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The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark

Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti)

Tommaso Rangone, “grand guardian” of the Scuola di San Marco in Venice, commissioned Tintoretto in 1562 to paint a cycle depicting episodes associated with the saint, which the artist had completed by 1566. The cycle of large canvases, one of which is the Pinacoteca’s Finding of the Body of Saint Mark, recounted not only the saint’s life but also miracles in which he is alleged to have had a hand. This painting shows the moment when, as the Venetians are busy removing corpses from tombs in their search for Saint Mark’s body, the saint appears to them and imperiously commands them to stop because his body has already been removed from the tomb at the end of the room and is lying at their feet. The presence of a man possessed by devils on the right of the composition adds to the miraculous tone of the episode, which is being observed by the patron Rangone clad in attire befitting his rank. The artist, a skilled narrator, depicts the miracle as though it were taking place on a stage, forcing his “actors” to adopt theatrical and emphatic poses. The observer, or in this case the spectator, is drawn into the heart of the action by the dizzying foreshortening that impresses a profound acceleration on the picture’s spatial depth accentuated by the play of light on the arcades; the dark is split by flashes of light, underscoring the crucial elements in the story, emphasising the volume of the figures and amplifying the unnatural, ghostly pallor of the corpses.

Download hi-res image TITLE The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark
AUTHOR Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti)
DATE 1562 - 1566
OBJECT TYPE AND MATERIAL Oil on canvas
DIMENSIONS cm 396 x 400
INVENTORY 5959
ROOM IX
Work on display
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