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A new lighting system for Tintoretto’s masterpieces

Sarah Mead, Editor


Tags: Lighting

Topics: Lighting

iGuzzini continues its commitment to enhancing cultural heritage with a lighting project that improves visitors’ experience of the Sala Capitolare at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.

To mark the 500th anniversary of Tintoretto’s birth, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and iGuzzini, a leading company in the architectural and museum lighting sectors - are unveiling a new lighting system in the Sala Capitolare.

The project has been created using smart lighting solutions by iGuzzini, technical sponsor for the installation. It is designed by the architect and lighting designer Alberto Pasetti Bombardella who specialises in illuminating works of art and has decades of experience working in the cultural heritage sector.

The Sala Capitolare houses Tintoretto’s grand artistic and iconographic project which consists of thirty-three paintings with scenes from the Old Testament on the ceiling and scenes from the New Testament on the walls. The vast paintings on both the ceilings and the walls are bound together in a single, grandiose project based on two artistic cycles.

“The Scuola Grande pursues its spiritual goals not only through aid and charity activities, but also by communicating a message of solidarity and fraternity. In this perspective, the light that Tintoretto 'discovers' in the second half of the sixteenth century is not only the means through which reality is perceived, but also a way of virtually revealing the essence of nature and humankind. Light is therefore both a synonym for knowledge and a metaphor for life. This was the meeting point between the Scuola

Grande’s moral goals and iGuzzini’s innovative technology” observed Franco Posocco, Grand Guardian of San Rocco. “Here, the power of technological developments lends itself to the humanism transmitted through the eternal and universal message of art.”

On the one hand, the new lighting project restores the chromatic and figurative uniqueness of these artworks by improving the visitor’s experience through innovative forms of interpretation (created by differentiated lighting scenes), while on the other, it enhances the hall’s decorations and architecture.

“Through this project, iGuzzini has once again demonstrated its ability to incorporate technology into an environment of invaluable historic and artistic worth. The decision to create smart, custom-built solutions for Tintoretto’s great masterpieces and to use special LEDs and optics to enhance the artist’s choices of light and colour exalts the emotional and theatrical appeal of these paintings and improves the visitor’s experience through a real ‘perceptive restoration’. In fact, iGuzzini’s lighting is, first and foremost, a social innovation tool” commented Adolfo Guzzini, the President of iGuzzini illuminazione.

After the new lighting systems designed for Leonardo’s The Last Supper (2015), Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (2017) and Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica (2018), iGuzzini continues its commitment to enhancing world cultural heritage, through the Light is Back programme, by illuminating the masterpieces of another great artist. A new project has therefore been signed with the Confraternity of San Rocco in which iGuzzini agrees to put forward technical improvements in the years to come to help adapt the existing system to future technological developments. The new lighting system offers visitors an overall vision of the hall while also highlighting the details of the individual artworks. Moreover, all the iGuzzini solutions guarantee maximum energy efficiency and blend into the hall’s architecture and decorative features through minimal visual impact. The light is managed and controlled by an iGuzzini digital system using DALI protocol that allows adjusting the light intensity of both individual luminaires and those grouped for homogeneous areas, and differentiated activations that allow for different interpretations of the works and decorations.

In Venice, in addition to the lighting project at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, iGuzzini is also contributing to the implementation of the artistic installation Art Light Flags by Mario Arlati promoted by the Piazza San Marco Association in collaboration with the Galleria Contini and Vela S.p.a. As from tonight, the bell tower of San Marco, a symbol of Venice par excellence, will be illuminated by the coloured flags of the talented contemporary artist.

The lighting design

In full compliance with the pre-existing conditions, the new lighting system designed by Studio Pasetti incorporates three main installation areas:

- The historic Mariano Fortuny floor lamps which illuminate the ceiling in the main open-plan area;

- Along the walls, above the ridged wooden panels, the lighting focuses on the vertical panels, the stone mullioned windows and

the wooden allegories;

- On the floor next to the railing around the altar, the lighting emphasises the altar.

On the ceiling, there are thirteen biblical-themed paintings; the three main ones receive accent lighting from the View projectors with 16°, 28° and 46° optics positioned in Fortuny’s historic floor lamps. A number of rectangular View projectors with Opti Linear optics provide indirect and general lighting to this specific area.

On the walls, the lighting solutions adopted restore all the chromatic and figurative beauty of the Venetian master’s highlights and brushstrokes with an upward semi-grazing effect. The decision to install miniaturised track on both the longitudinal sides of the room allowed installing the luminaires - specifically designed for this project - under the large Tintoretto canvases depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The wooden allegories by 17th century sculptor Francesco Pianta are illuminated with precise and delicately balanced light flows that enhance the expressive, three-dimensional nature of the figures represented. To achieve this effect, the previous incandescent lighting system has been replaced by Palco projectors mounted on Low Voltage track.

The cabinets on either side of the altar are illuminated using a double luminous flux floor system consisting of Palco luminaires with 42° optics which create a diffuse veil of light over the entire vertical surface. Palco Framer profilers, also mounted on the Low Voltage track, have also been installed to enhance Giovanni Marchiori’s bas-reliefs.

The historical perimeter lanterns, elements characterising the architectural context, have been maintained, but were rendered more efficient by replacing the devices inside them with circular luminaires specifically designed by iGuzzini and featuring an opal screen and RGBW technology. The white light emitted has a warm, 2500K colour temperature that recalls the historic glow of the candles. The coloured light effect of these luminaires is used only during special events or ceremonies.

In the rest of the space, two main colour temperatures have been used to illuminate the works of art: 3000K is the temperature chosen to enhance the paintings of the Venetian master and the golden ceiling; for the dark wooden details, free of gilding or light colours, a colour temperature of 2700K was chosen to emphasise the plasticity of the sculpted wood. All the light sources have a colour rendering index of over 90.

About iGuzzini

Established in 1959, iGuzzini Illuminazione is a leading international group that operates in the architectural lighting sector with approximately 1500 employees. The company is dedicated to researching, designing and producing indoor and outdoor lighting systems in collaboration with the best lighting designers, architects, planners and research centres around the world. Based in Recanati, in the Marches region of Italy, iGuzzini is active in over 20 countries spread across five continents. The company’s main focus is to use light in cultural, work, retail, urban, infrastructure and hospitality & living contexts to improve the relationship between humans and the environment through its research, manufacturing, technology and knowhow. In 2017, the company’s consolidated revenue reached €232.3 million, recording a 26 per cent increase over the last five years.

For more information please visit the iGuzzini website: www.iguzzini.com

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