( Originally Published 1955 )
A part of the great tradition of Venetian sixteenth-century painting, he avoided the monumentality and pomp of his more famous contemporaries and developed instead a style of intimate, genre translation of biblical, mythological, and historical scenes. His work is characterized by rural and anecdotal detail, rich though somber color, sharp and brilliant contrasts of light and shade, an almost Baroque treatment of movement and space, and lyrical landscapes. Jacopo probably began under his father Francesco the elder, and later in Venice c. 1535 studied with Bonifazio Veronese, and perhaps Palma Vecchio. His first works; until c. 1542, exhibit the influence of Bonifazio and Pordenone, but from that time until c. 1560 his art shows the impact of Parmigianino's Mannerism (see), learned perhaps from engravings, and possibly even some influence from northern Europe and central Italian realism. This Mannerist element was, however, transformed by Bassano, who remained always essentially Venetian in feeling. His art of this period seems to have had some effect on both El Greco and Caravaggio. In his late style, from the 1560's to his death, he discarded the Mannerist influence and developed the individual style for which he is known. However, the attribution of works still remains problematic, since at the same time he established the large workshop in which both his sons Leandro and Francesco worked with him. One undisputed painting of this period, dated 1562, is in S. Tienisto, Treviso. Typical of the period also are an altarpiece in Angarano, a Flight into Egypt (Ambrosiana, Milan), and a Last Supper (Borghese Gallery, Rome).