Old Master Drawings

Exhibitions Celebrate Tintoretto's 500th Birthday

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© RMN / RÈunion des MusÈes Na/© RMN / RÈunion des MusÈes Na
Jacopo Tintoretto, Self-Portrait, circa 1588.

If artists lived forever, Jacopo Robusti, the great Venetian Renaissance painter better known as Tintoretto, would turn 500 this year. Lauded in his lifetime as one of Venice’s “big three” artists, along with Titian and Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto was renowned for his bold compositions and dramatic use of chiaroscuro. But his reputation has been obscured over the years by falsely attributed works that were actually painted by lesser 16th-century artists. “Tintoretto can be a confusing artist,” says independent Tintoretto scholar Robert Echols. “Paintings by workshop assistants and followers are often mistaken for his own.”

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National Gallery of Art/image courtesy National Gallery of Art
Jacopo Tintoretto, Summer, circa 1555. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Samuel H. Kress Collection

Echols and Frederick Ilchman, chairman of the Art of Europe at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have organised a forthcoming exhibition in Venice. Based on extensive new research, Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice brings together some of his best works including around 70 paintings and drawings.

“Maintaining rigorous standards of attribution and quality allows the exhibition to present a far stronger and more coherent artist, one consistent with the remarkably high reputation he enjoyed during his lifetime,” Echols says. Work will be displayed at the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Palazzo Ducale, with related exhibitions at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Scuola Grande di San Marco and the Palazzo Mocenigo, before travelling to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in March.

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Jacopo Tintoretto, Man with a Golden Chain, circa 1555. ©Photographic Archive Museo Nacional del Prado

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Various venues in Venice, 7 September–6 January 2019; National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, 10 March–7 July 2019.

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