I spent a good deal of time recently with the Tintorettos in the Academia in Venice. He’s an artist I had given rather short shrift to in the past, but this time around I took a closer look and was blown away by the high wire act he performs in his paintings.
Giving his drapery a casual once over you see realistic folds, and shadows and light hitting believable velvets and silks. Closer examination reveals amazing gestural, rough brushwork. No smooth, hidden transitions here. The sleight of hand is right there on the surface and when isolated, resembles nothing so much as a stand-alone Abstract Expressionist work.
I noticed this again and again, but most remarkably in the Madonna dei Camerlenghi (Madonna dei Tesorieri). Here the noblemen’s cloaks and the Madonna’s garments are tour de forces of dazzling, expressionist, badass brushstrokes. You’ve got to admire the confidence and freedom such audacious technique implies.