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

The Brazen Serpent (detail)

Oil on canvas
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

This is the first painting on the ceiling of the Upper Hall carried out by Tintoretto between July 1575 and August 1576.

The allusion to the healing of the sick by the Scuola is clear in the brazen serpent with a fish's head, twisted around the cross. The painting also visibly explains the passage from St John's Gospel on the relationship between the subject-matter of the Old Testament and the redemption of mankind through the Crucifixion of Christ.

This portrayal is overwhelmingly dramatic. The turmoil of angels, following the Eternal Father emerging from the shadow, seems to force its way into the tangle of humans and serpents, while on the left, in the distance on a hill, Moses indicates the cross with the brazen serpent.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.