Tintoretto’s The Creation of Animals

ARCHiVe carried out the high-resolution recording of Tintoretto’s painting The Creation of Animals from the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. This is a pilot project in collaboration with art historian Cleo Nisse from Columbia University, who examined several paintings from the museum over the past two years, as part of a research agreed with the Gallerie.

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of the painting © Marina Luchetti | Factum Foundation

Nisse’s research focuses on the transition from panel to canvas as the primary support for painting in Renaissance Venice. While this transition came about partly for practical reasons, her research reveals how working on a flexible textured surface changed the essential processes of painting, including the way brush marks were made and conceived on the canvas, and how the substrate impacts the final appearance of pictures.

Tintoretto frequently used canvases composed of fragments stitched together, as in The Creation of the Animals. Comprised of three irregularly sized pieces of canvas with two different weave patterns, the topography of the canvas interacts with the subject matter: one of the seams connecting two panels runs along the edge of a tree trunk, almost imitating the irregularity of bark. The thin paint layer allows the varied topography of the textile foundation to emerge into the painting, while the occasional punctuation of impasto brushstrokes provides further dimensionality.

The 3D imaging by the Lucida Scanner will help probe more deeply into this dynamic painting, understanding and communicating the relationship between texture and colour

The Director of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Giulio Manieri Elia, and PhD candidate Cleo Nisse discussing the scan of the painting with Factum Foundation’s Marina Luchetti © Gabriel Scarpa | Factum Foundation

Detail of The Creation of Animals – colour © Factum Foundation

Detail of The Creation of Animals – surface © Factum Foundation