Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) Venecia, 1519 – 1594

Born in a still Renaissance Venice, Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, took up the teachings of the Mannerist culture developed in Florence and Rome, adapting them to a personal pictorial language in which the treatment of color and light over drawing, and expressiveness, movement, theatricality and passion over rationality stand out.

La adoración de los magos, obra renacentista del pintor Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto
The Adoration of the Magi, by Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto

Biography and works of Tintoretto

Although he was remarkable in the art of portraiture, he cultivated religious painting in an exceptional way, connecting its moving expressiveness with the popular devotion of the time and serving in a certain sense the dictates of the art of the Counter-Reformation.

Tintoretto’s life and work are inextricably linked to the city of the lagoon, from which he hardly moved. The first known documentary reference to the painter dates from May 1539, when, at the age of twenty, he is mentioned as an independent master. There is no reliable information about his apprenticeship and training, although ancient sources make him a disciple of Titian.

Tintoretto attended numerous commissions from local churches and confraternities or «scuole» that forced him to repeat religious themes over and over again, as in the case of the «Last Supper».

In November 1542 the directors of the «Scuola Grande di San Marco» agreed to continue the decoration of the sacred building, begun at the end of the 15th century, calling on Tintoretto, who resolved with Roman monumentality, full of Michelangelesque accents, the episode of St. Mark freeing the slave.

Although Tintoretto’s main clients were churches and scuole, he also worked for the State. His participation in the decoration of the Doge’s Palace in Venice began in the fifties and continued intermittently until the end of his career.

In the «Scuola Grande di san Rocco» Tintoretto certainly carried out his most creative work, working with a freedom that, above all, can be appreciated in the speed of his work, in the «prestezza» that he will often be reproached for, but which is one of the most innovative and characteristic values of his art.


PORTRAIT OF THE PROCURATOR ALESSANDRO GRITTI…..1581-1582, oil on canvas, 99 x 75 cm, Museo Nacional de arte de Cataluña

MIRACLE OF SAN MARCOS…..1547, oil on canvas, 202 x262 cm, Galleries of the Academy of Venice

THE LAVATORIO…..1547, oil on canvas, 210 x 533 cm, Museo del Prado

JUDIT AND HOLOFERNES…..1555, oil on canvas, 58 x 203 cm, Museo del Prado

SUSANNE AND THE OLD MEN…..1555, oil on canvas, 147 x 194 cm, Kunthistorisches Museum Vienna

THE FINDING OF THE BODY OF SAINT MARCH…..1562-1566, oil on canvas, 405 x 405 cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

THE CRUCIFIXION…..1565, oil on canvas, 536 x 1224 cm, Scuola Grande di san Rocco, Venice

MOSES MAKES WATER SPRING FROM THE ROCK…..1577, oil on canvas, 550 x 520 cm, Scuola Grande di san Rocco, Venice

THE FLEE TO EGYPT…..1581-1588, oil on canvas, 422 x 580 cm, Scuola Grande di san Rocco, Venice

LADY DISCOVERING HER BREAST…..1575, oil on canvas, 61 x 55 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain