Tintoretto, The Finding Of The Body Of Saint Mark
Inkjet on watercolour paper
85 x 69 cm
The oppressive lighting, the dramatic perspective of the vaulted ceiling charnel house, and the memorable tableau of the corpse lowered from the sarcophagus were the striking pictorial devices that drew me to re-imagining Tintoretto’s 1562 painting, The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark. However, the painting’s biblical narrative of the discovery of a body struck me as being analogous to the contemporary drama of the crime scene.
Because of the limited hardware of the computer I used for this translation, the numerous figures that populated the Tintoretto painting had to be culled to a manageable amount. The solution to making the minimalist composition work effectively was by using the focal elements to form an apex configuration, with the foreground cop talking on the mobile phone leading the eye up to the men straddling the sarcophagus and down to their assistant. This necessary re-framing also precluded some of the drama of Tintoretto's forbidding architecture, however the tight cropping yielded a more contemporary style of image that is not unlike a news photo.
I struggled to replicate Tintoretto's harsh unnatural lighting, and felt initially that the rosy glow I finally settled on as too pleasant for the subject matter. But I ultimately decided that this prettiness worked, albeit in a counter-intuitive fashion. The dark to light scheme also became the exact opposite to Tintoretto's choice of the highlighted foreground contrasted against the sepulchral gloom of the distant corridor.
What light can Tintoretto shed on modern art at the Venice Biennale? The Guardian