Jacopo Robusti, known as TINTORETTO
(Venice, 1518 - 1594)
St. Mark Rescuing a Slave Giclee Print
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life and art:
Named Tintoretto after his father's profession of dyer (tintore in Italian: so it means little dyer, or dyer's boy) he spent most of his life in Venice and most of his work is still in the churches or other buildings for which it was painted. It is said that his father, noticing his talent, asked Titian to accept him as pupil: but after 10 days of training Titian refused the young Tintoretto, maybe for jealousy.
One of Tintoretto's early masterpiece is the "St.Mark rescuing a slave", 1548 (which can be admired in the Academy of Venice), where the dramatic use of perspective lines is already evident and gives impressive strenght to the composition. A precursor of Baroque art, Tintoretto was the last great painter of the renaissance. He used to make small wax models which he arranged on a stage and experimented on with spotlights for effects of light and shade and composition: this is why the same figures appear in his works, seen from different angles. Striving for perfection, his favourite motto, inscribed on his studio wall, was `The drawing of Michelangelo and the color of Titian'. But his trait was far different: more immediate and full of energy (he was also called "il furioso", the furious; and even his last name Robusti means "strong"), and his color is more realistic than Titian's.
Maybe Tintoretto's greatest works are the paintings for the Scuola di San Rocco, painted from 1565 to 1587: starting in the upper hall with scenes from the life of Christ and scenes from the life of the Virgin in the lower hall. Ruskin and Henry James dedicated some pages to his art. James wrote of the Crucifixion: `Surely no single picture in the world contains more of human life: there is everything in it, including the most exquisite beauty.'
Tintoretto painted religious scenes, mythological scenes, portraits. Several portraits of old men can still be seen, and various self-portraits.
His son Domenico (c. 1560-1635) became an appreciated painter and worked with him; many portraits are attributed to Domenico but none with certainty. In Tintoretto's studio also worked his other son, Marco (1561-1637), and his daughter, Marietta (1556-90).
Tintoretto and his use of light had great influence not only on Venetian painting, but also on many artists, such as the Spanish El Greco.
A gallery of paintings by Tintoretto: