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Happy 500th, Tintoretto — A Retrospective Honors The Venetian Artist

"Legend has it that when Jacopo Tintoretto was 12 years old, he was so good at drawing that he rattled Titian — the master artist of Venice, 30 years his senior. Young Tintoretto was an apprentice in Titian's workshop and — as the story goes — the old master gone away for several days, and when he came back he found some of Tintoretto's drawings."

"'He saw these drawings and said, 'Who did this?' " explains art expert Frederick Ilchman. 'The young Tintoretto was nervous, thinking he'd done a bad job ... and was going to be corrected. No, they were not bad — in fact, they were too good.'"

"Titian felt threatened and kicked the kid out. But Tintoretto got all the lessons he needed in ambition and toughness — and went on to have a long, successful life in the art world."

"That career is the focus of Tintoretto's very first U.S. retrospective, now on view at the National Gallery of Art, co-curated by Frederick Ilchman and Robert Echols. It marks the 500th anniversary of the 16th century Venetian artist's birth."

"'He never saw a wall that he couldn't envision covered with a large Tintoretto,' says Echols. The canvases are huge — jammed with hunky men (and some women) — writhing, and reaching, and rushing — in myths or Biblical scenes. Tintoretto painted them all over a ceiling of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice. It took ambition — and a lot of hustle."

"In 1564, Tintoretto was one of four artists invited submit drawings for the grand building."

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