Jacopo Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti)

Dates1518/1519 - 1594

Jacopo Tintoretto was nicknamed "little dyer" for his father's humble occupation of tintore, a dyer, and il Furioso for his violent application of paint. When Venetian dignitaries observing him asked why he worked much faster than others, the artist quipped, "Because they haven't got so many pests around to drive them crazy."

Tintoretto's early training is unknown. Legend claims that an envious Titian expelled his talented pupil after ten days. Following collaboration with Andrea Schiavone and others on cassone panels, Tintoretto introduced a similar time-saving, economical technique into monumental painting--and garnered criticism for lack of finish. Above all, Tintoretto wanted to display his work. He regularly painted frescoes and canvases for his materials' cost or for nothing. When a confraternity asked artists to submit sketches for a painting in 1564, Tintoretto brought a finished picture as a gift. His low prices invited commissions throughout the confraternity's building.

Except for visiting Mantua around 1580, Tintoretto stayed in Venice, where his dramatic, colorful Mannerist style eventually dominated. He painted mostly religious subjects. His pictures show unexpected viewpoints and striking perspective, while many subordinate scenes recall everyday life. He also made many portraits and taught two sons and a daughter in his workshop.