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Tintoretto and the Biennale: the Painter of Light and the Biennale of Illuminations

Saturday, October 29th, 2011 – Teatro alle Tese, Arsenale, 3 p.m.
Tintoretto and the Biennale: the Painter of Light and the Biennale of Illuminations
Speakers: Paolo Baratta, Renato Barilli, Melania Mazzucco, Giandomenico Romanelli and Abbot Norberto Villa
 
Paolo Baratta has been the President of the Biennale di Venezia since 2008, after having served a first term as president between 1998 and 2002.
Renato Barilli (1935), art and literary critic and historian, he is the director of the School of Specialization in the Historical and Artistic Heritage of the University of Bologna. His book, Maniera moderna e Manierismo, was published by Feltrinelli in 2004.
Melania Mazzucco (1966), winner of the Premio Strega in 2003, wrote a novel about the last days of Tintoretto’s life entitled La lunga attesa dell’angelo published by Rizzoli in 2008. In 2009 she also published a biography of the painter entitled Jacomo Tintoretto e i suoi figli.
Father Norberto Villa is the Abbot of the Benedictine Fathers of the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, which lent The Last Supper by Tintoretto, now on exhibit in the Central Pavilion for the ILLUMInations exhibition.
Giandomenico Romanelli (1945), a professor and art historian, was the director of the Civic Museums in Venice from 1979 to 2011. He is the author of many books including Tintoretto: la Scuola Grande di San Rocco published by Electa in 1994.
 
Bice Curiger, “ILLUMInations”, text from the catalogue of the Art Biennale 2011, Marsilio Editori
“The 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale has incorporated something that is normally kept outside—an Old Master, Tintoretto, the painter of light. […] In many respects Tintoretto’s art is unorthodox and experimental, distinguished by dramatic lighting and a turbulent compositional style that make him a forerunner of the Baroque. Tintoretto was one of the first artists to paint on canvas with a dark ground. His technique was swift, derived from fresco painting. So although his brushwork produced a sketchy, uneven finish on the surface, the impression created of being viewed from further away was carefully premeditated. Although in his own time he was often reproached for his prestezza, his “hurried painting,” today we particularly admire the skill with which Tintoretto’s art openly mediates between two realities, between the pictorial (illusion) and pure painting. In his works the brushstroke assumes a kind of autonomy, released from its function of subservience to representation. 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 fuelled by the friction that results from letting a reckless Old Master become involved in a contemporary context”.
 
Paolo di Stefano, “Tintoretto’s Last Remorse – A Daughter Sacrificed to Genius”, Il Corriere della Sera, 12 November 2008 (an interview with Melania Mazzucco)
“I wanted to talk about the relationship with what we create. Reading the aesthetic theories of the time, I learned a great many things: invention is bringing light, ‘detaching’, separating objects from the background, deciding from what distance to look at them. Tintoretto is a master in framing an image, he has a striking way of looking up close. In fact some reproach him for looking too close at the important people he portrays because he ends up revealing their flaws: these are issues that are pertinent to literature as well”.
 
Reading by Melania Mazzucco at the Spazio Esedra, Giardini, Jo Jacomo Tentoreto pitor contento (4 June 2011)  Video >>