Tintoretto a homegrown master of Venetian art

The sprawling, audacious work of Tintoretto.
The sprawling, audacious work of Tintoretto.

Tintoretto, A Rebel in Venice

Directed by: Giuseppe Domingo Romano

Narrated by: Helena Bonham Carter

In cinemas: now

Reviewed by: Martin Turner

3 stars out of 5

JACOPO Robusti had one major advantage over his rivals in the late sixteenth century art apart from his obvious skill and talent: while many came to Venice to practise their art, including the great Titian, Robusti, better known as Tintoretto, was born there.

As a famed port city, Venice embodied all the facets of the wider world that embraced it for its trade. It seemed to give Tintoretto a cosmopolitan, open-minded and even brave outlook.

This was achieved even in the midst of the plague that killed a large percentage of the city’s inhabitants and drove many others away.

With narration by acclaimed British actress Helena Bonham Carter and featuring extensive interviews with art historians of the city, this documentary creates a vivid picture of Venetian life and Tintoretto’s craft. In particular, it thoroughly explores his ability to use innovative techniques that added depth and dimension to his often massive in scale and hugely ambitious paintings.

Tintoretto, A Rebel in Venice has the advantage of the stunning Venetian backdrop to work from, though the constant cuts to analysis with similar musical accompaniment at times diminish the overall effect. However, these are remarkable works displayed to marvellous effect.

The Art on Screen series continues in coming months with documentaries about the likes of Paul Gaugin and the Prado Museum.