AUTHOR: Jacopo Tintoretto

CENTURY: 16th century

CHURCH: Church of San Zaccaria

DATE: c. 1563

LOCATION: Chapel of Sant’Atanasio (on map number 3)

TECHNIQUE: Oil on canvas

According to some critics, the artwork, known as the Nativity of the Virgin, actually depicts the birth of John the Baptist. Both Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, gave birth at an advanced age, making it uncertain to identify the subject of the painting. Jacopo da Varagine recounts an anecdote about the birth of John the Baptist: as soon as he was born, he was held in the arms of Mary, who is depicted in the foreground of the painting, dressed in red and blue. The Virgin also appears in the background, observing Elizabeth lying on the bed. Above the characters bustling in the room, angels and the Holy Spirit appear, immersed in a dazzling light.