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The Golden Age of Venetian Painting 14751576 / Tintoretto and Veronese

The century between the advent of Antonello da Messina in 1475 and the death of Titian in 1576 is considered the Golden Age of Venetian painting. What had been a minor regional school achieved international prominence and influenced the future of European art in general for centuries. Central to this achievement was the genius of a succession of painters from Giovanni Bellini and his brother Gentile, Carpaccio, Giorgione, to the great Titian and his younger contemporaries Tintoretto and Veronese. These painters worked in a city undergoing crisis and change: the decline of its maritime empire, the reduction of its monopoly of trade with the East, its near destruction as a state in the early sixteenth century, and the religious turmoil engendered by the Reformation and the reaction of the Roman Church to it. Governed by an oligarchy of merchant nobles who elected a Doge, Venice remained politically stable throughout this turbulent period and continued to flourish economically. The state, the lay confraternities (called scuole) and private individuals provided sufficient patronage and support for a brilliant school of painting to develop in both secular and religious art. The cultural context and history of this school will be studied in eight lectures, followed by a full-day visit to the National Gallery to consider first-hand its outstanding collection of Venetian renaissance paintings.

It was only in the 1550s that Titian's dominance in Venice (which he never left, despite Habsburg solicitations) was challenged. A new generation of artists emerged who were in contact with developments in central Italian art. One was the Venetian-born Jacopo Tintoretto whose colossally energetic art owed as much to Michelangelo's conception of the heroic nude as to Titian, from whose workshop he was ejected. Veronese produced an altogether more seductive and colour-saturated art for the ruling aristocracy but ultimately was to be cross-examined by the Inquisition despite his high-status protectors. Both outlived Titian, who died during the plague of 1576, never achieving the old master's international success but producing work of exceptional beauty and power in the darkening climate of the Counter-Reformation.


Dr Michael Douglas-Scott | talks


Date and Time:

27 November 2014 at 10:45 am


Half Day



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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