Tintoretto

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One of the greatest Venetian painters of the 16th century, Tintoretto was born Jacopo Comin in 1518 in Venice, Italy. Not much is known about Tintoretto’s childhood apart from facts like his father was a cloth dyer, hence he was given the name Tintoretto which translates to ‘’little dyer’’. If one looks closely at all of Tintoretto’s masterpieces there is a very strong link of religion, mythology and inspiration drawn from earlier Renaissance related art. Michelangelo was perhaps the strongest influence for Tintoretto whilst growing up in Venice and developing a knack for painting.

If we pick up any of Tintoretto’s masterpieces – and there are quite a few – be it Paradise, Miracle of the Slave or perhaps the most grandeur of them all, The Last Supper. One can clearly see that there is an art of storytelling in each of Tintoretto’s paintings. Every painting is rich, dramatic and full of faces, colors and epic landscapes. Some fellow artists who were jealous of Tintoretto’s success at such an early age accused him of using a broom rather than a brush for his paintings. Tintoretto never cared for any of his haters, instead devoting all his energy towards his paintings. In many ways it is almost like a theatrical setting of a well known play with Tintoretto being the writer, director and actor. This is what Tintoretto was known for and is considered his trademark. He is one of those rare painters who didn’t venture away from their home; Venice was where his heart lay and from where he drew inspiration from for his art. He was born in Venice, bred in Venice, worked in Venice and is buried in Venice. Tintoretto even married a local Venetian woman who became one of his staunchest supporters when it came to his love for art. Together they had 8 children out of whom 3 went on to carry his legacy. He became one of Venice’s most well known and beloved painters. The religious touch in some of pieces like The Worship of the Golden Calf, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes were driven by his interest in the subject of religion and the fact that most churches commissioned him to paint for them. In general, Tintoretto was not a religious man, though his paintings suggest that he was someone who had a deep affinity for Christianity.

The dramatic elements of Tintoretto’s paintings are what set him apart from other painters. Each of his work is lined with deep thought, almost as if he was envisioning the scene and playing it out in his mind before embarking on painting them. There was a deep thought process associated with each of his paintings, which is strongly attributed to the magnanimous effect his paintings have even to this day. It is strange that his last work right before his death was his most magnificent one; Paradise, which now rests at the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is almost as if Tintoretto knew this would be the last thing he ever paints for so rich and vast is his paintings that it takes a while for it to sink in when one first looks at it. Paradise has a very awing effect to it, Tintoretto indeed saved up the best for last. Another rare thing about Tintoretto was that he didn’t paint so that people would admire his work; he painted because he truly loved the art of giving life to an empty canvas. One can even say that Tintoretto was a masterful story teller who chose to tell stories via his paintings.

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