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Video transcript

[Music] we're in san giorgio maggiore across the Grand Canal from San Marco in Venice and we're looking at Tintoretto's Last Supper it's located in the sanctuary of the church on the right wall and it's huge there's such an untraditional version of the subject very Mannerist we're so used to looking at Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan that's a painting where the table is drawn across horizontally which is such a high Renaissance example of the use of linear perspective with Christ as the vanishing point at the very center for the painting at the very center of the table and here everything is askew and Leonardo uses natural light without halos Christ is framed by a window but here the figure of Christ actually glows from within we return to spiritual symbolism and the spiritual permeates the entire space of this painting in a very evident way light is central to understanding this painting there are really only two light sources here in this very dark painting closer to us on the upper left you have a lantern which just dances with light and flame and smoke and then there's the divine emanation and from that lamp in the upper left angels are illuminated and we see them floating all over the ceiling it's not that high Renaissance way of indicating the spiritual through the natural through reality here intruder is not afraid to paint angels there is a kind of divine revelation the light that emanates from Christ's halo seems quite strong if you look at the woman who kneels in the foreground slightly to the right you'll see that in Christ's light her head casts a deep shadow that is a basic diagonal that points us towards Christ and then the Apostles around the table also have halos of light although smaller than the light from Christ but this painting is all about energy it's all about drama look at the way that the primary diagonal of the table moves us back with incredible speed back vanishing point in the upper right corner of the painting and actually I'm not even sure that it's a correct use of linear perspective that table tilts forward so that he's playing fast and loose with those very ideas that were so critical to the high Renaissance like linear perspective Victoria seemed literally up ended the space Rises so steeply and so dramatically and so quickly and form itself seems to have dissolved under the power of his lion and Colour Tintoretto said that his goal was to unite the two different traditions of the Florentine Renaissance and the Venetian Renaissance the line of the Tuscan tradition of Michelangelo and the color of Titian he had a sign written on his studio wall that said exactly that when I look at this painting I feel pulled in different directions I feel pulled by the velocity of the orthogonals of the table then I feel pulled by the light around Christ and then I also feel pulled to anecdotal details that are around the periphery the figures serving food on the right for example or in the foreground or the apostles reacting and talking to each other after Christ's words take this bread for this is my body and take the wine for this is my blood and Christ has stood up turned that seems to be offering the bread and so we have the literal enactment of the Eucharist it's much more active I want to go back to that idea of the anecdotal yes the woman serving food but notice that she's reaching into a basket and a cat happens to be looking into that basket as well there is this very solemn event that's taking place and yet at the same time it's surrounded by elements that are simply not important and make this a human event let's right make it in a way more real than the pared down harmonious balanced image that Leonardo gives us as a Last Supper and that's what I find so incongruous about this dark painting and all of its solemnity yes but all of its energy within this very state environment of the church by Palladio san giorgio maggiore we are in a pristine white building and yet the paving is so dark and so mysterious and yet Palladio has made everything evident to us with its classicism its order its precision its logic its rationality and then in this Tintoretto we enter into the realm of the spiritual of the supernatural this is not the realm of the rational at all well we move from the high Renaissance classicism of Palladio into the mannerism of Tintoretto [Music]