Tintoretto: A Renaissance Man

Colby Gendron


Jacopo Tintoretto was easily one of the most influential painters of the Renaissance. He was born in Venice, Italy where he spent most of his life. He studied with Bonifazio Veronese and was taught by Titian. Instead of reflecting upon Titian's art, he builds upon it using his own sense of imagination while bringing a focal point to the art. Tintoretto was unique because his work has a sense of gentleness while still following the Renaissance design. He led a very retired lifestyle and was only concerned with his works and the well-being of his family. He always lived in Venice, Italy with his wife, daughter, and two sons who were both painters. One of his sons, Domenico, took over his workshop when he was older and tried to be like his father, Tintoretto. He was a painter who had many spectacular pieces including: Paradise, Portrait of a Man, Finding the Body of Saint Mark, and Jesus Christ and the Good Thief. Tintoretto did not select between patrons as Titian did: rather than prioritizing prestigious foreign clients, he concentrated on fulfilling local demands such as Schiavone. The real name of Tintoretto was Jacopo Robusti, but he is better known by his nickname, meaning the "little dyer," his father having been a silk dyer. Tintoret means silk dyer in Latin.

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The Work

The name of this piece is "Finding the Body of Saint Mark" and was created in 1562-1566 AD. This piece is currently located in the church of Angeli, Murano and can also be found in any Renaissance encyclopedia. The most significant aspect of this piece is the compositional unity and a rich choice of muted colors to bring the piece together. The techniques used in this piece were having a focus point in the front and having the hallway fade away. Also, the texture and composition of the painting strengthen the darkness behind the work. I find this piece so interesting because the body of Saint Mark looks disturbed and I do not know how he died. Furthermore, the color is interesting to the eye and stands out to me. The artwork exemplifies humanism because of the theory that all humans are rational beings. In this piece, Saint Mark appears to be dead as the other people appear to be helping him showing that they are rational. This piece of artwork best shows how people of the Renaissance painted and what colors they used.