Jacopo Robusti (1518-94), called Tintoretto because his father was a dyer, was a devout, unworldly man who only traveled once beyond Venice. His epic canvases are filled with phantasmagoric light and intense, mystical spirituality. This museum is a dazzling monument to his work -- it holds the largest collection of his images anywhere. The series of the more than 50 dark and dramatic works took the artist more than 20 years to complete, making this the richest of the many confraternity guilds or scuole that once flourished in Venice.
Begin upstairs in the Sala dell'Albergo, where the most notable of the enormous, powerful canvases is the moving La Crocifissione (The Crucifixion). In the center of the gilt ceiling of the great hall, also upstairs, is Il Serpente di Bronzo (The Bronze Snake). Among the eight huge, sweeping paintings downstairs -- each depicting a scene from the New Testament -- La Strage degli Innocenti (The Slaughter of the Innocents) is the most noteworthy, so full of dramatic urgency and energy that the figures seem almost to tumble out of the frame. As you enter the room, it's on the opposite wall at the far end of the room.
There's a useful guide to the paintings posted inside on the wall just before the entrance to the museum. There are a few Tiepolos among the paintings, as well as a solitary work by Titian. The works on or near the staircase are not by Tintoretto.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010