. From 07 march  to 01 july 2018

Tintoret. Birth of a Genius

Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris

. https://museeduluxembourg.fr

Celebrating the 500th anniversary of his birth, this exhibition traces the rise of Tintoretto and the decisive years of his career. It will explore how he built himself to become the most brilliant representative of the Venetian Mannerism.


This exhibition is organized by the Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais, Paris and WallrafRichartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne. Presented in Cologne from the 6 October 2017 to 28 January 2018.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Jacopo Robusti, better known as Tintoretto, the WallrafRichartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud and the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais have come together to celebrate the one of the most fascinating artists of the Venetian Renaissance. The exhibition will focus on the first fifteen years of his career. It will place his «early works» in the spotlight, from his earliest known work, the Adoration of the magi from the Prado, painted before his 20th birthday, to the important commissions from the early 1550s that brought him center stage: Original Sin for a brotherhood (one of the famous Venetian ‘scuole’) or Saint Louis, Saint George and the Princess, commissioned by one of the Venetian government seats, near the Rialto.

Although this less well known stage of Tintoretto’s life has led to much debate, it is a decisive and determining period in our understanding of his character. The exhibition aims to document the origins of an ambitious young artist, born of the Venetian tradition but also open to the many artistic forms and ideas from other parts of Italy, and determined to reinvent painting in cosmopolitan 16th century Venice, which was seeking to project a new image of itself to the world at that time. Religious and secular painting, painted ceilings and rapidly executed small works, portraits of famous figures and close friends, drawings and sketches... the works collected here are testament to the diversity of Tintoretto’s craft, the richness of his visual and intellectual culture and his desire to attract the eye and the soul with his audacity.

The exhibition offers a thematic tour that defines the characteristics of these early years of activity: 1- Taking off, 2- Decorating salons, 3- Capturing the gaze, 4- Sharing the workshop, 5- Staging, 6- Observing sculpture, 7- Painting the female. The exhibition highlights the strategies Tintoretto established to make himself known, attracting a cultivated and influential clientèle that would bring him important commissions in Venice. It explores his working methods and his collaboration with the artist Giovanni Galizzi, who subsequently produced a number of works from his models. But the exhibition also unravels Tintoretto’s creative process by demonstrating the importance of the emulation of other arts. Several of his paintings represent buildings in perspectives inspired by stage backdrops, which demonstrate both an acute awareness of contemporary architecture and an interest in the theatrical world. The artist also collected miniatures of famous sculptures, both antique and modern, and endlessly practised drawing them from different perspectives and frequently quoting from them in his own paintings.

The exhibition highlights his boundless imagination and eclecticism and also the trial and error of a young artist in search of his own identity. It is an opportunity to assess a controversial period of his career, to enhance awareness and inform the public of the latest advances in scientific research, shedding light on his personality and his life. It definitively recounts the social ascendency of a man of humble extraction, a dyer’s son whose talent allowed him to climb the ranks of society and forge his reputation without ever forgetting his origins: ‘Tintoretto’ literally means ‘the little dyer’.

curators : general curator : Roland Krischel, curator of Medieval Painting, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne; scientific adviser : Michel Hochmann, director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL); deputy Curator of the Paris exhibition : Cécile Maisonneuve, scientific Advisor to the RMN-GP set design : Véronique Dollfus