Overview

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.

Inscription

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Count Joseph Gallotti.[1] (Durlacher Brothers, New York).[2] Arthur Sachs [1880-1975], New York, by 1925;[3] sold March 1943 through (Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York) and (Moses & Singer, New York) to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[4] gift 1952 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1927
Loan to display with permanent collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1927.
1932
Loan to display with permanent collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1932-1933.
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.
1934
Landscape Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1934, no. 5, as Christ Walking on the Water.
1935
Loan to display with permanent collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1935-1938.
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.
1938
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.
1938
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.
1939
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.
1939
Masterpieces of Art. European Paintings and Sculptures from 1300-1800, New York World's Fair, May-October 1939, no. 377, repro.
1942
Possibly Society of Liberal Arts, Joslyn Memorial, Omaha, 1942.
1946
Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. 825.
1979
The Golden Century of Venetian Painting, Los Angeles Museum of Art, 1979-1980, no. 36, repro.
1988
Loan to display with permanent collection, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, 1988-1989.

Bibliography

1944
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.
1944
Frankfurter, Alfred M. The Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1944: 55, repro., as Christ Walking on the Sea.
1945
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 130, repro.
1951
Einstein, Lewis. Looking at Italian Pictures in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1951: 98-99, repro.
1956
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 30, color repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 37
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 203, repro.
1960
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.
1960
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.
1961
Seligman, Germain. Merchants of Art: 1880-1960, Eighty Years of Professional Collecting. New York, 1961: repro. pl. 87.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 158, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 128
1966
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.
1966
Schiller, Gertrud. Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst. 6 vols. Gütersloh, 1966-1990: 3:117.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 115, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 340, repro.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:465-467, II:pl. 332, 332A
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 228, no. 287, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 392, repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 104, repro.
1996
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.

Conservation Notes

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