Press release

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings

Celebrating Tintoretto

Exhibition Dates:  October 16, 2018–January 27, 2019
Exhibition Location:  The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 1, Gallery 955

Jacopo Tintoretto (1518/19–1594) was one of the preeminent Venetian painters of the 16th century and was renowned for his dynamic narrative scenes and insightful portraits. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth, The Met will present Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings. This focused exhibition will unite 21 works from European and American museums and private collections, bringing them into a larger discussion of the artist’s approach to portraiture and painting, as well as the role of drawings in his workshop.

Characterized by their immediacy, penetrating observation, and startling modernity, Tintoretto’s small-scale, informal portrait heads are an innovative aspect of his portraiture, and one that has been little studied. Seen together for the first time, these portrait studies will reveal Tintoretto’s famous quickness (prestezza) as a painter, capturing both the spirit and appearance of the sitter.

“Tintoretto created intensely powerful portraits, and the opportunity to look at these brilliant studies alongside one another allows us to recognize and appreciate the urgency and tremendous skill in these paintings,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Facets of artistic practice in the Tintoretto workshop will come to light in the exhibition’s exploration of the relationship between Jacopo and his son Domenico. Central here will be a series of bold figural drawings and a painting in the Museum’s collection, The Finding of Moses, whose long-debated attribution to both father and son will play a key role in the discussion of this flourishing workshop.

The exhibition is made possible by the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Placido Arango Fund.

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings is organized by Andrea Bayer, The Met’s interim Deputy Director for Collections and Administration and Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings, and Alison Manges Nogueira, Associate Curator in the Robert Lehman Collection.

The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet that will be available in the gallery.


In a MetFridays talk on October 26, Benjamin Paul, Associate Professor at Rutgers University, will explore Tintoretto’s The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, which exemplifies the artist’s unique and rarely studied feminine style (free with Museum admission, 6:30 p.m.).

On Friday, November 2, an in-gallery talk—part of the “Conversations With…” series—will be led by curators Andrea Bayer and Alison Nogueira. This lively, 30-minute dialogue will focus on Tintoretto’s portraiture and drawings (free with Museum admission, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.).

On Thursday, November 8, Andrea Bayer will survey a panorama of remarkable and innovative works of portraiture by artists in northern Italy in the early decades of the 16th century. The talk, From Leonardo to Titian: Renaissance Portraiture in Northern Italy, will be held at 11 a.m. in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium.

The exhibition is featured on the Museum's website, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #CelebratingTintoretto.

On view concurrently in the Robert Lehman Wing, In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met will showcase some of the Museum’s greatest paintings and provide a fresh perspective on the Dutch Golden Age of Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer.


September 28, 2018

Image: Jacopo Tintoretto. Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?), 1550s. Oil on canvas, private collection.


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