Tintoretto (Robusti, Jacopo)
(Venedig, 1518-1594, Venedig)
The Bearing of the Cross, ca. 1585/90
Oil on canvas, 149 x 125 cm
Pallucchini/Rossi 449
Inspection of the painting confirms the opinion expressed by H. Tietze (1948) that this work is a "typical workshop variation" of the "Bearing of the Cross" done by Jacopo Tintoretto, in 1566/67, in the Albergo of the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice. In 1974 Fritz Heinemann, based upon conclusive evidence, has suggested the Insbruck born painter Pietro de Pomis, active in Tintoretto's studio, as the real author of the work in the Bührle Collection. Indeed, the picture differs from its model in the Scuola di San Rocco both in its extremely sparing brushwork and in its total chromatic treatment, occasionally shot through with yellow tones, but mainly based on a harmony of red and blue. On the other hand, the composition of our painting is in the grand style of Jacopo Tintoretto. This applies especially to the seemingly decorative way in which the event represented is embedded in a surface composition made up of two contrary diagonal movements. This kind of deviation from the axial-symmetrical classical picture design obviously aims in this case at the emphatic stressing of the important main group of figures displaced into the lower right field of the picture, joined by Simon of Cyrene and Veronica, who assist Christ, who has fallen beneath the Cross, along with the Madonna, who has fainted, all of them against a contrasting deep background.