San Marco salva un saraceno dal naufragio

Saint Mark Saving a Saracen from Shipwreck

Jacopo Robusti detto Jacopo Tintoretto

Author
Jacopo Robusti detto Jacopo Tintoretto
Venezia, 1519 - 1594
Title
Saint Mark Saving a Saracen from Shipwreck
Catalogue
832
Date
1562–1566
Support
Canvas, 396 x 334 cm
Provenance
Venice, Scuola Grande di San Marco (until 1807); Venice, Palazzo Ducale (1807–1815); Venice, Libreria Sansoviniana (1815–1866); Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (1866–1868); Venice, Libreria Sansoviniana (1868–1919); held by museum since 1920
Hall
Hall XI

Executed between 1562 and 1566, along with Saint Mark’s Body Brought to Venice and Finding the Body of Saint Mark now at Brera, the painting depicts the miraculous rescuing of a Saracen by Saint Mark, invoked during a storm. The work is fascinating above all because of the dramatic evocation of the roiling sea during the storm, giant waves swollowing men and ships, and the masterful depiction of the contorted bodies of sailors shocked by the fury of the elements. The deft use of contrasting light contributes to the painting’s highly dramatic force. Here, as in other teleri, or large-scale paintings, Tommaso Rangone, the Guardian Grande of the Scuola di San Marco and the man who commissioned the painting, is shown among the sailors with a white beard and the golden vest of a Knight of Saint Mark. His inclusion provoked such negative reactions among members of the Scuola that in 1573 the teleri were reconsigned to Tintoretto so that he could remove the portrait, even though this was never done.