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Tintoretto, Prestezza and the Poligrafi: A Study in the Literary and Visual Culture of Cinquecento Venice

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The paintings of Jacopo Tintoretto were described, scorned, praised, and compared to the highly finished and deliberate works of Titian in terms of their prestezza, their evident speed and immediacy of execution. The term prestezza in 16th-century Venice was more commonly a literary term, used to criticize prolific professional writers, the poligrafi, such as Anton Francesco Doni and Andrea Calmo, who, like Tintoretto, came from modest backgrounds and produced work that appealed to a broad audience. Unlike Titian and his patrician literary supporters, such as Pietro Aretino and Pietro Bembo, Tintoretto and the poligrafi created, rapidly and in quantity, work that reflected everyday life of a wide segment of Venetian society, where culture was torn between popularizing and gentrifying tendancies.

Keywords: Culture; Literary Criticism; Painting; Poligrafi; Prestezza (concept); Tintoretto; Venice

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1996

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