Jacopo Tintoretto’s timing was off. He was one of the most lavishly gifted painters of all time. But to make a name for himself, he had to struggle to get out from under the shadow of someone even better: Tiziano Vecellio, otherwise known as Titian. It didn’t help that Titian detested him. Worse, Tintoretto also had to compete against Paulo Veronese, Titian’s talented protégé and a man who knew how to turn on the charm. Was Tintoretto up to the challenge? If you doubt it for even a second, take a look at the self-portrait he made in his mid-to-late 20s. Tintoretto stares with bloodshot eyes through pink lids and long dark lashes, the muscles above his nose bunched in belligerent resolve. Turning to face the viewer, he has the look of someone who needs no more than a sliver of an excuse to draw his sword and apply its edge to your neck.
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