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Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.
03 November 2017
Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 24: MIA Marietta Tintoretta
This is the script (not a transcript, as I change elements when recording).
Dr Great Art Podcast 24
MIA: Marietta Tintoretta
Hi this is Mark
Staff Brandl, with the 24th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you
enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today my Artecdote
is about an artist who greatly needs to be rediscovered. Not only her NAME but
her works! Marietta Tintoretta.
Marietta Robusti (1560? – 1590) was a Venetian
painter of the Late Renaissance period. She was the daughter of Tintoretto, one
of my favorite artists. She is sometimes referred to as Tintoretta.
Marietta Robusti died when she was thirty during child birth,
as so many of the women of that time did. She was the eldest daughter of the
painter Jacopo Robusti, whose nickname was 'Tintoretto,' "the little dyer"
after his father’s occupation as a tintore, or dyer of cloth. This
nickname according to legend was an insult from Titian, the superstar of
Venetian painting. Although Tintoretto was the best artist influenced by Titian
of the next generation, the older and far more successful Titian seems to have
been petty-minded, perhaps even envious, of Tintoretto and even worked behind
his back to interfere with him winning competitions and the like. Ah, the
artworld now and then are often similar!
Back to his daughter --- she is variously known as Marietta
Robusti, Marietta Tintoretto, and la Tintoretta. Her mother apparently died
young, and is of unknown, perhaps German heritage. Marietta was followed by
three brothers and four sisters from her father's second love and first legal
wife, Faustina Episcopi, her step-mother.
The primary source mentioning Marietta Robusti's life is Carlo
Ridolfi's Life of Tintoretto, first published in 1642, although she is
mentioned briefly in Raffaelo Borghini’s Il Riposo della Pitura e della
Scultura of 1584.
Marietta's artistic training seemingly consisted of serving
an apprenticeship in the collaborative environment of her father’s workshop,
something that was largely illegal at the time for women (as those who have
listened to my Dr Great Art Episode Nr. 1 know). She appears from records to
have had a close, loving relationship with her father, who was devastated by
her early death. As a child, he dressed her like a boy so that she could go
everywhere with him and receive the illegal apprenticeship training with little
Marietta was known to have been extremely talented. It is
claimed she contributed to her father’s paintings with backgrounds, figure
blocking, and so on as usual for apprentices, but later became his favorite
assistant. And that, might I add was NOT hidden then, but rather proclaimed. Carlo
Ridolfi stated, she was one of the most illustrious women of her time.
In her father's studio, as was the case with all workshops
of that time, altarpieces and the like were all put under the name of the
master (her father here), to earn more money, yet the assistants were not
hidden. Our conception of the single work made by a single artist is very much
one coming of Modernism. Renaissance and Baroque artists looked at it how we
conceive of filmmaking. And with an open, sliding scale of prices for panel
paintings depending on how much the master was involved.
Both Emperor Maximilian and King Philip II of Spain
expressed interest in hosting her as a court painter, but her father refused
their invitations on her behalf. It is said he did so because he couldn’t bear
to part with her, but it may have been to protect her as well. In 1578 she
married a Venetian jeweller and silversmith, Jacopo Augusta.
The only painting that can NOW be conclusively attributed to
Marietta Robusti is her Self Portrait (c. 1580; Uffizi Gallery,
Florence). This portrait depicts Marietta posed before a harpsichord, holding a
musical text that has been identified as a madrigal.
There are other attributions as well, but this is an area of
art history that DRASTICALLY needs to be worked on.
There is, by the way, an excellent, relatively new, novel of
historical fiction concerning Marietta Tintoretta, titled Tintorettos Engel, by Melania G.
Mazzucco, available only in German and Italian, but I hope in English soon too.
I read it in German and thoroughly enjoyed it
What happened to most of her work if she were indeed so
well-known as it seems? Maybe reattributed. Her achievements have probably been
concealed under the success and fame of her father. First, as almost no works
were signed at this time by any artist, paintings that earlier everyone knew
were by Tintoretto, his daughter and even his son Marco together (apparently
the second best apprentice after Marietta), through time became only known as
Tintorettos --- both due to forgetfulness and the desire to make the provenance
easier and values higher. Tintoretto himself after all has gone through waves
of appreciation and neglect as well. Perhaps that is true of individual
Tintoretta works as well that were FULLY by her, yet now hang in museums under
daddy's name! She had his style, as was recorded at the time, yet was also
unique in many ways. Once again, I call for courageous young art historians to
take on this subject and attempt to do the research and connoisseurship
necessary to rediscover her works, which likely are hidden in broad daylight!
MIA: Marietta Tintoretta!
Thanks for listening. Podcast number 24.
Thanks for the recent huge upsurge in listeners, by many
thousands! Thanks to Salon.com for recommending my podcast as a great art
history one. If you enjoy my podcasts, please go to iTunes / Apple podcasts and
give me 5 stars and a recommendation! It helps others find this podcast.
Additionally, if you have any questions or requests for topics, please feel
free to contact me with them! I'd truly enjoy covering them!
If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully
inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark
Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom
Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.
I take viewers inside visual art and art history.
Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and
discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire
eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired
theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with
painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.
Some recent ones were on the entire history of Postmodernist
Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, on Mongrel Art, and
on Women in Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and
the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme
song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends
every Dr Great Art Podcast.