Celebrating Tintoretto Italian art at the Metropolitan Museum

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan’s Upper East Side daily from October 16, 2018 – January 27, 2019.


Jacopo Tintoretto was a Venetian Renaissance artist known for working rapidly in the Mannerist style of exaggerated forms.

His peers were awed at how quickly he could draw and his bold brushwork, but they also criticized his speed for leaving some elements seeming unfinished.

Tintoretto had a son, Domenico, who assisted in the Tintoretto workshop and also painted on his own. Both artists are included in the exhibition.

It is believed that El Greco, the legendary Spanish Renaissance artist saw Tintoretto’s work in Venice. Hearing “Mannerism,” one thinks of the late El Greco’s images exaggerated almost to distortion. Some see it as evidence of a failing mind, but it might have been simply a style, a beautiful style that foretold Impressionism and Modern Art.

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings

2018 is the 500th anniversary of Jacopo Tintoretto’s birth. In celebration, there are major exhibitions in Venice, across Italy and in Washington D.C.

The Met contributes to the celebration with its scholarship and technical skills.

The cover image is notable for the intensity of the subject’s gaze. It’s not known who the subject is. Perhaps it is a self-portrait or the portrait of another artist. But the painting stands out from other Tintoretto portraits in that it captures the person without cleaning him up the way a portraitist might do.

Looking Back Through Time to See the Artist at Work

Jacobo Tintoretto "Portrait of a Man" 1550s

Jacobo Tintoretto “Portrait of a Man” 1550s

The Met x-rayed Portrait of a Man and discovered the underlying sketch which Tintoretto fleshed out. The first lines were drawn with lead white oil paint. The lead stood out strongly on the x-ray and we see a master at work.

Jacobo Tintoretto "Portrait of a Man" 1550s. X-ray.

Jacobo Tintoretto “Portrait of a Man” 1550s. X-ray.

The Met’s technical scholarship shows how Tintoretto quickly captured his subject’s gestures, then both filled in and covered over the gestures to create a strong and masterful portrait.

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings Tickets

Regular admission (including tickets purchased online) is $25 for adults, $17 for Seniors (65 and over), $12 for students, and free for children under 12 with an adult.

If you are a New Yorker and these prices are too much for you, don’t be dismayed. The Met has a policy of allowing New Yorkers (the entire state) to pay what you choose when you buy tickets at the ticket counter. You must show some kind of New York address identification.

Tickets include same day admission to The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.

Get tickets at metmuseum.org

Visit Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings

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