Creation of the Animals

Tintoretto, Creation of the Animals, 1551–52. Galleria del l'Accademia, Venice, Italy.

In 1550 the Trinity School in Venice hired Jacopo Tintoretto to finish a series of paintings inspired by the stories of Genesis included this painting of the creation of the animals. This was a time of crisis for Venice, waves of plague had decimated the city. The Trinity School was demolished after the plague of 1630 in order to make room for Santa Maria della Salute that was built as a votive offering for the city's deliverance from the pestilence.

Tintoretto studied Michelangelo intently and this figure of God in this piece echoes Michelangelo’s figure of God in the Creation of Adam section of the Sistine Chapel painted 40 years earlier. Tintoretto paints a dazzling array of bird and fish species. The animals behind him include a unicorn as they are mentioned in the Bible translations of the time.

Jacopo “Il Tintoretto” Robusti, Creation of the Animals, 1551–52.

God as expressed in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.

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