'St Mary of Egypt', after TintorettoArtist:
, Italian, 1854 - 1931
, Venetian, 1519 - 1594
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 470 x 288mm
Support: 270 x 188mm
Accession Number: CGSG00335
Tintoretto’s original work was commissioned as part of a cycle of biblical paintings by the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, a powerful religious and charitable organisation. This painting isn’t part of the larger narrative story, but is used to fill a small wall-space in their Lower Hall.
Ruskin hugely admired Tintoretto's paintings at the Scuola, feeling they were one of the most important cycles of painting in Italy. He wrote a critique of the cycle in his 'Venetian Index' of 1852 and told visitors to 'pay unembarrassed attention and unbroken time' to the paintings.
In 1885, Ruskin wrote to Alessandri asking for watercolour copies of the complete series of paintings at the Scuola saying 'nothing would be more valuable to me than a complete series of it.' Ruskin noted particularly the hurried manner of Tintoretto’s original painting of St Mary, which Alessandri has imitated in the loose brushwork of his copy.