Essays in Aesthetics

By Jean-Paul Sartre; Wade Baskin | Go to book overview

THE VENETIAN PARIAH

Jacopo's Shenanigans

Nothing. His life is an enigma: A few dates, a few facts, and then the cackling of ancient writers. But courage: Venice speaks to us. Her voice is that of a perjured witness, now shrill, now whispering, always marked by periods of silence. Tintoretto's life story, the portrait painted during his lifetime by his native city, is tinged with unrequited animosity. The Doge's City reveals her contempt for the most celebrated of her sons. Nothing is stated outright; there are hints, suggestions, remarks made in passing. This inflexible hatred has the inconsistency of sand; it takes the form, not so much of outspoken aversion, as of coldness, moroseness, insidious ostracism. And this is just what we would expect. Jacopo fights a losing battle against a vast adversary, grows tired, surrenders, dies. That is the sum and substance of his life. We can study it in all its somber nakedness if for an instant we push aside the brushwood of slander that blocks our passage.

First, the birth of the dyer's son in 1518. Venice immediately insinuates that fate has marked him from the outset: "About 1530 the youth started to work in Titian's studio as an apprentice but was dismissed a few days later when the illustrious quinquagenarian discovered his genius." This anecdote reappears in book

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*
First published in Les Temps Modernes ( November, 1957) under the title of Le Séquestré de Venice. (Translator's notes are indicated by an asterisk.)

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Essays in Aesthetics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • The Venetian Pariah 1
  • The Puritans of the Rialto 12
  • Man at Bay 30
  • A Mole in the Sun 38
  • The Paintings of Giacometti 46
  • The Unpriveleged Painter: Lapoujade 60
  • The Mobiles of Calder 78
  • The Quest for the Absolute 82
  • Index 93
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