painter Tintoretto was born in 1518 and died in 1594. His real name was Jacopo Robusti. The name Tintoretto refers to his father's profession - the elder Robusti was a dyer, so his son came to be called 'a little dyer'.
There's no reliable information available about Tintoretto's early years, but one can see Michelangelo's influence even on his earliest works. He seems to have deviated from the strict formality of the Venetian school of painters, preferring instead to portray bodies in motion, in imitation of the vivid art of Michelangelo. However, when it came to the use of colours, Tintoretto's inspiration came from Titian, his contemporary. He strived to use intensive hues in the foreground, often contrasting them with a light grey background.
Tintoretto, like many of his contemporaries, was a deeply religious man. He lived during the counter-reformation, a spiritual movement launched by the Catholic church against the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. In history of art, this restive period between baroque and renaissance is called manierism.
Most of Tintoretto's work was painted on order. He was never a favourite in the court of Venice, and produced most of his paintings for religious figures of his time. A typical example of this are the decorations he painted for the Scuola di San Rocco, a building belonging to a religious fraternity in Venice. So devout was he that Tintoretto did the job for free, earning a place as a regular painter for the fraternity. Today, these paintings are often considered as one of the most significant examples of Christian art.
After his death, Tintoretto had numerous imitators and followers, El Greco being the most famous of the lot.