Melania Mazzucco
Jacomo Tintoretto e sua figlia Marietta (Jacomo Tintoretto and His Daughter Marietta)
Rizzoli, 2009, 1026 pages

Abridged for the foreign market

In 2009, Rizzoli published international bestselling novelist Melania Mazzuco’s unconventional biography, Jacomo Tintoretto and His Sons. Now, for foreign markets, Mazzuco is preparing an abridged version of this important book, telescoping its story down to that of Tintoretto and his extraordinary relationship with his only pupil: his daughter, Marietta. The revised edition will include approximately 400 pages of text—200,000 words divided among 20 chapters and enhanced by an Appendix of notes, a detailed bibliography, and a character index.

Jacomo Tintoretto and His Sons was the result of ten years of personal involvement and intense study. Mazzucco combed and consulted sources generally considered inaccessible: secular and religious archives housed in museums, libraries, and parish registers throughout Europe—in particular in Venice, Florence, and the Vatican in Rome.  The result, in this abridged version, is a doubly fascinating portrait and tribute to two Italian artists: an enigmatic man who lived for his art, and his illegitimate daughter, who became not only an artist in her own right, but also a highly intriguing figure of artistic and literary myth.

Jacomo Robusti (1518-1594), also known as Tintoretto, is one of the most famous artists of the Italian Renaissance. A man of humble origins, he had an infernal character: ironic and brilliant, but also swindling and deceitful, obsessed with his position in 16th century hierarchical Venice. Tintoretto battled for years to assert himself against his insidious enemies, but also, and perhaps above all, against himself, his family, and the majestic yet suspicious city that surrounded him. Explosive, ambitious, and non-conformist, Tintoretto sacrificed everything and everyone for his painting. He sent most of his children away, putting his daughters in convents and banishing his more rebellious sons from the family home. He devoted himself to unremitting labour and produced countless works that reflect his restless and conflicted soul—caught between the intimate and the epic, fidelity and betrayal, vulgarity and spirituality, secularism and religion.

In time, Tintoretto’s existence would centre on a woman of unusual intelligence, creativity and vision: Marietta, his illegitimate daughter, who dressed like a boy in order to follow on her father’s heels. A portrait-painter of considerable skill, as well as a gifted singer and instrumentalist, Marietta was Tintoretto’s most perfect creation. During the Romantic Period, she became the protagonist of a number of paintings, novels, and dramas, as well as a legend in the historiography of art. But the real woman has been all but left behind in favour of a distorted image of her evasive life. Her works have been lost and much of her legacy exists today merely in the form of her influences on the messy oeuvre of the Tintoretto School. Finally, here, Melania Mazzuco resurrects both Tintoretto and Marietta’s accomplishments in this critically valuable book.

1. A Little Girl (Foreword)
2. The Disease (Idem)
3. The Silk Art: Master Battista (Tintoretto’s family and his father, 1509-1530)
4. The Butterfly Catcher: The Youth of Jacomo Robusti (1530-1547)
5. The God of Painting (Early achievements and disappointments, 1548-1555)
6. An Illicit Birth (Tintoretto’s mistress, 1555-1560)
7. Dearest Faustina (The wedding of Jacomo Robusti, 1560)
8. The Scoundrel: The Unstoppable Rise of Tintoretto (Tintoretto paints for the School of Saint Marco and Saint Rocco, 1560-1568)
9. Calamitous Times (Venice at war, Tintoretto enters the Doge’s Palace, 1569-75)
10. Being So Young (The childhood and adolescence of Marietta Tintoretto, 1556-1576)
11. I Did This by My Hand (Works by Marietta Tintoretto)
12. A Tremendous Plague (The plague in Venice, 1575-77)
13. Captain Mezaruola (Tintoretto’s policeman-uncle, Marietta’s dowry, 1577-78)
14. Proud to See Her Married (Marietta’s wedding, 1587)
15. The Wife of Marco Augusta, A Jeweler (Marietta leaves home, 1578-1590)
16. Second to No One (Tintoretto’s Last Triumphs, 1580-1590)
17. Marietta Tintoretta: A Legend (The myth of Marietta in art, theatre, music, and literature)
18. The Mystery of the Face (The myth of Marietta in self-portraits around the world)
19. The Rest of My Life at His Service (Tintoretto’s last years, 1590-94)
20. Memories of Mine (The Art of Tintoretto)

Melania Mazzucco

Melania G. Mazzucco was born and lives in Rome. She is the author of Il bacio della Medusa (1996, 2022), La camera di Baltus (1998), Lei così amata (2000, Premio Napoli), about the writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Vita (2003, Premio Strega), Un giorno perfetto (2005), on which was based the movie with the same title by Ferzan Ozpetek, and two works about the Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto: the novel La lunga attesa dell’angelo (2008, Premio Bagutta) and the essay Jacomo Tintoretto e i suoi figli (2009, Premio Comisso). In 2011 she received the Premio letterario Viareggio-Tobino as Author of the Year. Then, she wrote Limbo (2012, Premio Elsa Morante, Premio Rhegium Julii, Premio Matteotti, Premio Bottari Lattes Grinzane), Il bassotto e la Regina (2012, Premio Frignano Ragazzi 2013), Sei come sei (2013), Il museo del mondo (2014), in which she narrates 54 works of art, Io sono con te (2016, Rai Radio 3 Fahrenheit‘s Book of the Year), L’architettrice (2019, Premio Alassio, Premio Capalbio, Premio Alassio “Un autore per l’Europa”, Premio Dessì, Premio Corrado Alvaro e Libero Bigiaretti, Premio Io Donna, Premio Stresa, Premio Mastercard, Premio Manzoni, Premio Righetto, Premio Friuli Venezia Giulia), Self portrait. Il museo del mondo delle donne (2022). In 2020 she won the Premio alla Carriera John Fante. In 2021 she received Premio regione Friuli Venezia Giulia with the long story Fuoco infinito. She created and wrote the docu-film Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice, a 2019 Sky Arts original production distributed in cinemas all over the world. She wrote for the theatre, the cinema and the radio and is a contributor to la Repubblica. She’s among the authors of the anthology Ferite (2021). Her books have been translated in 28 countries.

Download here Melania Mazzucco’s rights catalogue


Foreign publishers of Melania G. Mazzucco’s works
Albania: Albas
Bulgaria: Uniscorp, Jelenkor
Canada: HarperCollins, Harper Perennial
China: Horizon
Croatia: Oceanmore
Denmark: Tellerup, Turbine
Finland: Avain
France: Flammarion, J’ai lu, Editions du Club
Germany, Austria and Switzerland: Piper, Knaus, btb, Hoffmann und Campe
Georgia: Sulakauri
Greece: Diigisi, Modern Times
Hungary: Európa Könyvkiadó
Israel: Schocken, Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir
Japan: Michitani
Korea: Random House Corea
The Netherlands and Belgium: Mouria, Atlas-Contact
Norway: Cappelen
Poland: Wab-Foksal
Portugal: Book Cover
Romania: Polirom
Russia: Ast
Serbia: Mono j Manjana, Sezam Book
Spain and South America: Seix Barral, Planeta, Anagrama
Sweden: Norsteds, Contempo
Turkey: Yapi Kredi Culture and Arts, Doğan Kitap
UK: Pushkin
US and UK: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Picador, Thornedike Press

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