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

The Birth of John the Baptist

c. 1554
Oil on canvas, 181 x 266 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The Archangel Gabriel announced to Zacharias that his wife Elisabeth, already advanced in years and considered infertile, would bear him a son, and when Zacharias doubted the angel he was struck dumb. Tintoretto shows Zacharias (on the right of the picture) recovering his power of speech and breaking into a song of praise to the Lord.

Tintoretto, a painter of the late Renaissance, transferred the evangelical birth of John the Baptist into the contemporary context of a rich 16th century Venetian household.