- Reference number
- Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti (Workshop of)
- The Purification of the Midianite Virgins
- Last quarter 16th century
- 295 cm x 181 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (adquirida por Velázquez, Venecia, 1651; Real Alcázar, Madrid, bóvedas de Tiziano-alcoba de la primera pieza, 1686, [nº 888]; Real Alcázar, Madrid, bóvedas de Tiziano-aposento del Nilo, 1700, nº 508; colección Isabel Farnesio, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, pieza de cubiertos, 1746, nº 566; La Granja, cuarto del Príncipe-antecámara, 1766, nº 666 [dupl]; La Granja, 1794, nº 566; La Granja, 1814-1818, nº 566).
This is one of seven canvases (P00386, P00388, P00389, P00393, P00394, P00395, P00396) in a group linked by the same color scheme, a general accentuation of surface drawing and a rhythm of curved forms that link on painting to another. The scenes were designed to be seen together, at a certain height and laid out on canvases conceived as inclined planes that converged on a central painting.
Clearly, this group was intended for a profane setting. The biblical themes have lost their dramatic character and are little more than an excuse to depict exotic clothing, courtly ceremonies and nude flesh. The finest of the cycle are Joseph and the wife of Putiphar (P00395) and Judith and Holofernes (P00389).
There is nothing like these paintings in the rest of Tintoretto's work, and it is thus difficult to date them with any certainty. The regular repetition of small, calligraphic brushstrokes on the tassels of clothing and headdresses, the leaves of the vegetation, the ringlets of hair and the women's headdresses, create a global decorative rhythm not found in any of his other works.