TINTORETTO
(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)

Self-Portrait

c. 1547
Oil on canvas, 46 x 38 cm
Museum of Art, Philadelphia

As if responding to a sudden call, the young Tintoretto turns to the viewer, his eyes wide open. Amidst his curly hair, his famous musical ear appears open like a stethoscope, on the alert for commissions, picking up intrigues. His forehead, illuminated by light falling on it from the side, and the inner radiance of his eyes convey inspiration, his sense of artistic mission, and his confidence in the early maturity of his own skill. Tintoretto seems to foresee that he will make his name with religious pictures, for his reddish-brown beard, still rather sparse, curls into two prophetic locks beneath his chin.