Met exhibit examines Tintoretto’s portraiture

Jacopo Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) (Italian, 1518/19–1594), ‘Portrait of a Man (Self-Portrait?)’ (detail), 1550s? Oil on canvas, private collection. (JT.003). Metropolitan Museum of Art image

NEW YORK – Jacopo Tintoretto (1518/19–1594) was one of the preeminent Venetian painters of the 16th century, and was renowned for his dynamic narrative scenes and insightful portraits. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present “Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings,” a focused exhibition that will explore an innovative aspect of his portraiture, and one that has been little studied: his small-scale, informal portrait heads characterized by their immediacy, intense observation and startling modernity.

Seen together for the first time, these portrait studies will reveal Tintoretto’s famous quickness as a painter—his “prestezza”—capturing both the spirit and appearance of the sitter. The exhibition will unite approximately 10 portrait studies from European and American museums and private collections, bringing them into a larger discussion of the artist’s approach to portraiture and painting.

Facets of artistic practice in the Tintoretto workshop will come to light in the exhibition’s exploration of the relationship between Jacopo and his son Domenico. Central here will be a series of bold figural drawings and a painting in the museum’s collection, The Finding of Moses, whose long-debated attribution to both father and son will play a key role in the discussion of this flourishing workshop.

The exhibition will be on view Oct. 16 through Jan. 27, 2019.