Overview

This painting, which came to light in 1989, is a major addition to the work of Jacopo Bassano. One of the four leading mid–to–late 16th–century Venetian painters, Jacopo is less well–known than are his contemporaries Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. Only with the exhibition of his work in his native town of Bassano del Grappa in 1992 did the artist finally get the recognition he deserves. Aside from the quality and variety of his production, Bassano had the most extraordinary development of any 16th–century Venetian master except Titian. After modest beginnings, Bassano's work exploded into greatness with a series of pictures dating from the 1540s, which demonstrated his true measure as an artist. He overcame his provincial isolation and kept abreast of artistic trends by studying prints by or after other masters such as Raphael. Bassano's mannerist compositions of the 1540s and 1550s, with their rich color and animated figures, gave way to the expressive lighting and more genre–like character of the works of the 1560s. Thereafter, Bassano's art increasingly emphasized figures of peasants and their animals. With their dark tonality, flickering brushwork, and somber mood, the best of his late pictures approach Rembrandt.

(Text by David Alan Brown, published in the National Gallery of Art exhibition catalogue, Art for the Nation, 2000)

Inscription

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Commissioned 1545 in Bassano by Pietro Pizzamano, Venice. Possibly private collection, Rome.[1] Private collection, London, by 1989; sold 1997 through (Matthiesen Gallery, London) to NGA.

Exhibition History

1992
Jacopo Bassano, c. 1510-1592, Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa, Italy; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1992-1993, no. 15, repro. (shown only in Fort Worth).
2000
Art for the Nation: Collecting for a New Century, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2000-2001, unnumbered catalogue, repro.

Bibliography

2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 86-87, no. 62, color repro.

Technical Summary

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Related Works

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