1111David Bowie's Tintoretto returns to Venice From the lost church of San Geminiano in St. Mark's Square - between the Procuratie Vecchie and the Nuove, destroyed by Napoleon in 1807 to make room for what is still the Napoleonic Wing with its Ball Room - to the private collection of a rock artist like David Bowie. And soon, in 2019, at the next edition of the Visual Arts Biennale, again in Venice. It is the extraordinary story of an altarpiece by Jacopo Tintoretto (The Angel announcing to St. Catherine her martyrdom), which ornamented, together with other masterpieces, the magnificent Sansovini church destroyed by Napoleon, dispersing also his patrimony. After the Napoleonic disposession, Tintoretto's painting was for a few years at the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Firenze and was then bought by a British colonel, Th Davies.
After thirty years' travelling within the art world and market, "Santa Caterina" was bought by David Bowie for his private collection, alongside works by contemporary artists such as Duchamp, Picabia, Basquiat, among others. Bowie was literally obsessed with Tintoretto and his painting, so much so that he also dedicated a record label, Tintoretto Music. He never separated himself from this work until his death. Then the Bowie collection went to auction last November at Sotheby's and was sold for 191,000 pounds to a European private collector who then decided to place it with a long-term loan at the Bubenshouse Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, Among others, a place deeply loved by David Bowie. A way for the collector to pay tribute to Tintoretto's influence on Flemish artists, beginning with Rubens and Vand Dyck.
The investigations carried out on the painting also revealed that the work was entirely Tintoretto's, without the assistance of his workshop, dating it to around 1570, a decade before it was thought. So now the project, with the contribution of the Colnaghi Foundation, has also begun to bring back the Tintoretto altarpiece of David Bowie in Venice in 2019 (one year after the great retrospective that the city will host forfive-hundred-year birth anniversary at the Palazzo Ducale and at the Accademia Galleries) in conjunction with the new edition of the Visual Arts Biennale.
The focus of the exhibition is precisely the lost church of San Geminiano that housed the Tintoretto's altarpiece (where Ruben certainly saw it and Van Dyckla celebrated it with a sketch) and the works that were there with it were housed, like the organ doors painted by Paolo Veronese. But here were also paintings by Bernardino da Murano, Bartolomeo Vivarini, Sebastiano Ricci and other artists. The main altar of San Geminiano has been preserved and is today an altar to the church of St. John of Malta. The exhibition, around the work of Tintoretto, will try to restore the spirit of that church which was a source of inspiration for Flemish painters of the time. Contacts are already underway with the Civic Museum Foundation and the David Bowie Tintoretto exhibition and what remains of the lost church of San Geminiano could be hosted by the Correr Museum. Almost a historical reparation, since almost in the same area it was demolished by Napoleon.
Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto and StudioTHE ANGEL FORETELLING SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA OF HER MARTYRDOM
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