Drawing in Tintoretto’s Venice

October 12, 2018 through January 6, 2019

Jacopo Tintoretto (1518–1594) was among the most distinctive artists of the Italian Renaissance, but his drawings have never received the attention they deserve and remain unfamiliar even to many scholars. Drawing in Tintoretto’s Venice will be the first exhibition since 1956 to explore the drawing practice of this major figure of the Venetian Renaissance and will offer an entirely new perspective on Tintoretto’s evolution as a draftsman, his individuality as an artist, and his influence on a generation of painters in northern Italy. An introductory section of the exhibition will showcase works by Titian, Veronese, Bassano, and other contemporaries as a way to understand both Tintoretto’s sources as well as his originality. The heart of the show, featuring Tintoretto’s distinctive figure drawings—both preparatory drawings and a group of studies after sculptures by Michelangelo and others—will examine the use of drawings within the studio as well as teaching practices in the workshop. A following section will focus on artists—Domenico Tintoretto, Palma Giovane, and others working in Venice during the late sixteenth century—whose drawing style was influenced by Tintoretto’s, while in a final section, visitors will be able to consider an interesting group of drawings, previously attributed to Tintoretto or to Palma Giovane, which have recently been proposed as the work of the young El Greco during his time in Italy.

The exhibition brings together more than seventy drawings and a small group of related paintings from nearly two dozen public and private collections in Europe and the United States, including the Morgan Library & Museum, the National Gallery of Art (NGA), the Uffizi, the Louvre, and the British Museum, among others. Organized to mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the artist’s birth, this presentation coincides in New York with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition of Tintoretto portraits. When it travels to the NGA in March 2019, it will join a major retrospective of his paintings.

Drawing in Tintoretto’s Venice is made possible with lead support from the Robert Lehman Foundation, major funding from the Wolfgang Ratjen Stiftung, Liechtenstein, generous support from the Christian Humann Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ricciardi Family Exhibition Fund, Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and Herbert Kasper, and assistance from the Tavolozza Foundation, Diane A. Nixon, Jon and Barbara Landau, Save Venice Inc., and George Wachter.

National Endowment for the Arts

Tintoretto (1518-1594), Study of a seated nude, ca. 1549, black and white chalk on blue paper. Louvre 5385 © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, N.