National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Venetian Painting in the Later Sixteenth Century

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By the middle of the sixteenth century, a new generation of painters began to challenge Titian's dominance over Venetian art. The three most important artists to do so were Tintoretto, Veronese, and Jacopo Bassano.

The paintings on this tour display the variety of painting styles practiced by these younger contemporaries of Titian. While all three painters were influenced by the older master's rich color and painterly brushwork, each developed his own, individual style. A gifted portraitist, Tintoretto is also known for his unusual interpretations of religious subjects. His dramatic use of color and light often cause him to be considered a precursor to the baroque style of the next century. Veronese painted ambitious decorative cycles and is perhaps best known for his large scenes of feasts or banquets. In contrast to the material splendor and operatic compositions of Veronese's work, Bassano's paintings quietly display his greater interest in landscape and pastoral themes.

Some of the paintings in this room, such as The Martyrdom and Last Communion of Saint Lucy or The Madonna of the Stars, exemplify works made for the growing Counter Reformation movement, the Catholic church's response to the Protestant Reformation. To reassert Catholic doctrine and strengthen the faith of worshipers, Counter Reformation artists emphasized the role of the saints and sacraments in scenes that involved viewers on a personal, emotional level.« back to gallery