Halo of the Son: Tintoretto’s Last ‘Last Supper’
In a recent column about Mary Magdalene, I wrote that my favorite portrait of the great saint was by Domenico Robusti, known to the world as Domenico Tintoretto. But I also noted that it’s his father, Jacopo, who is the painter most often being referred to by the name Tintoretto.
I didn’t explain an interesting thing about that name. Unlike Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who is known by that last name, which is actually the place of his birth, there’s no place called Tintoretto. It’s a nickname meaning “little dyer.” Jacopo’s father, Battista (like the father of St. Francis of Assisi) was a cloth merchant who dyed dry goods – a tintore. Jacopo, probably not Domenico, got his start in life working for his father.
As an artist, of course, Domenico learned much from Jacopo.
Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594) is not, in my view, history’s greatest painter (that’s Caravaggio). But he was a visionary who imagined Biblical scenes with a boldness equaled by few other artists.