The present volume, although planned on slightly different lines, is the natural sequence to my book on Titian, published by the Phaidon Press in 1935. In each case an incentive to write the book was given by an exhibition held in the Palazzo Pesaro in Venice shortly before the publication. The "Mostra del Tintoretto" in 1937—like that of Titian which preceded it by two years—not only brought together under the most favourable conditions a selection of the most important works, but also—and this is the essential point— surrounded the personality of the artist to whom it was dedicated with an atmosphere of veneration which was bound to provide an incentive for new literary studies of his work. A large number of people for whom Tintoretto was little more than a name were able to appreciate his greatness and his vitality with their own eyes. To achieve the same result with the aid of words and pictures is the aim of my book.
This is more necessary in Tintoretto's case than it is with certain other artists, the recognition and admiration of whom form a part of universal culture. Tintoretto lived at a time when the feeling that a zenith in the development of art had just been passed was becoming a firm conviction. The critical attitude with which, despite the loud admiration of many, his achievements were received, persisted to an exaggerated degree throughout the periods which followed. Writers on Tintoretto, even if they did not pass definitely unfavourable judgement on him, were unable to refrain from adopting a somewhat apologetic attitude. An incentive was thus lacking which encouraged the investigation of the lives of other artists, handed down to us under happier auspices. To what a great extent real affection is a help to understanding is proved by Ruskin's and still more by Thode's writings on Tintoretto, in which the intimate understanding of his artistic personality paved the way for their critical studies. Thode's monograph on Tintoretto—together with the numerous critical studies supplementing it which he published in the Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft—has remained the fundamental work for the understanding and study of Tintoretto.
Succeeding generations developed these fundamental notions in various directions. While Osmaston in England and F. Fosca in France sought to enlarge our general knowledge of the artist by increasing and deepening our knowledge of details, in Italy Mary Pittaluga and in Germany von der Bercken and Mayer, as well as Detlev Freiherr von Hadeln, have made successful investigations into various aspects of his activity, enriching his œuvre by a series of valuable attributions. Bercken-Mayer and Pittaluga have also given . . .