Third Itinerary: Tintoretto and Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice

Tintoretto and Veronese were the two most successful painters in the generation after Titian. Each artist was influenced by the great older master in different ways: Veronese was a masterful colourist who excelled in the representation of rich and varied materials; Tintoretto, who apparently spent a short period of time in Titian’s workshop before being kicked out, experimented with free, expressive brush work and dramatic contrasts of light and dark. Each ran a large, family workshop which helped them complete a great number of public and private commissions. Both artists left lasting legacies in the city of Venice. The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a testament to Tintoretto’s to virtuosity, not to mention velocity, as a painter. In order to outdo his rivals in the competition for this commission, rather than executing a sketch, as the artists had been asked to do, Tintoretto evidently completed a painting, smuggled it into place, and donated it to the confraternity. This work, the Apotheosis of Saint Roch remains in situ in the ceiling of the albergo, the meeting room of the confraternity. A year later he completed the astonishing Crucifixion, which presents the story of Christ’s death on a vast scale, with drama heightened by steep diagonals and intense lighting effects. Tintoretto also executed several works for his parish church of Madonna dell’Orto, where the artist is buried.

Veronese’s counterpoint to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is the church of San Sebastiano, also dedicated to a patron saint of the plague, of which there were several severe outbreaks in the city in the second half of the sixteenth century. Veronese worked in the church over a fifteen-year period and his lavish decoration included several ceiling paintings, including in the nave, scenes from the life of the Old Testament heroine Esther. These works demonstrate the artist’s skill in organising space around monumental architectural forms using perspective da sotto in su, that is looking up from below.

Veronese and Titian worked alongside each other in the Doge’s Palace, contributing to the redecoration following a devastating fire in 1577. Both artists also worked at different times on the Isola di San Giorgio. Although Veronese’s famous Marriage at Cana was removed from the refectory by Napoleon’s troops, a high-quality digital facsimile, has recently been installed in its place. Tintoretto’s magnificent late Last Supper remains in situ the Basilica and reveals the artist’s continued interest in dramatic perspective. Further examples of both artists’ work can be seen in the Accademia.



Scuola Grande San Rocco

Adoration of the Magi

The Flight into Egypt

The Apotheosis of Saint Roch

The Crucifixion

Christ Before Pilate

The Brazen Serpent

The Miracle of Manna

The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Resurrection

The Last Supper

Gallerie dell’Accademia

The Creation of the Animals

Adam and Eve

Saint Louis of Toulouse and Saint George

The Transferral of the body of Saint Mark

Saint Mark freeing the Slave

Palazzo Ducale

Sala del Anticollegio:

Bacchus, Venus and Ariadne

Mercury and the Three Graces

Sala del Collegio:

Doge Nicolò da Ponte Invoking the Protection of the Virgin

Sala del Maggior Consiglio:


Scenes in ceiling and on walls in sala del Senato

Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto (Cannareggio)

The Presentation of the Virgin

The Last Judgement

Moses Receiving the Tables of the Law

The Miracle of Saint Agnes

San Giorgio Maggiore, Isola San Giorgio (Basilica and Monastero)

The Last Supper

The Fall of Manna

The Entombment of Christ


Chiesa di San Sebastiano

Esther Crowned by Ahasuerus

The Triumph of Mordecai

The Banishment of Bashti

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian

Presentation in the Temple

Healing of the Lame man at the Pool of Bethesda

Saints Mark and Marcellinus being led to Martyrdom

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints

Gallerie dell’Accademia

Venice Receiving Homage from Hercules and Ceres

Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata

The Penitent Saint Jerome

Madonna and Child with Saints Joseph, Justina, Francis the Infant John the Baptist and Jerome

Feast in the House of Levi

The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine

The Annunciation

Palazzo Ducale

Scenes in the ceiling in sala del Collegio:

Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto

Scenes in the ceiling in sala del Consiglio dei Deici

Scenes in the ceiling in sala del Maggior Consiglio

San Giorgio Maggiore, Isola San Giorgio (Basilica and Monastero)

Reproduction of The Wedding Feast at Cana