Saturday 5 January 2019


The Palazzo Ducale here in Venice is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of the master of Venetian painting, Tintoretto with a stunning array of his masterworks: paintings that impress by their freedom of brushwork, their relentlessly challenging compositions, their striking use of perspective and their depiction of powerfully muscular figures that reflect his huge admiration of Michelangelo.

In the painting 'Saint George, Saint Louis and the Princess' (1552), St George's broken lance, the slithy dragon and his Princess-rider seem almost to be forcing their way out of the canvas into the viewer's space...

This painting of 'The Presentation of Christ in the Temple' (c. 1554-1556) was painted to be viewed from the right-hand side, hence the position of this photograph. It was commissioned by the guild of coopers – hence the small barrel on the altar steps!

'The Deposition of Christ' (1562) seems to me one of the most extraordinarily poignant paintings of this post-Crucifixion scene in that here, unlike other artistic depictions (including Michelangelo's Pietà), Mary is not sorrowfully but serenely cradling her dead son, she is fainting away with the shock and horror of the moment...

These last two paintings – 'Saint Andrew and Saint Jerome' (1552) and 'The Forge of Vulcan' (1578) show the physical power and energy that Tintoretto was one of hallmarks of his brilliance and contributed in no small measure to his brilliantly successful career.

Photos: David Weeks

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