About this artwork

Both sides of this drawing show Michelangelo’s Head of Giuliano de’ Medici, although they represent it from slightly different angles. Michelangelo’s sculpture (the original is in Florence) was famous at the time. Domenico is likely to have known it through two copies in his father’s workshop which were used as teaching models. Jacopo Tintoretto strongly encouraged his pupils to make detailed copies after antique sculpture and the work of Michelangelo, and he would have them draw the objects from different angles and under different lighting conditions. In this sheet, Domenico may have drawn the sculpture by candle light, which would have generated the strong contrasts between light and dark and allowed him to experiment with bold chiaroscuro.

Domenico Tintoretto (Domenico Robusti)

Domenico Tintoretto (Domenico Robusti)

Domenico Robusti, or ‘Tintoretto’ as the family had come to be known, was the son and principal assistant of Jacopo Tintoretto. Jacopo was one of the greatest artists in sixteenth-century Venice, and his son Domenico was also exceptionally talented. Domenico’s career began in his father’s workshop, but he soon became an established artist in his own right. He was admitted to the painters’ guild in Venice aged only seventeen. Domenico’s particular talent as a painter of portraits meant that he was in high demand among both Venetian and foreign nobility. He continued to work alongside his father on many large-scale projects during the 1580s and 1590s, including the remarkable ‘Paradise’ in the Doge’s Palace.