Tintoretto (real name Jacopo Robusti; 1518 - May 31, 1594) was an Italian painter from Venice. A student of Titian, he is said to have excelled his teacher in his master of color and shadow, and to have been influenced by Michelangelo in his drawing skills.
He had a passion for special lighting effects, making wax figures of his subjects and experimenting by placing them before differently angled spotlights before painting them. As a result, certain figures reappear in different works, though they are depicted in different angles and with different lighting.
Tintoretto's most famous works are a series of paintings of scenes from the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary in the Scuola di San Rocco.
A comparison of Tintoretto's The Last Supper with Leonardo da Vinci's work of the same name provides an instructive demonstration of how artistic styles evolved over the course of the Renaissance. Leonardo's is all classical repose. The disciples radiate away from Christ in almost-mathematical symmetry. In the hands of Tintoretto, the same event becomes dramatically distorted. The human figures are overwhelmed by the eruption of beings from the spirit world.
Because of his immense popularity among his contemporaries, Tintoretto often required the assistance of his children, Domenico and Marietta Robusti, both of whom were talented artists in their own right, heavily influenced by their father's style.
Tintoretto (“little dyer”) was nicknamed after his father, Battista Robusti, who was a professional dyer (“tintore” in Italian).