Titian and the Painters of the "Disjointed Speech"

Written by  Gianni Venturi
An exhibition to celebrate Tasso's theory of style.
The restoration carried out by Ottorino Nonfarmale of Titian's Ascension in the Church of San Salvatore in Venice is to mark the occasion of a refined exhibition that will bring together the work of a series of painters who from that painting, but especially from Tasso's theory of style, brought about a profound revolution regarding the concept of representation, detached from the traditional investigations into chiaroscuro and obtained instead through sensory matching, by a kind of synaesthesia.

In a famous letter dated 1 October 1575 to Scipione Gonzaga, Tasso justifies the use of a stylistic technique that he calls "disjointed speech" by means of which the co-ordination and subordination of words is brought about in a conjectural and sensory manner. This procedure, also known as dissoluta locutio (or "free style"), leads to a nobility and magnificence of language worthy of the epic poem. One may certainly see the influence of the poet's theories in Titian's splendid canvas as it is a painting that tackles the problem of light and composition as if it sprang from and was solved by the technique of disjointed speech.

If we return to this principle of poetics, it is possible to imagine an exhibition, accompanied by and commented upon by a conference on the subject and the results of the articles in the catalogue regarding Titian's great picture, which is making a special stop in Ferrara on its way back to Venice. The Titian will be surrounded by a series of works by Bastianino, Jacopo Bassano, Tintoretto, Palma, Barocci, that will make it possible to demonstrate the impact of "disjointed speech" on the painting of the last twenty-five years of the 16th century.