The Tintoretto comes to Upton
Bought by Lord Bearsted in 1939, The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins took pride of place at Upton as one of the focal points of the recently created picture gallery.
Lord Bearsted felt the picture to be of great significance and was no doubt influenced by picture dealer and restorer, Horace Buttery, who wrote to him before he bought the Tintoretto, saying: ‘Sir Kenneth Clark and other experts on Venetian painting have all been enthusiastic about this picture – a recent discovery of mine – as an important unrecorded early period work. The picture is beautiful in colour – rose-pink, grey and gold – and the subject is amusingly treated’.
Uncovering the painting’s layers
A new conservation and research project aims to uncover Tintoretto’s original vision for the painting, and provide a better understanding of what is believed to be a work from the early stages of his career.
Following technical analysis, the painting will travel to the National Trust’s conservation studio at Knole in Kent. It’s hoped new information discovered during the research will not only allow visitors to see the many layers of the painting itself, but also to delve into the many layers of its story.
Who was Tintoretto?
Tintoretto’s family name was actually Robusti and he was raised surrounded by sumptuous colour. His father was a dyer, or tintore, and it’s from this that he took the name Tintoretto, or little dyer.
Tintoretto ranks second only to Titian among the Venetian painters of his time and had a prolific and successful career. Whereas most of Titian's later paintings were done for foreign patrons, Tintoretto worked mainly for Venetian clients and was the dominant figure in supplying religious pictures for the city's churches, government buildings and palaces.
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is one of the few examples of his work on display in a historic house.