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

The Birth of John the Baptist (detail)

c. 1554
Oil on canvas
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Tintoretto's oeuvre is marked by a keen sense of chaos.In any subject he finds many disconnected actions. This is true of his account of the birth of St John the Baptist, which becomes an eloquent depiction of the turmoil reigning in any home at the birth of a child. The saint's mother, Elizabeth, recuperates on the bed and the Virgin Mary holds the newborn as his father recovers the power of speech, in accordance with the prophecy.