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

Portrait of a White-Bearded Man

c. 1545
Oil on canvas, 92 x 60 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Even when his sitters, as in this case, are unknown, Tintoretto can still move modern viewers with the best of his portraits by his own hand. Paradoxically, this is not least because the subject of the portrait often appears intangible and incorporeal. Here, only the head and hand emerge in an eerily life-like fashion from the darkness of eternal night. It is the interplay between appearance and disappearance that makes such portraits magical.

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