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Tintoretto: Doges, Kings and Emperors

Tintoretto invited by Maximilian of Austria.

According to this conversation written by Musset, Tintoretto's daughter Marietta was already famous in Spain and Austria when she was only 16 years old.

“One day the Austrian ambassador entered Tintoretto's house, congratulated him on his fine works, and said to him with a smile:

- Now, Mr Robusti, it is in the name of His Majesty the Emperor that I have to speak to you.

Emperor Maximilian II, my Lord and master, invites you to visit Vienna, accompanied by your two children.

He thinks that all the talents gathered in your happy family would be the ornament of his Court.

I do not know what conditions yet, but I can tell you in advance that the greater your selflessness, the more magnificent his terms will be.

- Sir, replied Tintoretto, the goodness of His Majesty penetrate me with gratitude; the memory will remain engraved in my soul as long as I have a breath of life; I can't surrender to the desires of the emperor.

I have never left Venice.

If I lost sight of the monuments and palaces where its history is written, I would leave behind my ideas, my eyes, all my senses, and, consequently, my genius. So your master would possess in his Court only the Tintoretto's shadow.

- I understand your reasons, said the ambassador. At your age, you do not break without difficulty with your habits, but your children.

- My children! Interrupt Tintoretto while pale; if there were a prince powerful enough to separate me from them, that prince would have the power to kill me.

- Do not be alarmed, Mr Robusti; my master wants only your good and your happiness. I hope you will be reflecting on his proposals.

- Your Excellency deigns to excuse me; if my will changed, my heart would have to be stolen from me to give me another one.

Emperor Maximilian's envoy insisted again, but he could not obtain anything.

One year after, a fire at the Ducal Palace destroyed the paintings of the Grand Council and Senate rooms, giving so much work to the painters of Venice that Tintoretto could not have moved away, even though he had wished.”
Paul de Musset - Picturesque Trip to Italy 1855

Tintoretto invited by King Philip II of Spain

“Sometime after the envoy of the Emperor of Austria, the Spanish ambassador, having learned of Master Robusti's refusals, did not venture to repeat the same proposals.

He proceeded more skilful, speaking to the Council of the Ten, asking for help.

The Council, which then had the desire to be pleasing to King Philip II, promised to try an approach.

There was great emotion in Tintoretto's house when arrived a Fante (a legal constable sent by the terrible Court), carrying a summons to appear before the Chief of the week.

Tintoretto ran straight away to the Ducal Palace.

His Excellency Chief of the Council called him “my son” and coldly advised him to leave for Madrid, where a flattering welcome and such favour awaited him.

And this situation would put him in a position giving an excellent turn to the Republic since by his talents and by the graces of his daughter, he would have the Queen's friendship and the King's ear.

Master Robusti threw himself at the Chief's feet and begged him not to take him away from his homeland, from his works.

The very excellent Lord stood still, as if he had been of marble, and repeated, in the exact words, that his dear son would do well to leave.

- Well! Cried Tintoretto when he stood up, since the Council of Ten, the guardian of our laws and protector of citizens' rights, wants to exile one of his children, I will leave the Republic states, but I will stop at the first village.

Every day I will come on the border to reach out to the ungrateful Venice, and passers-by will tell you that they saw the Tintoretto sitting at the edge of the road, sad and more unfortunate than Belisar.

The severity of Lord Chief was merely a borrowing mask, for he suddenly softens: a kind of tear slipped between his eyelids, and the sound of his voice changed when he answered:

- Hug me, Son. You are a citizen of Venice and free to stay there. We do not exile an artist like you in love from his homeland and who makes it proud of him.

We will offer Eastern fabrics and precious stones to the envoy of Spain, and immediately after that, he will discover himself that the desire of the King his master is greatly diminished.”
Paul de Musset - Picturesque Trip to Italy 1855.

Born in Venice, Tintoretto spent his entire life serving it, deploying all his energy to beautify it.

Most of his paintings have stayed in Venice, so you have to come to Venice to enjoy his colours in life-size!

Tintoretto Life and Career | Colors and Fame | Kings and Emperors
Painters Tintoretto | Canaletto | Albrecht Dürer |
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