Portrait of an Elderly Man with a Beard, c. 1565-1575
oil on canvas
75.3 x 59 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 1824)
Tintoretto spent almost his entire career in Venice producing his greatest works for the Venetian charitable brotherhoods, namely the Scuola di San Rocco and the Scuola Grande di San Marco. His own boast was that his work combined the draughtsmanship of Michelangelo with the colour of Titian. Here the artist gives ample attention to details such as the sitter's fur-lined robe, the texture of his skin, and his flowing, grey beard, but it is above all the realism of the old man's commanding gaze that draws us into this portrait.