The Venetian master Tintoretto marshaled the unstable forces of nature to heighten the drama of this scene from John's Gospel; the wind that fills the sail and bends the mast also agitates the sea and sky, and the rocky waves meet the low clouds that blow onto the land. Christ's outstretched arm draws Peter like a magnet, the charge between them creating a dynamic link between the center of the picture and the left foreground. Tintoretto has broken all forms into multiple planes, splintering the light, and frosting the edges with a brush loaded with dry, lead-white oil paint. This use of a thick, white impasto to accent the highlights and as a ghostly shorthand, as in the grassy shore at Christ's feet, is a hallmark of Tintoretto's bravura style.
Too wild and improvisatory to find a real following among his compatriots in Venice, Tintoretto's bold expressions instead fired the imagination of one kindred temperament: El Greco, who studied there before moving to Spain. So close in style and spirit was El Greco's art that, earlier in this century, some experts believed that he, and not Tintoretto, had painted the Christ at the Sea of Galilee.
Marks and Labels
Count Joseph Gallotti. (Durlacher Brothers, New York). Arthur Sachs [1880-1975], New York, by 1925; sold March 1943 through (Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York) and (Moses & Singer, New York) to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 to NGA.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1927.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1932-1933.
- A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1933, no. 135, repro., as Christ on the Lake of Galilee.
- Landscape Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1934, no. 5, as Christ Walking on the Water.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1935-1938.
- Exhibition of Venetian Painting From the Fifteenth Century through the Eighteenth Century, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, June-July 1938, no. 66, repro., as Christ on the Sea at Galilee.
- Religious Art, an exhibition of fourteenth, fifteenth,sixteenth, and seventeenth-century paintings; sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, rosaries, textiles, stained glass and prints, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1938-1939, no. 35, repro.
- Venetian Paintings of the 15th & 16th Centuries, M. Knoedler and Company, New York, April 1938, no. 16, repro., as Christ on the Sea of Galilee.
- A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Jacopo Robusti, il Tintoretto, 1519-1594, Durlacher Brothers, New York, February-March 1939, no. 5, as Christ on the Sea of Galilee.
- Masterpieces of Art. European Paintings and Sculptures from 1300-1800, New York World's Fair, May-October 1939, no. 377, repro.
- Possibly Society of Liberal Arts, Joslyn Memorial, Omaha, 1942.
- Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. 825.
- The Golden Century of Venetian Painting, Los Angeles Museum of Art, 1979-1980, no. 36, repro.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, 1988-1989.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 74, color repro., as Christ Walking on the Sea.
- Frankfurter, Alfred M. The Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1944: 55, repro., as Christ Walking on the Sea.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 130, repro.
- Einstein, Lewis. Looking at Italian Pictures in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1951: 98-99, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 30, color repro.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 37
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 203, repro.
- The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 25.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Later Italian Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1960 (Booklet Number Six in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 32, color repro.
- Seligman, Germain. Merchants of Art: 1880-1960, Eighty Years of Professional Collecting. New York, 1961: repro. pl. 87.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 158, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 128
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:194, color repro.
- Schiller, Gertrud. Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst. 6 vols. Gütersloh, 1966-1990: 3:117.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 115, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 340, repro.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:465-467, II:pl. 332, 332A
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 228, no. 287, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 392, repro.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 104, repro.
- Echols, Robert. "Tintoretto, Christ at the Sea of Galilee, and the Unknown Later Career of Lambert Sustris," Venezia Cinquecento VI, no. 12 (1996): 93-149.
Work of Art
Work of Art
- Event Name
- March 1–June 1
- Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
- March 5, 2012 at 2:00
March 7, 2012 at 4:00
- East Building, Auditorium
- Name of docent
- 60 minutes
- Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
- Download the program notes (100k)
- Italian Collection