Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

   One of the six major confraternities of Venice, founded in 1478 and dedicated to St. Rock (in Italian, Rocco) who spent most of his life tending to those stricken by the plague. The Scuola's meeting hall contains approximately 50 paintings by Tintoretto executed between 1564 and 1587 and most dealing with scenes from the life and Passion of Christ. These provide unusual renditions of traditional religious scenes that are filled with action, enhanced by the brisk application of paint and sharp diagonal arrangements. In the Last Supper, Tintoretto placed the table in a diagonal that recedes rapidly into space, instead of in the usual frontal position. Christ is shown in the background administering the Eucharist to St. Peter, while servants in an adjoining room prepare the meal and a dog in the foreground adds to the commotion. Instead of a solemn scene, the work presents a noisy, mundane depiction that focuses on Christ's humanity more than his divinity. The Crucifixion, a work of huge proportions, shows a panoramic view of Golgotha filled with figures. Again, Tintoretto provided a noisy scene with soldiers pulling up the crosses of the thieves who were crucified alongside Christ, mourners at the Savior's feet, men betting on a game of dice, and other incidentals. The dynamism of the scene is augmented by the series of diagonals Tintoretto included, as well as the heavy fore-shortening of figures and crosses. Other works include the Adoration of the Shepherds, Baptism of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Road to Calvary, Ascension, Brazen Serpent, and Moses Drawing Water from the Rock. This commission represents one of the most extensive ever granted to a single artist of the Renaissance, and stands among the greatest masterpieces of the era.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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