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Tintoretto (JacopoRobusti) 1518-1594

 

 

1518 - Born in Venice the eldest of 21 children. His father, Giovanni, wasa dyer, or tintore; hence the son’s nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer.The family originated from Brescia, in Lombardy, then part of the Republic of Venice. Inchildhood little Jacopo began daubing with dye on his father’s walls.

 

c.1533 -  His father takes him to Titian’s studio to see if he can be trained as an artist.According to legend he was sent away 10 days later, after Titian noticed anddisapproved of the rapidity of his drawings. From this time Tintoretto studiedindependently retaining his admiration for Titian though their relations remaindistant. He famously placed over his studio door the inscription: Il disegnodi Michelangelo, il colorito di Tiziano (the drawing of Michelangelo andTitian’s color).

He studied from models ofMichelangelo's famous sculptures from the San Lorenzo sacristy Dawn, Noon,Twilight and Night, and became expert in modelling in wax andclay figurines which he set up in wooden boxes and then lit with candles toprovide him with a staged space, figures and shadows to transpose unto canvas,working as much at night as in the day. He developed a method of painting veryquickly by priming his canvases in flat dark tones (gray-green, brown, slategray), dividing the composition into basic tonal areas Upon these he rapidlysketched his figures in lighter tones and bright colors using the background toprovide him  shadows and relief. Heused a wide square brush introduced into Venetian painting by Titian forpainting draperies, leading the English 19c art critic John Ruskin to accusehim of painting with a broom.

 

1548  - Commissioned to paintfour pictures for the Scuola di San Marco illustrating episodes from the lifeof Saint Mark including Saint Mark Freeing the Slave.

 

1550 -  Married Faustina de Vescovi (or Episcopi ?), daughterof a Venetian nobleman and a prominent member of the Scuola di San Marco.Faustina bore him several children, probably two sons and five daughters. Themother of Tintoretto’s favorite daughter Marietta, who becamea  painter herself, was probably aGerman woman, who had an affair with Jacopo before his marriage to Faustina.

 

1560 – Next great commission were thethree great rooms of the Scuola San Rocco started in 1560 and finally finishedin 1587. Asked to send in a study for San Rocco received into Heavenalong with other Venetian painters, Tintoreto quickly came up with a completepicture to the fury of his competitors. To counter their protests he made agift of his painting to the Scuola who by it by-laws could not refuse it,receiving thereby the rest of the commission for the walls and ceilings of the3 rooms. At this time he was also commissioned to paint the great historicalpictures a for the halls of the Doge’s palace.

 

1565 – Paints the vast Crucifixion, for the Scuola  for the sum of 250 ducats. was paid.
 
1576 -  Presents gratis another centre-piece - that for the ceiling of the great hall, representing the Plague of Serpents. By the end of the commission he received the great sum of 2447 ducats.
 
1588 – Receives the commission to paint one of the largest paintings in history the Paradise for the Council chamber of the Doge’s palace.
 
1592 – Becomes member of the Scuola dei Mercanti.
 
1594 – Dies and is buried in church of the Madonna dell’Orto by the side of his fvorite daughter Maria who had died young at 30. Through his life he had scarsely travelled outside his beloved native city.
 
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