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

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Oil on canvas, 239 x 298 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

On the altar steps, which are imitated from Titian's Portrait of the Vendramin Family (c. 1543/47), Tintoretto sets a scene of action unfolding almost like a film: as the young mother in the foreground of the picture goes down the steps after performing the ritual, Mary has approached the altar. Once she has made the requisite offerings for ritual purification and presented her son, the next woman, already visible with her child in her arms below the altar, will ascend the steps to the priest. The special importance of the presentation of Christ is expressed by the intent manner of the bystanders as they watch what is going on at the altar.