Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tintoretto and The Light

The Last Supper (1592-94) by Jacopo Tintoretto 
(Venice, Italy) This year's 54th Venice International Contemporary Art Festival, ILLUMInations, stars three paintings by an ancient master, Jacopo Tintoretto, who would have been 493-years-old this year. Bice Curiger, the curator remarks:

...His compositions are audacious and fly in the face of classical Renaissance rules, while the light in his paintings, rather than being cool or harmoniously integrated, is "ecstatic" and at times almost feverish. [...] The presentation of Tintoretto at this year's Biennale is not meant as an espousal of some notion of "classical timelessness." Far from seeking to trace superficial formal analogies between Tintoretto and art of the present, it concerns a form of pictorial energy that is altogether "anti-classical" but is also the kind fueled by the friction that results from letting a reckless Old Master become involved in a contemporary context.

If we look at the Last Supper, we can see that Tintoretto was a bit of a radical:

From Wikipedia:

The Last Supper (1592-1594) is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Jacopo Tintoretto. It is housed in the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, northern Italy.
Different from usual depictions of the Last Supper, the work does not portray the apostles in the centre of the scene which is instead occupied by secondary characters, such as a woman carrying a dish or the servants taking the dishes from the table. Tintoretto's Last Supper incorporates many Mannerist devices, including an imbalanced composition and visual complexity. The ability of this dramatic scene to engage viewers was well in keeping with Counter-Reformation ideals and the Catholic Church's belief in the didactic nature of religious art.
The setting is also similar to a Venetian inn. Also personal is the use of light, which appears to come into obscurity from both the light on the ceiling and from Jesus'aureola.

The Stealing of the Dead Body of St. Mark (1562-66)
According to Paolo Baratta, the President of Biennale, Meetings on Art are conversations, open to the public, which "are intended to confirm the role of la Biennale di Venezia as an institution open to knowledge and the spirit of exploration, worth a pilgrimage." Judging by the crowds that were there on Saturday, October 29, there are still plenty of people making the pilgrimage late unto the season -- there were 22,242 visitors for the week of October 16 to 22, making ILLUMInations the most visited exhibition in Italy.

Creation of the Animals (1550-53)
Please forgive the brevity of this blog, but I seem to have twisted my wrist!
Ciao from Venice,

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