(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)
The Massacre of the Innocents (detail)1582-87
Oil on canvas
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice
The particularly sketch-like brushstrokes with which Tintoretto places the scene of the mothers struggling with Roman soldiers and their orientally clad companions against the background architecture he had already painted has two functions: unlike the broader, three-dimensional foreground depiction, the effect reinforces the illusion of spatial depth. At the same time the perceptibly rapid, spirited application of colour becomes the technical expression for the hectic and violent action in the picture.