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Tintoretto: Painting Analysis "christ Washing His Disciiples Feet" (1545-1555 Ad)

Essay by   •  March 12, 2011  •  Case Study  •  644 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,043 Views

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Tintoretto (1518-1594 BCE) was a Venetian artist during the Renaissance, who was one of the last prominent painters of this amazing period in history. He had an amazing sparkle in which he transferred into his paintings to make a simple scene so dramatic. The piece of art that I have chosen to write about (from the Art Gallery of Ontario) is called Christ Washing His Disciples' Feet (done between 1545 and 1555), which of course was composed by Tintoretto. As soon as I walked into the first exhibit, this painting caught my eye. The three reasons why it did so were because of the subject matter, use of lighting, and the depiction of Jesus.

The fascinating part about this painting is the subject matter. Jesus washing the feet of his followers is the focal point, but there is something else. If you look closely, the other disciples in the picture are getting ready to be cleansed of their sins and are also helping each other out in the process. This really gives us a sense of feeling in the painting; the genuine gathering of friends in a way. Another aspect of this piece that really caught my eye was the long dinner-like table in the middle that is a great representation of linear perspective (the size of an object's dimensions along the line of sight are relatively shorter than dimensions across the line of sight). This was the table that said to have been used during The Last Supper.

Tintoretto made good use of lighting in the composition. The appealing part about this is that the sky in the background is somewhat dark, which makes for the light shining in to be almost God-like. The contrasting of light and dark was done very well as Jesus is dressed very light in colours compared to Peter (as he is the opposite). This effect was mainly used during the High Renaissance (when Tintoretto painted it), and the technical term for it is called chiaroscuro. The religious circular lighting around everyone's head was pretty standard in most religious paintings done in The Renaissance.

One of the main reasons why I was drawn to this painting is because of Jesus himself. He is depicted as a regular person who is performing a service to others. But the interesting component about this is that it is more than just a service, he is blessing each of them in preparation for priesthood. Most compositions that we've seen in past periods (Gothic, Ancient, ect) portray Jesus as what he is to us, which is a very holy man. The seriousness of Jesus in Tintoretto's version of the washing of the disciples' feet is not so apparent. Humanism (each person is very important and contributes to society) played a big role in Renaissance artwork, and is probably why Tintoretto depicted Jesus as an equal rather than being higher than everyone else. To sum up the interpretation of Jesus, he is hardworking and selfless. Tintoretto was still able to get this message across to his audience viewing the painting,

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