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TintorettoJacopo Robusti(September 29, 1518 – May 31, 1594), called Tintoretto-the “little dyer”-because his father was a dyer by trade, was born in Venice. Tintoretto, who studied for a short time with Titian and then with Schiavone, admired the color of Titian and the drawing of Michelangelo.
Tintoretto was an artist of immense output and dramatic style who emerged from the Venetian School of painting. He was one of the best known Venetian painters next to Titian (1485 – 1576), having very briefly trained under the master. Tintoretto had high ambitions, and adorned an inscription in his studio that said, “Michelangelo’s design and Titian’s Color.” In this he sought to produce the brilliant compositional methods of Michelangelo, while using the bold coloring of Titian; a goal of the highest order for Renaissance painting. He is often said to herald a Baroque style of painting.
Tintoretto’s intention was to combine color and drawing to create a new form of art. His personal, dramatic and imaginative painting was to become increasingly Mannerist in style as it grew more and more fluid through the years. He painted portraits, classical or mythological works, and religious canvases using Old Testament themes and subjects.
Life

Tintoretto was born in Venice in 1518, as the eldest of 21 children. His father, Giovanni, was a dyer, or tintore; hence the son got the nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer, or dyer’s boy, which is anglicized as Tintoret. The family originated from Brescia, in Lombardy, then part of the Republic of Venice. Older studies gave the Tuscan town of Lucca as the origin of the family.
He may have trained with Titan in 1553, but it is said the master sent him home after a brief ten days because of his obvious talents. He may have also trained with the Venetian painters, Bonifacio Veronese (1487 – 1557), Paris Bordone (1500 – 1571), and worked closely with, thus influenced by, Andrea Meldolla, called Il Schiavone (1510 – 1563). Though throughout all of this, Tintoretto developed a highly independent style and worked reclusively, rarely sharing his methods.

The Raising of Lazarus

Jacopo Robusti , The Raising of Lazarus, c. 1558-1559

In childhood Jacopo, a born painter, began daubing on the dyer’s walls; his father, noticing his bent, took him to the studio of Titian to see how far he could be trained as an artist. This was supposedly towards 1533, when Titian was already (according to the ordinary accounts) fifty-six years of age.
Between 1565 and 1567, and again from 1575 to 1588, Tintoretto produced a large number of paintings for the walls and ceilings of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The building, begun in 1525, was very deficient in light and thus ill-suited for any great scheme of pictorial adornment. The painting of its interior was commenced in 1560.
In that year five principal painters, including Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, were invited to send in trial-designs for the centre-piece in the smaller hall named Sala dell’Albergo, the subject being S. Rocco received into Heaven. Tintoretto produced not a sketch but a picture, and got it inserted into its oval. The competitors remonstrated, not unnaturally; but the artist, who knew how to play his own game, made a free gift of the picture to the saint, and, as a bylaw of the foundation prohibited the rejection of any gift, it was retained in situ, Tintoretto furnishing gratis the other decorations of the same ceiling.
Tintoretto also painted his grandest single piece, Paradise, a massive painting noted as the largest ever created on canvas. He also produced a good amount of portrait pieces. Of his work now in the Uffizi Gallery is Portrait of a Man, (1546), Leda and the Swan, Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, The Samaritan Woman, Portrait of a Venetian Admiral, Portrait of a Man with a Red Beard, Portrait of Jacopo Sansovino, and Saint Augustine Heals the Cripples.

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