By Anne Leader

Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto died on 31 May 1594 in his native city. He was 75. Jacopo spent his entire career in Venice, apparently leaving only once in 1580 to work for the Gonzaga court at Mantua. Though he struggled to get started, Tintoretto came to be the most prolific painter working in Venice in the later sixteenth century.

His multi-painting commission to decorate the Scuola Grande di San Marco earned him the recognition he had been seeking for over a decade, leading to numerous commissions for altarpieces, devotional paintings, mythologies, portraits, and decorative programs for the Doge’s Palace, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Despite his successes, Tintoretto was never completely accepted, for his sketchy, rough brushwork was too radical for some contemporaries.

The spontaneity and vibrancy of his work was criticized by some as being the result of carelessness rather than practiced expertise. Known as prestezza(rapid, abbreviated technique) Tintoretto’s signature style did not have the widespread appeal of Titian. Nevertheless, Tintoretto died as a central figure in Venetian painting whose legacy was carried forward by his son Domenico (d. 1635).

Reference: Thomas Nichols. “Tintoretto.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Christ Washing the Feet of His Disciples, c. 1547, oil on canvas, from San Marcuola, Venice. Madrid, Museo del Prado.

The Miracle of St Mark Freeing the Slave, 1548, oil on canvas, from Scuola Grande di San Marco. Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia.

The Stealing of the Dead Body of St Mark, 1562-66, oil on canvas, from Scuola Grande di San Marco. Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia

Minerva Sending Away Mars from Peace and Prosperity, 1576-77, oil on canvas, Venice, Palazzo Ducale

Mercury and the Graces, 1576-77, oil on canvas, Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Self-Portrait, c. 1547, oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Self-Portrait, c. 1588, oil on canvas, Paris, Musée du Louvre

Last Supper, oil on canvas, 1592–4, Venice, S Giorgio Maggiore; photo credit: Cameraphoto/Art Resource, NY

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