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

Madonna dei Camerlenghi (Madonna dei Tesorieri)

c. 1567
Oil on canvas, 221 x 521 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

The Madonna dei Tesorieri (Madonna of the Treasurers) comes from the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi at Rialto. It is a votive picture commissioned by the noble magistrates Michele Pisani, Lorenzo Dolfin and Marin Malinpiero (depicted in the centre), who, with their secretaries, are paying tribute to Mary and a select court of saints, including other disguised portraits.

The most recent restoration of this painting made it clear that Tintoretto has concealed in it a very sophisticated "puzzle picture": the strikingly light colour of Mary's white cloak falls, as if by chance, into a crescent shape. Especially from a distance, this gives the image of a "Madonna of the Crescent Moon," a manner of depicting the Virgin referring back to the Revelation of St John, and emphasizing her immaculate conception: the idea that she herself came into the world free of original sin. As in so many of his paintings, Tintoretto uses medieval motifs in the Madonna of the Treasurers, merging them perfectly with their modern context.