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Jacob Tintoretto

1519 - 1594

Italian  High Renaissance Painter of the Venetian School

Stylistically influenced by the following painters -  Michelangelo, Titian and Sano di Pietro

Education - Studied under Titian


Jacob Tintoretto was born during a flood in Venice, the year was 1519. Known as Tintoretto-the "little dyer"-because his father was a dyer by trade. He is described as a stormy and exalted spirit, a fiery passionate nature. Like all other Venetians of the day, Tintoretto had studied with Titian, and appears in his first works as a master of the Renaissance, tranquil in sentiment, gleaming and golden in color. He painted the radiant nudity of the youthful female form, studied the play and reflection of light as it softly caresses the back, and by means of a fairy-like landscape imparted to his paintings a solemn and majestic splendor. His  representation of Christ Washing the Feet of His Apostles signifies, in its joyous Renaissance spirit, the zenith of his work as a worldly painter. The sunlight floods across the hall, and through the rows of shimmering palaces and the glittering mirror of lagoons.

"While in Titians portraits the most beautiful women of Venice pass by, among Tintoretto' s few woman occur, and such as do are harsh and mannish, massive and heavy. The portraits of dogs and procurators which he painted in an official capacity are the only ones which reveal him in his full greatness. Here also a harsh objectivity differentiates him form Titian. While the latter seeks beautiful poses and graceful movement, and by use of columns and a curtain imparts to the background also a festal and decorative effect, Tintoretto' s backgrounds are somber, enlivened with a coat of arms at most; and he is unable to render a beautiful pose because he never paints entire figures but mostly a three-quarter piece. Even the hands, upon which Titian bestowed so much attention, he subordinates to the head, either concealing them in Danish gloves or completing them in a few brushstrokes. By means of this simplification and also because he never paints transient traits, he achieves even more powerful and monumental effects than Titian. Velasquez learned much from Tintoretto' s portraits of senators.

In his portrait groups he appears as a predecessor of Frans Hals.  He was the first to paint pictures intended for public buildings, which, like the Dutch doelenstukke, united a number of officials in a single group. But while the Dutch, in order to unite the figures, represented them at a banquet, Tintoretto' s nobility were far to proud to show themselves to the  people in exalted condition. Without any bond of union, without any loss of composure, gloomy and reserved, they stand there, like Spanish grandness upon Italian soil.

But the real Tintoretto, the diligent master workman of the wild and fanatical style which dominated the following decades, can only be studied in his religious pictures. It seems as if suddenly a dark cloud had overcast the bright heaven of Venetian art. Instead of enchanting festal music of Veronese, funeral marches and trumpet blasts sound; instead of smiling woman, bloody martyrs and pale ascetics appear.


The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:

The  Serpent

Good Shepherd


Adam and Eve




Virgin Mary


The Anchor

The Apostles



The Cross

Architectural Elements



The Saints









Household Object

Clothing and Accessories


Important Words, People, Phrases, Characteristics related to the Italian Renaissance Art Movement - rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning, Medici Academy, publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory, Petrarch, Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, liberal arts, civic humanism, Verrocchio, secularism, Leonardo Bruni, Lorenzo Valla, Neo-Platonism, nominalism, Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Quattrocento, vanishing point, Savonarola, oligarchy spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  iconoclast,  Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology,  realistic use of colours and light Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parablesThe Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism. Paradise

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Milanese School,
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Sienese School
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Early Renaissance
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