Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Tintoretto and His Jewish Neighbors

By Menachem Wecker
From The Creation of the Animals, 1550-1553, oil on canvas, by Jacopo Tintoretto. National Gallery of Art.
Standing in the largest room of the recent exhibition Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, I was tempted to judge this Old Master, known for his dramatic staging and intense light, by the company of his sitters. In one enormous painting from c. 1575, Alvise Mocenigo, the doge—that is, highest official—of Venice and his family peer out at us while behind them are the Madonna and Child: the Holy Family itself. A few years before Tintoretto created this picture, which suggests that the doge’s wealth and power have won his family an audience with divinity, Mocenigo had advocated the expulsion of the Jews from Venice. [More]