I. Venice in the Years of Doge Gritti

The first section offers an overview of the painting being undertaken in Venice during the 1530s, and highlights the most significant circumstances for putting into context the early years of Tintoretto. Thanks to the policy of relaunching Venice by the doge Andrea Gritti and as a result of many external factors, in this period there was great turmoil in the art world too: from the Tuscan architect and sculptor Jacopo Sansovino, who was to give a new look to the city by replacing local forms of architecture with those based on antique models, to the Bolognese architect Sebastiano Serlio who brought to the city his experience developed with Baldassare Peruzzi in Bologna and Rome, and to the writer Pietro Aretino.

As a result of these new stimuli, the classical colour tradition underwent a crisis. That period, still much alive in the 1530s, is recalled in the show by the presence of Titian and other Venetian artists who, even though undergoing other influences, kept him as their main point of reference, such as Bonifacio Veronese, Paris Bordon, and Polidoro da Lanciano, as well as Pordenone, the artist from Fruili, who brought new and innovative aspects and proposals of great dramatic power.

mostra tintoretto_bonifacio

Bonifacio De' Pitati, Giustizia e Temperanza, Modena, Galleria Estense 

II. The Tuscans Venice

The arrival in Venice between 1539 and 1541 of Tuscan artists, educated in the taste of central Italy and matured in the Clementine tradition, such as Francesco Salviati who, together with his pupil Giuseppe Porta, settled in Venice, and Giorgio Vasari, the great friend of Aretino, was a fundamental occasion for a comparison between the Venetian figurative tradition, based on a close contact with a reality captured in all its atmospheric and luminous values, and this central Italian tradition characterised by an intellectual approach of linear abstraction and sophisticated elegance; a precious and extremely decorative lesson in style.


Giuseppe Porta detto Salviati, Resurrezione di Lazzaro, Venezia, Fondazione Cini

III. The Beginnings of Jacopo

There are brought together in this section some twenty works made by Tintoretto between the end of the 1530s and the first half of the 1540s, all from important Italian and foreign institutions and private collections, and which will attempt to recount the artist’s stylistic development during these years: a period in which the young Jacopo pushed on with incessant experimentation. Furthermore, he started from various models and developed and transformed them with great expressive urgency.
This discourse starts from the unreal and fantastic atmospheres of the great canvas of the Conversione di San Paolo, now in Washington, and continues with the Sacra Conversazione undertaken for the Venetian Molin family in 1540, today in a private collection; and the mythical tales for the ceiling of Palazzo Pisani in San Paternian in Venice, and now in the Galleria Estense in Modena. The Budapest Cena in Emmaus redevelops and transforms Titian’s traditional scheme by stretching the spatial and dynamic sense, while in Cristo fra I dottori, an amazingly fascinating work now in Milan, his interest in a traditional kind of architectural-spatial layout, both hinted at and avoided, is united to an innovative monumental dimension and a more relaxed narrative verve.

mostra Tintoretto_cristo tra i dottori

Jacopo Robusti, detto Tintoretto, Cristo tra i dottori, Milano, Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo

IV. His success un Venetian Scene

In the years immediately after 1545 Tintoretto was employed in the creation of large-scale canvases, often with a horizontal form, and based on sacred subjects. These are paintings of a notable involvement and that are characterised by a wide-ranging narrative and a more dramatic impulse. In just a few years (1546-48) there was a flood of works, represented here by the San Marcuolo Ultima cena, which bears witness to the painter’s uncontainable need to experiment with new languages, together with an artistic development so rapid as to have no comparisons.
The conclusion of the itinerary is marked by the Miracolo dello schiavo (1548), an absolute masterpiece from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, a work that was to definitively seal the public renown of Tintoretto.

The young Tintoretto
Curated by Roberta Battaglia, Paola Marini, Vittoria Romani
September 7 2018 – January 6 2019
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Opening hours

Monday: 8.15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
(ticket office closes at 1 p.m.);
Tuesday – Sunday: 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m.
(ticket office closes at 6.15 p.m.).

Monday special opening, until December 17th
shows The young Tintoretto and Palladian Wing
2 p.m.-6 p.m. (ticket office closing at 5.30 p.m.)

Information and booking
Tel. +39 041 5200345