Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings


Exhibition Dates:  October 16, 2018–January 27, 2019
Exhibition Location:  The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 1, Gallery 955

Jacopo Tintoretto (1518/19–1594) was one of the preeminent Venetian painters of the 16th century and was renowned for his dynamic narrative scenes and insightful portraits. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth, The Met will present Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings. This focused exhibition will unite 21 works from European and American museums and private collections, bringing them into a larger discussion of the artist’s approach to portraiture and painting, as well as the role of drawings in his workshop.

Characterized by their immediacy, penetrating observation, and startling modernity, Tintoretto’s small-scale, informal portrait heads are an innovative aspect of his portraiture, and one that has been little studied. Seen together for the first time, these portrait studies will reveal Tintoretto’s famous quickness (prestezza) as a painter, capturing both the spirit and appearance of the sitter.

Jacopo Tintoretto, Head of a Man, c. 1550s

Jacopo Tintoretto, Head of a Man, c. 1550s Photograph: Courtesy Royal Collection, London
“Tintoretto created intensely powerful portraits, and the opportunity to look at these brilliant studies alongside one another allows us to recognize and appreciate the urgency and tremendous skill in these paintings,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings

Jacopo Tintoretto (Italian, 1518/19–1594). Portrait of a Man (Self-Portrait?), 1550s? Oil on canvas. Private collection. Courtesy of the Met Museum. 

Facets of artistic practice in the Tintoretto workshop will come to light in the exhibition’s exploration of the relationship between Jacopo and his son Domenico.

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Central here will be a series of bold figural drawings and a painting in the Museum’s collection, The Finding of Moses, whose long-debated attribution to both father and son will play a key role in the discussion of this flourishing workshop.

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings is organized by Andrea Bayer, The Met’s interim Deputy Director for Collections and Administration and Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings, and Alison Manges Nogueira, Associate Curator in the Robert Lehman Collection.

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