Tintoretto Virtual Exhibit

By Lubomir Rzepka

The Life of An Artist

Tintoretto was born in 1518 in Venice, Italy. He was the oldest of twenty-one children and was actually nicknamed Tintoretto because he was a dyers son, 'tintore' meaning dye. His full name was in-fact, Jacopo Comin. Tintoretto spent most of his life in Venice, he loved art and played various typical instruments as well as those of his own invention. Tintoretto became a painter, a visionary artist, yet had little formal training. He studied under Titian, but only for about ten days, as Titian saw he was a great artist but never thought he would be a good pupil. It is believed he may have studied under Bonifazio and Paris Bardone two painters of the Renaissance. Tintoretto was inspired heavily by Titians work as well as the works of Michael-Angelo, and although Titian had been a teacher, he and Tintoretto were never really friends. Tintoretto painted in the mannerist style, he usually worked in secret and much of the time ended up selling his works on the street by himself. Patrons came such as the Poligrafi, but more often than not, Tintoretto would work alone, without the assistance of benefactors. Tintoretto was a brilliant painter of the Renaissance, he was a man who did his best to make his way in the world and was recognized then and even years after.

The Miracle of the Slave

Tintoretto was an artist, his work was dark and yet stunning, one of his most famous pieces was 'The Miracle of the Slave'. It is believed to have been created sometime in 1518. It is currently not on display but can be viewed on The National Gallery's website. The work is in the mannerist style, a dramatic scene depicting the death and spiritual saving of a slave by Saint Mark. It is said Tintoretto had, 'The drawing of Michelangelo and the color of Titian'. It is a skeptic piece, considering the action of the slave and his death rather intensely, and that he had done no wrong, this maybe being a comment of Tintoretto's society. Tintoretto himself was a man who had to dip his feet into the public water to make a living, selling many of his paintings himself. He was the very face of capitalism, selling and distributing mostly on his own. I find the piece interesting because of the scenery it captures, the dark mood below contorting into a miraculous sight up above. The scene is brilliantly depicted and captured with a sense of life, it is subtly vibrant yet expressive. The painting has a deep melancholic mood and yet as we look further up it captures ecstasy in peace, acceptance, and cleansing of the soul.



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Detail from Jacopo Tintoretto, Self-portrait
© The Art Archive/Musée du Louvre, Paris/Gianni Dagli Orti

Tintoretto, Jacopo. Miracle of the Slave. 1518. Not On Display, n.p.