On a recent visit to Boston I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts to see Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice.
The large show explores the rivalry between the three 16th-century Venetian artists and looks at how they each often painted the same exact scenes during the four decades that their careers overlapped. The paintings are grouped by subject, which makes it easy to see how much they influenced each other, as in Supper at Emmaus — Veronese's version is smaller and all are focused on Christ's hand, and Titian's painting is static, with a gloriously detailed tablecloth. In Tintoretto's the other figures dance around Christ; though the center of the painting, only one person is focused on him.
Highlights include a Tintoretto painting, Contest Between Apollo and Marsyas, which is set into the ceiling, and a room devoted to x-ray studies that were done on some of the MFA's paintings. Having finished The Lost Painting shortly before my visit to the museum, it was really interesting to see how artists changed the direction of paintings simply by painting over them.
I went into the show knowing that Titian was my favorite of the three, and the show didn't change that. But I did leave knowing more about each artist, as wall text describes how a contemporary said that Tintoretto was "like a peppercorn who overpowered other flavors."
A mini-show, Mad on Color: Paintings of 19th-Century Venice, coincides with Rivals, and includes Monet's lovely Grand Canal, Venice and Ettore Tito's ebullient Breezy Day in Venice.
Tickets for Rivals are $25.
The museum was followed with an excellent lunch at Legal Seafoods, highlights of which were lots of fried seafood and crab salad.
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