National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Portrait of a Man as Saint George Jacopo Tintoretto (painter)
Venetian, 1518 - 1594
Portrait of a Man as Saint George, 1540/1550
oil on canvas
overall: 83.8 x 71.1 cm (33 x 28 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
On View
From the Tour: Venetian Painting in the Later Sixteenth Century
Object 1 of 7

The son of a cloth dyer (tintore), Jacopo Robusti, later called Tintoretto, was born in Venice, where he lived and worked for most of his life. Details of his artistic training are not known, although his early works show the influence of Titian.

The pose of this unidentified sitter recalls earlier portraits by Giorgione and Titian. Gazing over his right shoulder, the man rests his right arm on a cloth-covered table. In his left hand he holds a red standard emblazoned with the white cross of the Christian knight Saint George. An ornate helmet is seen on the table before him while a menacing dragon emerges from the darkness behind him. The sitter's depiction with the attributes of Saint George perhaps refers to his name or to his patron saint.

As an example of Tintoretto's early painting style, this enigmatic portrait displays a thoughtful balance of rich color and precise drawing. The bright red and teal blue of the banner and helmet are enhanced by gold highlights. In contrast to the sitter's carefully described face and beard, the dragon is merely suggested with quick, sketchy brushstrokes.

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