Read our special section dedicated to Tintoretto to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his birth

2018 has been 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: in the year marking the five hundredth anniversary of his birth, the city on water has decided to pay him homage with a long list of initiatives aimed at celebrating the Venetian genius and his works!

As true insiders, we have naturally decided to pay homage to the great Tintoretto by creating this section dedicated especially to him: given the great interest aroused, we decided to readjust and publish it on even after the end of the year of the celebrations ... Here you will find information about the painter, the places where you can admire his works in Venice, interesting facts and activities to learn more about his artistic career!

Fascinating guided visits, designed with the local tour guides who have been collaborating with us for several years, admission tickets to museums and other institutions where his works are housed, as well as the opportunity to ask our experts any question you may have on the artist... Take advantage of the information we have collected in this section to come into contact with Tintoretto and his masterpieces in the lagoon!


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.


Events and activities planned in Venice in 2018 for Tintoretto 500

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... The five hundredth anniversary of his birth has therefore become a remarkable opportunity to bring to the attention of the general public this extraordinary artist whose masterpieces can be found throughout the entire city!

The five hundredth anniversary of his birth has therefore become a remarkable opportunity to bring to the attention of the general public this extraordinary artist whose masterpieces can be found throughout the entire city!

Two large exhibitions have been staged 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 were the centre of these events, hosting two fascinating Tintoretto exhibitions in Venice which ran 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: after Venice, the exhibition at the Doge’s Palace and at the Gallerie have been combined into a single exhibition - Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice – hosted at the National Gallery in Washington from March 24 to July 7, 2019. This is the first major exhibition on Tintoretto ever to be staged outside of Italy!

The Gallerie dell'Accademia hanno presentato 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, and many comparisons, with Tiziano above all.

The Doge’s Palace instead has displayed 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 was curated by Robert Echols and Frederick Ilchman, the same curator of the splendid exhibition on Tintoretto at Prado in 2007.

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 have been restored – a project made possible thanks to the initiative of the US Private Committee Save Venice - and a new guide on Tintoretto in Venice has been published, as well as a film dedicated to the artist, produced by the National Gallery for the American public television.

Additional information on the exhibitions and events organized in Venice in 2018 on: