopo Tintoretto, The Origin of the Milky Way, c. 1576/78. © The National Gallery, London.

In 16th-century Venice, an artistic arms race was underway. A young painter named Tintoretto was striving to establish himself alongside—and perhaps even to eclipse—his rivals. During the Renaissance, Venice was a place where artists worked at the vanguard of painting, incorporating humanist ideas and technical innovations that arrived from Florence and Rome, and outdoing them. Titian, the city’s leading painter, cast a long shadow over the next generation of artists. Meanwhile, Tintoretto’s contemporary Veronese was earning praise for his rich, elaborate compositions. In the midst of this competition, Tintoretto fought to secure the most prestigious commissions from the city’s churches, ducal palaces, and guilds. He also sought to distinguish himself by creating larger and larger paintings. But how to compete with Titian’s refinement, sensuality, and transporting architectural settings, or Veronese’s opulent color?

The two curators behind a landmark survey of Tintoretto’s work, which marks the 500th anniversary of his birth, hope to show that he offered something quite distinct. Tintoretto’s devotion to the Catholic Church and knack for dramatic storytelling made him “the great painter of religious narrative in the 16th century, who tells the stories of the Bible and the saints with a kind of operatic grandeur,” said Frederick Ilchman, who, along with fellow Tintoretto expert Robert Echols, curated the blockbuster exhibition, set to open at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., next month. Tintoretto also made invaluable contributions to the development of oil painting, forging a rapid painting technique that enabled his hand to keep up with his lofty ambitions.
In so doing, Tintoretto advanced a looser, broader brushstroke and a more expressive, direct quality to his paint-handling and compositions—a precedent that the curators see echoed in works by El Greco, Gustave Courbet, and other giants of the art-historical canon. Indeed, the composition of Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656) is based on Tintoretto’s The Washing of the Feet (ca. 1548–49), which Velázquez observed in the Spanish royal collection. “It’s really hard to imagine later painters like Rubens and Delacroix, or Van Gogh for that matter, who loved a rich play of paint and strong, aggressive marks, without Tintoretto as a predecessor,” Ilchman said…………..


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