August 17th, 2018
2018: this year Venice celebrates Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto who was born near the Rialto area around 1518, the only one among the three masters of the Renaissance painting to be born in the city where he spent most of his life. 
Save Venice could not miss this appointment and launched a campaign a few years ago able to raise funds for the restoration of 18 Tintoretto’s paintings, among which some overlooked masterpieces.
Today this non profit organisation plays a crucial role in the protection and preservation of Venice artistic heritage.
Originally it was established in 1966 and was based in New York, after the highest tide in the whole century, that caused serious damages and showed everybody ow vulnerable the city was.
Not only Italy, but the whole world was concerned with the preservation of Venice irreplaceable, unique heritage, and for this reason ordinary donors, corporations and foundations from America were asked to contribute to the project.
Then in 1971 Save Venice became a charitable and independent organisation which has raised $25 million so far from all over United States.
Italians are not the only ones who feel responsible for the preservation of their art treasures, which are a crucial part of the New World cultural heritage.  The successors of Save Venice founders were able to increase enormously the activities of the largest and most active committee preserving the artistic patrimony of Venice. Every single year a list of restoration projects are carefully selected by the Superintendency for the Artistic and Historic Heritage of Venice in cooperation with the Board of Save Venice according to urgency of need, historical and artistic relevance. A selected team of Italian restorers operates on the spot under the supervision of both Save Venice and Superintendency representatives who trust the high skills of the specialists working regularly for both institutions.   
At the beginning the Tintoretto project was definitely quite ambitious and demanding, since it got started forty year ago! 
But on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Jacopo Robusti’s birth in 1518/19,  the funding from twelve donors made possible the restoration of 18 canvases by the artist.
Some of them were recently completed, like the “Wedding Feast at Cana” from the church of La Salute, and the “San Marziale” altarpiece from the church of San Marziale.
Some conservation treatment are in progress, including the “Crucifixion” in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Santa Giustina and the Treasures in Museo Correr and the four canvases of allegorical subjects from the Sala dell’Anticollegio in Palazzo Ducale.
Tintoretto’s tomb in the church of Madonna dell’Orto was in poor conditions too, and now is going to be repaired in collaboration with the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
The church devoted to the Saint of the plague victims was decorated with a large number of Tintoretto’s paintings concerning the Saint’s life.
Three of them, Capture of Saint Roch at the battle of Montpellier, Saint Roch blessing the Animals, and  Saint Roch in the desert are going to be restored as well.
In addition to the financial contributions, Save Venice provided curatorial fellowship and an assistant for two upcoming exhibits, Art, Faith, and Medicine in Tintoretto’s Venice at the Scuola Grande di San Marco and  Tintoretto Giovane held at the Gallerie dell’Accademia
The Crucifixion at the Gallerie dell’Accademia is worth mentioning, first of all due to its size, over 14 feet by over 9 feet tall.
It was painted in 1554-1555, over ten years before the one of the same subject for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
Tintoretto displayed his unique style in the representation of a highly dramatic event, which is the climax of a number of different episodes which take place on both sides of the Cross.
Christ stands right in the middle of the canvas, deathly pale, as an innocent victim, the only man illuminated by a glowing halo in contrast with the twisting figures all around who don’t even look at him.
At the base of the Cross, Virgin Mary has just fainted and is held up by other women, suggesting the her son is dead. 
Colourful characters move with energy, related to other events from the Crucifixion as well, such as the man on the ladder holding the sponge dipped in vinegar or the two soldiers throwing dice for Christ’s tunic. 
Despite this moment of sorrow and despair, faith as a source of eternal deliverance is represented by the good thieve and the centurion who are saved after claiming Christ the Son of God. 
The painting was first restored in the 1940s then in 1966 due to increasing damages. Today some painted areas are very dark, almost illegible to visitors, due to the heavy varnishes and treatments, that altered the quality of the canvas.
The restoration was started in 2017 and is going to last a few years.
Anybody can become a supporter and donate a gift which will enable Save Venice to sustain their efforts in the city, including an array of different interventions aimed at preserving a universal heritage!
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