Alla Presenza di Tintoretto / In the Presence of Tintoretto

Mark Pulsford
Sat 19 May 2018   -  Sun 17 Jun 2018
11:00-18:00 (not open Mondays) (Tues-Sun)

_ Venue: War Memorial Library

Join us for the exhibition launch on Friday 18th May at 18:30.

La Scuola Grande di San Rocco; La Cittå di Venezia, Cultura/Eventi; Summerhall Edinburgh

The artist Mark Pulsford becomes immersively involved with the work of Tintoretto. Using Tintoretto’s creative presence and the atmosphere engendered by his great masterworks, studying their subtlety and responding to them with drawings and paintings of his own, Pulsford attempts to re-live Tintoretto’s experience of inventing them. Pulsford is indebted to the City of Venice and to the guardians of the Scuola grande di San Rocco for permission and assistance to facilitate the project.

The results will justify and affirm Pulsford’s selection of Tintoretto. Pulsford believes that Tintoretto is the first true painter, the first exuberant master of oil-painting to treat the new medium in an un-compromised way which stretched the process (oil painting on canvas) towards its limits. He was the great inventor of painting in its modern, expressive form. Pulsford feels drawn to a giant kindred spirit.

Pulsford is discovering a universe of challenges as his ‘immersion’ becomes more complete. He deconstructs the complex originals in a flow of rapid drawings, all made in view of the magnificent originals. He isolates individual passages and movements. He recombines the same. With each composite re-positioning of the elements of the picture, a multi-layered completion is approached more nearly.

The paintings planned as the outcomes of the project should, in general, be made in Venice, not at the Scuola Grande itself where all of the experiential work is being done/is yet to be done, but in a studio in the vicinity, perhaps assisted by the board of governors of the Scuola Grande – to enable large scale (3m x 2m) and uninhibited use of materials. The paintings will be re-statements, quotations from the master, re-invented as vibrant originals, as distinct from the original paintings as a Twenty-first Century production of King Lear is from the way it was originally presented to a Tudor court, and yet, as with Shakespeare, the same.

Because they originate as studies of and from a narrative of Faith (Tintoretto’s painting cycle is about the life and the Passion of Christ, and about contemplations on the Eucharist) Pulsford’s paintings may be seen through the prism of religious belief, although Pulsford doubts whether his painterly approach is primed to distinguish between the sacred and the profane. It is Tintoretto as painting master, not as theologian, by whose visions Pulsford is becoming so absorbed. And yet, Tintoretto’s narrative of Faith will not be suppressed. The crucified martyr is to be borne witness, naked for the faithless as well as the faithful to see, to pity and to mourn. Children are still slaughtered in their beds, as they were in Bethlehem. The Holy Family, safe in secret flight, remains a powerful human symbol, as is the act of anointment, the Baptism, all of which must survive the re-imaginings of the paintings by a Twenty-first Century eye. Along with these (Flight, Massacre, Baptism, Crucifixion), the image of the Resurrection is also part of Pulsford’s complement.

Mark Pulsford

Note – Added after March 2018 visit to Venice: Links made to the Cittå di Venezia (eventi) and Mark Pulsford’s introduction to Il Vicario Demetrio Saviglione, executive director of the SGSR: the project progresses.