Because of the energy contained in his paintings, Tintoretto was nicknamed "the furious". Considered the precursor of the Baroque style because of his technique, with a meticulous study of light and perspective, Jacopo Robusti was one of the most important figures of the Scuola Veneziana (a group of artists working in Venice from 1550 to 1610) and was considered the last Renaissance painter.
Jacopo Robusti was born in Venice in 1519. His nickname, Tintoretto, came from his father's job, a fabric dyer. It must be said that his exact birth date is not certain, as his baptism certificate was burnt in a fire that spread to the San Polo Archives and therefore can only be deduced by his death certificate. Probably the artist was of Tuscan origins, from Lucca, and it is in this territory that he found his inspiration: Michelangelo, Raffaello and Giulio Romano. Despite his ignoble origins, Tintoretto achieved a good rapport with the Venetian élite.
Once he realised that his son used his colours to paint the walls of the laboratory, Giovanni Battista, his father, encouraged him to pursue his gift and found him a job at Tiziano's workshop, but rumours say that once Tiziano saw how talented Tintoretto was, wanted him out to avoid any sort of competition.
His first commissions came from the Scuola Grande di San Marco, an important association of artists: the painting "The miracle of San Marco"(1548) was immediately praised by the artists. Later on he also started a collaboration with the Scuola della Trinità, a minor organisation, for which he painted histories inspired by the Book of Genesis. In Susanna and the Old Men Tintoretto focuses on nature and follows the perspective of the viewer, insisting on the protagonist, the naked Susanna and then on the two old men who are watching her.
The miracle of San Marco (1548)
The aspiration of Tintoretto, though, was to be part of a much bigger institution, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and in 1549 he got the first commission from them.
He also became very well known for his portraits, like the one of Girolamo Priuli who became Doge in 1559. From this period on the two most famous artists in Venice were him and Paolo Veronese.
Girolamo Priuli Portrait
Having already painted works for Palazzo Ducale in 1566, in 1588 he painted the frescos that occupies the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, a fresco that was the substitution for the one by Guariento destroyed during a fire in 1577.
Pilgrims of Emmaus
At 70 years old he was still painting two big canvases for the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Last Supper and the The Jews in the Desert. Following two weeks of high fever, Tintoretto died in Venice in 1594 and was buried in the Madonna dell'Orto Church, in the crypt of the Episcopi family.
The Last Supper
Written by: Elisa della Barba