Jacopo Robusti’s work was perhaps the most beautiful mastered and widely acknowledged of the 16th century.
Tintoretto, (Jacopo Robusti) was perhaps one of the most gifted and influential artists of the 16th century. Although his name does not flow off of the layman’s tongue like, Vincent Van Gogh or Leonardo da Vinci, Tintoretto’s work was perhaps the most beautiful mastered and widely acknowledged of the time period. While other artists of the time period were content to work in the same style and medium as their predecessors, “Tintoretto, instead of learning traditional methods, was forced to invent new ones, not as a modern artist would, out of dissatisfaction with the old regime…but simply because there was nothing else for him to do.
Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto, was born in Venice in 1815 and died there in 1594. Although there is some speculation about his actual birth date—“Even the date of his birth is a mere tradition and it is not definitely settled whether this happened in 1512 or 1519”—most historians agree an 1815 as it is much more probable and agrees more closely with the subsequent events of his life. Born the son of a dryer, Tintoretto (the little dyer) exhibited exceptional talent at a very young age. In his early youth he displayed talent for the harp, however, Tintoretto’s aptitude for painting was even more pronounced than his musical ability: “The son of a dyer would enjoy ample opportunity to cultivate the pictorial talent, if he had it in him, and no doubt young Jacopo frescoed his father’s walls and those of the neighbors with immature designs in lake and indigo at an early age”.
Because Tintoretto displayed such an acuity for painting, his father quickly set him to studying with the master at the time, Titan. Tintoretto’s father paid a handsome price for his son’s education, but to his dismay, Tintoretto was dismissed from Titan’s school with no explanation as to why. Eager to make a name for himself, Tintoretto used this opportunity to set up a studio for himself and set about transforming Venetian painting by adding brilliant color and a pleasant grace from the Florentine and Roman schools of art.
In an attempt to refine his style, Tintoretto studied both Titan and Michelangelo with the steadfast goal of surpassing these painters both style and brilliance.
Some of Tintoretto’s most famous works are as follows:
- The Siege of Asola (1544-1545)
- Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet (c. 1548)
- Saint Mark series (1548 or 1562-66)
- The Deliverance of Arsenoe (c. 1560)
- The Origin of the Milky Way (1575-1580)
- The Vision of Saint Nicholas (c. 1582)
- Self Portrait (1588)