National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Christ at the Sea of Galilee Jacopo Tintoretto (artist)
Venetian, 1518 - 1594
Christ at the Sea of Galilee, c. 1575/1580
oil on canvas
overall: 117.1 x 169.2 cm (46 1/8 x 66 5/8 in.) framed: 155.3 x 207 cm (61 1/8 x 81 1/2 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1952.5.27
On View
From the Tour: The Emergence of New Genres
Object 6 of 6

This haunting painting illustrates an episode from the Gospel of John. After his Resurrection, Christ appeared to his wonder-struck apostles as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. The drama of the action and the supernatural nature of Jesus’ appearance after the end of his earthly life were well suited to Tintoretto’s highly individual style. The figure of Christ appears to be almost transparent, decorporalized by the haze of white pigment brushed over his torso with a dry brush. The surface of the water, likewise, is fragmented into waves by strong light. The whole painting seems almost to flicker restlessly, an unsettling sensation that is accentuated by its eerie green color.

Around 1545, the preeminent painter in Venice, Titian, began to work almost exclusively for foreign clients, freeing the many commissions offered by the city’s religious and civic associations for other artists. The removal of Titian’s dominance also opened the way for these younger painters to develop independent styles with more freedom than they had enjoyed before. For Tintoretto, this meant greater drama in his use of color and light—a style that was too extreme to have much influence on younger Venetian artists, but which did impress El Greco during the years he spent in Italy. At one point in its history, this picture, in fact, was thought to have been painted by El Greco.

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