Jacopo Tintoretto
The Temptation of Christ

1579-81
Oil on canvas
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice, Italy

After his baptism and the declaration that he is God's son, Jesus goes into the desert to fast and pray (Luke 4:1-4). As his hunger grows, "the devil" comes and says, "If thou be the Son of God, say to this stone that it be made bread," but Jesus demurs.

Here we see the devil holding a stone up to Jesus, who has taken shelter in a rough lean-to. Other images of the episode picture the devil in traditional ways, with horns and such, but Tintoretto makes him a handsome young man with angel wings enveloped in brilliant light. Thus he is "Lucifer," a name Christians applied to Satan, the leader of the angels who rebelled in Heaven.1

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.





































1 For the problematic use of the name "Lucifer" for Satan see Corson, "Who is Lucifer."