Other resonances emerge in the juxtaposition of Tintoretto with Francesca Woodman (1958-1971), whose photographs are currently on view at Victoria Miro gallery (until 15th December). Deeply informed by her experiences in Italy, many of the works were inspired by the spaces of the Pastificio Cerere, an abandoned pasta factory in Rome that became a centre of artistic experimentation. Both Tintoretto and Woodman are masters of the figure in motion, but two of their quieter images form an unexpected dialogue. In Tintoretto’s last rendition of Susanna and Elders (pictured above), he shifts the traditional focus from the violating gaze of the male onlookers to the assured, inviolate figure of Susanna contemplating her own beauty. In highly complex ways, Woodman similarly affirms her body as formal object of beauty as well as activating subject.
In a photograph from the Eel Series created in Venice, the young artist, who tragically ended her life at age 22, lies in a protective curve shaped like the island itself. In symbiosis with the delicate, curling creature, the image suggests the fragile interplay between humans and their surrounding ecology, one that symbolises the city which inspires it.
Words by Dr Anna Marazuela Kim
Image Credits: Tintoretto images in the public domain. Francesca Woodman, From Eel Series, Venice, Italy, 1978. Gelatin silver estate print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm, 8 x 10 in, © Charles Woodman, Courtesy Charles Woodman, and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. All other images by the author.