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Itinerary Tintoretto in Venice

The celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti, Venice, c.1519/1594) involve the entire city of Venice and even travel overseas, thanks to a shared organisation between the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, with the collaboration of the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the participation of the most important Venetian cultural institutions. To tie in with the anniversary the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia organized the exhibition TINTORETTO 1519-1594 closed on 6 January 2019 at Palazzo Ducale – Doge’s Apartments.

During his long and prolific career, Tintoretto worked above all in the city: he received countless commissions, often obtained through stubborn determination, from churches and confraternities small and large, from the Republic and from the nobility. Today in Venice, it is still possible to admire many of these works, often in the places for which they were conceived. This fact is of fundamental importance given the particular attention shown by the artist to the relationship of the picture with the context in which it was to be placed. Thanks to all this, the city itself offers an extraordinary and widespread “permanent exhibition” of Tintoretto’s oeuvre.

This map – in the form of a sheet or a digital app – enables you to seek out these sites, some of which very famous and others not so well-known. Some are cultural institutions, others places of worship, and the map also offers some unusual itineraries off the beaten track in areas of the city that are quieter and extremely fascinating.

The sites are grouped by sestiere; for each location, the opening hours are specified (but in the case of the churches these may vary) together with the works by Tintoretto to be found there. These are all oils on canvas, unless otherwise indicated. For major sites (Scuola Grande and Church of San Rocco, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Palazzo Ducale, Church of Madonna dell’Orto), there is a brief description  rather than a  list of the numerous paintings.



Pictures that are temporarily not visible in their usual sites because on loan to the Venice or Washington exhibitions between September 2018 and July 2019 are indicated as follows:

◄ on loan at the “Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice” exhibition in Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, 10 March/7 July 2019

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Reception / Tour Guide

The cartoon of a mosaic is the drawing or painted sketch used as the basis for making the mosaic. Many of the cartoons for the mosaics realised during the renovation of the Basilica’s decorations in the sixteenth century are by Tintoretto, including those of the vaults of the central dome and the one for the Wedding Feast at Cana produced in 1568 by the mosaicist Bartolomeo Bozza on the left side of the transept, in the north dome. Weekdays, 9.30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (last entrance 4.45 p.m.); Sundays and holidays, 2 - 4.30 p.m. (last entrance 4.15 p.m.)

Philosophers (five paintings), 1571-72, 250 ×160 cm each from 1 November to 31 March, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; from 1 April to 31 October, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (ticket office closes one hour before). Combined ticket with Palazzo Ducale and Museo Correr. Entrance through the Museo Correr

The Palazzo Ducale was the seat and symbol of the government of the Republic of Venice. Thanks to a tenacious determination, Tintoretto managed to acquire a position among the painters responsible for the decoration of its halls, the most important and prestigious of the city. The works painted in the 1550s and 1560s were almost all destroyed – along with those of other great artists – in two fires in 1574 and in 1577. What survived of Tintoretto’s work was the ceiling of the Atrio Quadrato (1562-1565). After the fires, the artist participated very actively, with his workshop, in the new decoration of the building. A tour of the palace “in the footsteps” of Tintoretto starts from the Atrio Quadrato, the first great hall to be reached from the Scala d’Oro (Golden Staircase); it continues in the Sala delle Quattro Porte (Room of the Four Doors), where  the ceiling preserves the artist’s only frescoes still visible even if almost completely repainted, and then in the Sala dell’Anticollegio, where four splendid allegories of the virtues of the Republic’s good government are usually on show (◄ two of them will be present in the American edition of the exhibition). The itinerary then leads to the Sala del Collegio, containing four large devotional paintings of doges by Tintoretto; two others are displayed in the adjoining Sala del Senato, where, on the ceiling, one can see the famous Triumph of Venice as Queen of the Seas (1581-84). Going down to the first floor, the imposing Sala del Maggior Consiglio is dominated by the huge canvas of Paradise, painted by Tintoretto with his son Domenico (1588-92), but the artist is also present on the ceiling with the great narrative of the Voluntary submission of the provinces to Venetian domination (Triumph of Doge Nicolò Da Ponte) (1579) and four other episodes of the city’s history. Finally, in the Sala dello Scrutinio, Tintoretto is present with the dynamic Battle of Zara (1584). Also worthy of note is The Return of the Prodigal Son (1570-75) decorating the ceiling of the Sala degli Inquisitori, accessible to the public only via the Secret Itineraries tour. from 1 April to 31 October, 8.30 a.m. - 7 p.m.; from 1 November to 31 March, 8.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. (ticket office closes one hour before). Combined ticket with Museo Correr and Monumental Halls of the Biblioteca Marciana.

Saint Justina with Three Treasurers and Their Secretaries, 1580, 217 × 184 cm (on loan from the Gallerie dell’Accademia)  from 1 November to 31 March, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; from 1 April to 31 October, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.(ticket office closes one hour before). Combined ticket with Palazzo Ducale and Monumental Halls of the Biblioteca Marciana.

The Last Supper, 1576, 349 × 530 cm The Washing of the Feet, 1576, 333 × 230.5 cm The Agony in the Garden, 1576, 334 × 293 cm Daily, 8.30 a.m. - 7 p.m.

The Washing of the Feet, 1585-90, 559 × 257 cm Daily, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Saint Mark and Saint John, 1557, 257 × 150 cm Saint Luke and Saint  Matthew, 1557, 259 × 150 cm Mon. - Sat., 10.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. (last entrance 4.20 p.m.)

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a confraternity or lay institution, founded in the fifteenth century, for the purposes of worship and charity. Its leaders were non-aristocratic citizens, but very active in trades and professions and often very wealthy. Tintoretto worked on the decoration of the various rooms of the Scuola for over 24 years (from 1564 to about 1588), attaining the very peak of his art here. The first work, the ceiling with Saint Roch in Glory in the Sala dell'Albergo, was donated in 1564 by Jacopo to the confraternity that welcomed him among its members only the following year. In the following two years, he completed the decoration of the room, with the breathtaking Crucifixion and other episodes in the Passion of Christ (The Road to Calvary, Christ before Pilate, Ecce Homo). About eight years later, Tintoretto was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the huge Sala Capitolare or Chapter Room with episodes from the life of Moses, surrounded by other Old Testament stories. Subsequently, he himself proposed completing the decoration of the Scuola, promising to deliver three paintings a year for the rest of his life. This is how the decoration of the Sala Capitolare was completed with episodes from the life of Christ, and then of the Sala Terrena (or Ground Floor Hall) with stories from the life of Mary, as well as the opening events of the New Testament, like The Massacre of the Innocents, The Adoration of the Magi and The Flight into Egypt. All these subjects were interpreted with enormous compositional freedom and in an unconventional, dynamic and innovative way. 9.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. (ticket office, 9.30 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Closed 1 January, 25 December.

Built by the confraternity, the church houses the body of Saint Roch, a saint to whom the Venetians turned for protection from the plague. For the presbytery, and in different moments of his career, Tintoretto painted four canvases with stories from the life of Saint Roch, including the extraordinary Saint Roch cures the Plague Victims of 1549, which constitutes the true beginning of his activity for the Scuola, and other works, which date from the 1560s to the 1580s, thus covering a total of forty years of his activity. Mon.-Sat., 9.30 a.m. - 1 p.m., 2.30 - 5.30 p.m.; Sun., 9.30 a.m. - 12 noon; 3 - 5.30 p.m.