Virgin and Child and the Mystery of the Passion
Giambattista Tinti was a mannerist painter working in Parma, he is relatively unknown. The Virgin and Child and the Mystery of the Passion from Savona in Liguria is his masterpiece. Representations of the Virgin and Child tend to be images of quite private happiness. However, so that the faithful do not forget Christ’s sacrifice, painters often included objects from the Passion, representing the Child Jesus playing with a small cross for example. Tinti’s strength lies in his success in infusing his whole composition with an ominous, deathly atmosphere. The Child himself is reduced to almost a skeleton and the angels present the instruments of the Passion (the crown of thorns, the nails of the cross). The sfumato (pictorial technique using the superposition of glazes) produces a luminous haze which reinforces this impression of mystery.