MSB brainstorming

03 November 2017

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 24: MIA Marietta Tintoretta

The new Dr Great Art Podcast! Episode 24:
An artist who greatly needs to be rediscovered. Not only her name, but her works! Marietta Tintoretta. The daughter of Jacopo Rubusti, aka Tintoretto. Renowned as a great artist in her time, the Late Renaissance, now disappeared.

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 notice.

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 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.

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