Discover our suggestions and all the events dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the birth of Tintoretto in Venice

2018 will be a very special year in Venice, dedicated to the celebration of one of its most famous sons, the painter Jacopo Robusti, known by everyone as Tintoretto. This year marks the five hundredth anniversary of his birth and the city on water has decided to pay him homage with a long list of initiatives.

As true insiders, we have naturally decided to pay homage to the great Tintoretto by creating this section dedicated especially to him. Here you can find events, interesting facts and activities to discover his life and his works in Venice!

We have fascinating guided visits, created with the help of Francesca, our local tour guide who curates our section ‘aneddoti e curiosità’, and who also cultivates a great passion for the Venetian painter. We also offer you the chance to buy tickets to the places where his works are kept, as well as the opportunity to ask any question you may have on the artist to our expert... Take advantage of the information we have collected in this section to come into contact with Tintoretto and his masterpieces in the lagoon!

Events in Venice

Among the four great Venetian Renaissance artists - Giorgione, Tiziano, Veronese and Tintoretto - the latter is the only one to be intimately Venetian ... Tintoretto was born, lived and died in Venice, a city in which he left an incredible amount of masterpieces. Despite this, it has been since 1937 that his city has not given Tintoretto a major exhibition...

Two large exhibitions will be organised for Tintoretto 500, surrounded by other events, minor exhibitions and initiatives to spread knowledge of this artist and of all his works kept in Venice.

The Gallerie dell'Accademia and the Doge’s Palace will be the heart of these events, hosting two fascinating Tintoretto exhibitions in Venice which can be visited from September 7th 2018 to January 6th 2019, organized in collaboration with the National Gallery of Washington. The American museum houses important works by the Venetian painter which were lent to Venice for the celebrations. Washington is getting ready to host the biggest overseas exhibition on Tintoretto ever: after Venice, in fact, the exhibition at the Doge’s Palace and at the Gallerie will be merged into a single exhibition - Tintoretto: the artist of Venice at 500 – precisely at the National Gallery in Washington.

The Gallerie dell'Accademia will present Tintoretto's youth production, focusing on the decade 1538-1548. At the center of the exhibition 'The Miracle of the Slave', housed at the Gallerie dell'Accademia and considered to be one of the key works of the young Tintoretto for the extraordinary colors and chiaroscuro effects. There will also be comparisons, with Tiziano above all.

At the Doge’s Palace instead you will have the chance to admire about 70 autograph paintings and drawings, that is, works made by him without any intervention from his workshop or scholars. The exhibition at the Doge’s Palace is curated by Robert Echols and Frederick Ilchman, the same curator of the splendid exhibition on Tintoretto at Prado in 2007. Also unforgettable are the works of Tintoretto which are already at the Doge’s Palace as the four mythological allegories for the Atrio Quadrato, then moved to the Sala dell'Anticollegio, and recently restored and returned to their original chromatic liveliness.

The later production of the artist will instead be on display in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, the 'Sistine Chapel' of Tintoretto. The exceptional chromatic and light-technique evolution of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is an unmissable stage for every enthusiast. The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is in fact included in the initiatives for the celebrations that, as already mentioned, include exhibitions and a rediscovery of the works scattered around Venice.

On the occasion of the celebrations for Tintoretto 2018, some fifteen works by the artist in Venice and his funeral monument in the church of the Madonna dell'Orto will be restored – a project made possible thanks to the initiative of the US Private Committee Save Venice - and a new guide on Tintoretto in Venice will be created, as well as a film dedicated to the artist, produced by the National Gallery for the American public television and also visible at the Doge’s Palace and the Gallerie dell'Accademia. Another project for Tintoretto 500 concerns the cycle created for the Scuola Grande di San Marco - now fragmented and partly housed at the Gallerie dell'Accademia and partly at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan - which will be recomposed in digital format.

The prerequisites for the project’s success are all there... The aim is to organize the largest exhibition on Tintoretto in recent decades, a way to pay homage to a great artist who has undoubtedly contributed to the beauty of our city.

2018 events on Tintoretto in Venezia


Tintoretto’s biography

One of the greatest exponents of the Venetian school and last great painter of the Italian Renaissance: this is Tintoretto, also known as Jacopo Robusti. The nickname he is known for worldwide derives from his father's business: Battista Robusti was a well-known dyer of Venetian fabrics. His father was most likely part of those Venetian 'citizens' who, though not part of the aristocracy, enjoyed certain privileges... Thanks to his father's position, Tintoretto could count on the support of the Patricians and was on good terms with the elite of the Serenissima. When Tintoretto was born precisely remains uncertain as his baptism certificate was lost in the fire of the San Polo archives; from other documents it was deduced that he could have been born between September-October of 1518 or April-May of 1519.

Little is known on Tintoretto's childhood either, since no documents related to his studies have ever been found. It is likely that he developed his interest in painting in his father's workshop, which, in order to satisfy his inclinations, succeeded in finding him a place in Tiziano’s workshop. But it seems like the great master, noticing the talent of the young Tintoretto and fearing he would become his rival, threw him out of his workshop a few days later...

What is sure is that in 1539 Tintoretto already went with the title of master and had his own studio at Campo San Cassiàn, in the district of San Polo. His first commission came from Vettor Pisani who, on the occasion of his wedding, asked for his residence in San Paterniàn to be renovated, entrusting the 23 year-old with the task of completing 16 paintings on Ovid's metamorphosis on the ceiling. To fulfil his client’s wishes, fascinated by the powerful perspective of Giulio Romano, Tintoretto went to Palazzo Te in Mantua to study in person the work of the Rome artist. After this first commission, Venice became an open shop for him... The Church of Santa Maria dell'Orto, his relationship with Scuola Grande di San Marco, assignments for the Albergo della Scuola della Trinità, ... But his dream remained to work for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a dream that he succeeded to fulfil, even becoming a member of the School, embellishing the interiors with masterpieces that can still be admired today. Let's not forget the Sansoviniana Library, the Church of San Marziale and the Doge’s Palace where, in addition to the paintings in Saletta degli Inquisitori and the frescoes in the ceiling compartments in Sala delle Quattro Porte, upon the death of Veronese he completed the splendid Paradise in the Hall of the Great Council.

In addition to these great works, Tintoretto was also an excellent portrait painter and, despite the great competition he had to face in Venice, he managed to establish himself on the market thanks to his speed. In portraiture he was helped by his sons Domenico and Marietta and it seems that the skill of the daughter was known to all. He painted portraits of nobles, politicians and other prominent figures of Venetian society, including some of the most famous courtesans of the time, among which we shall remember Veronica Franco.

He left Venice only for an assignment received by the Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga who wanted him in Mantua to complete a series of works for the Doge’s palace.

His last works were two paintings for the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore, which he completed at more than 70 years of age.

He died on May 31st 1594, after a very debilitating fever. He is buried in the Church of Madonna dell'Orto.