Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) (Italian, Venetian, 1518–1594)
Oil on canvas
61 x 160 1/2 in. (154.9 x 407.7 cm)
Francis L. Leland Fund, 1913 (13.75)
On two occasions, Christ fed a large multitude with a few loaves and fishes. The present painting depicts the miracle as recounted in John 6, and shows Christ handing Saint Andrew one of the five loaves and two fishes to be distributed to the multitude. A companion painting, Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples, is in the Art Gallery at Toronto. It is not known for which Venetian church or confraternity the two paintings were made, but the large and long horizontal canvas is characteristic of the laterali used to decorate Venetian chapels, especially those maintained by confraternities devoted to the Eucharist, known as Scuole del Sacramento. Painted about 154550, the present picture was designed by Tintoretto and executed, like many of his larger paintings, in part by the artist and in part by members of his workshop.