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


c. 1588
Oil on canvas, 63 x 52 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Marked by the strain of a life full of cares, the old master turns to the viewer in a particularly dignified full frontal attitude. The asymmetry of composition in Tintoretto's early self-portrait has given way here to physiognomical asymmetry. The hair on the artist's head, still thick, is smoother now, but the bushy beard seems to be wind-blown as if by the breath of Fate. The light, falling almost vertically from above, suggests a metaphysical reference, also reflected in the stillness of the picture: the lips seem to be seated beneath the silvery beard, and the ears are almost invisible too.