Inventario della Guardarobba dell'Ill.mo. s. Card.le Pio consegnata al s.r Antonio Arsiani Milanese Guardarobba di SS.ria Ill.ma. July 12, 1624, no. 74 [Archivio Pio Falcò, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, VN 296; published in Ref. Testa 1994, p. 99; Getty no. I-3667], as "Una Venere nuda del titiano con cornice bianca in forma grande che sta a giacere," possibly this work.
[Giovanni Pietro Bellori]. Nota delli musei, librerie, gallerie et ornamenti di statue e pitture ne' palazzi, nelle case, e ne' giardini di Roma. Rome, 1664, p. 45 [reprinted in Ref. Zocca 1976, p. 100], lists "due Veneri al naturale di Titiano" in the palazzo of Cardinal Carlo Pio in Rome.
Invent.m pro Exc.mo D. Pnpe Don Giberto Pio de Sabaudia. March 23, 1724, no. 195 [Notai del Tribunale A.C., notaio S.Paparozzi, vol. 5177, cc. 666r–713r, Archivio di Stato di Roma; pub. in Guarino, "L'inventario Pio di Savoia del 1724," in "Quadri rinomatissimi," ed. Bentini, Modena, 1994, p. 124; Getty no. I-976], as "Altro di una Venere ignuda mezza colca . . . di Titiano".
Inventario de' quadri dell' Eccma Casa Pio esistenti nel Palazzetto della Illma Casa Falconieri, che si ritiene a pigione per il comodo de' suddetti quadri. 1742 [published in "Notizie amministrative, storiche, artistiche relative a Ferrara," by Luigi Napoleone Cittadella, 2 vols., Ferrara, 1868, vol. 1, p. 556], lists it as "Altro rappr. una Venere a giacere, con un putto ed un soldato, di 'Tiziano' Sc. 9000".
Margaret, Countess of Leicester. Inventory of Holkham. 1765 [see Refs. Wehle 1940 and Zeri and Gardner 1973], lists it as by Titian and gives its provenance as Prince Pio di Savoia, Rome.
Richard Beatniffe. The Norfolk Tour. 2nd ed. Norfolk, 1773, p. 22, lists it as in the drawing room at Holkham; as by Titian, but calls it "hard and disagreeable".
J. Dawson. The Strangers Guide to Holkham. Burnham, 1817, p. 106, no. 181, states that the figures are portraits of Philip II, King of Spain, and his mistress.
A[braham]. Hume. Notices of the Life and Works of Titian. London, 1829, pp. 67, 96, calls it Philip II and his mistress, by Titian; notes that there is a very similar picture in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
G[iovanni].-B[attista]. Cavalcaselle and J[oseph].-A[rcher]. Crowe. Tiziano, la sua vita e i suoi tempi. Vol. 2, repr., 1974. Florence, 1878, p. 107 n. 1 [English ed., "The Life and Times of Titian," 2 vols., London, 1881, vol. 2, p. 159], erroneously state that Hume [see Ref. 1829] calls it a copy of the Cambridge painting.
Bernard Berenson. Letter. 1930 [see Ref. Zeri and Gardner 1973], attributes it to Titian.
George Martin Richter. "Titian's 'Venus and the Lute Player'." Burlington Magazine 59 (August 1931), pp. 54, 59, ill. p. 52, as at Duveen; considers it the original from which the version in Cambridge and another work in Dresden were copied; dates it about 1560.
Detlev von Hadeln. "Tizians Venus mit dem Lautenspieler." Pantheon 10 (July–December 1932), pp. 273–78, ill. (overall and details), thinks that Titian began it during the 1540s and finished it about 1560; considers it the prototype of the Cambridge picture and other versions.
Lionello Venturi. Italian Paintings in America. Vol. 3, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century. New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 524, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1560; calls the Cambridge picture a replica of inferior quality, a school work; also mentions versions in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, and in the Berlin museum.
Wilhelm Suida. Tizian. Zürich, 1933, pp. 115–16, 171, pl. CCXX, attributes it to Titian, calling the Cambridge version a replica and the Dresden picture a later copy.
Hans Tietze. Tizian: Leben und Werk. Vienna, 1936, text vol., pp. 192, 216; plate vol., p. 303, pl. 183, attributes it to Titian, possibly with studio assistance, and dates it about 1560; calls the Cambridge and Dresden pictures replicas.
Bernard Berenson. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. June 29, 1936, calls it a late work.
Harry B. Wehle. "Titian's Venus from Holkham." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 31 (September 1936), pp. 182–87, ill., attributes it to Titian and calls it a late work; states that the Cambridge picture appears to be an early copy.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 195–96, ill., dates it probably 1562–65.
Th[eodor]. Hetzer in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 34, Leipzig, 1940, p. 164, considers the Venus in the Uffizi the only original by Titian, calls the versions in Madrid and Berlin school repetitions, and judges the MMA painting to be farthest from Titian and perhaps without any connection to him.
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 163, ill.
E. Tietze-Conrat. "The Holkham Venus in the Metropolitan Museum." Art Bulletin 26 (December 1944), pp. 266–70, fig. 1, identifies it with a painting in the collection of Joachim Sandrart in the seventeenth century and attributed by him to "Jacopo Tintoretto the Younger," whom she identifies with certainty as Domenico Tintoretto and to whom she attributes the picture.
Harry B. Wehle. "Letter to the editor." Art Bulletin 27 (March 1945), pp. 82–83, rejects Tietze-Conrat's [see Ref. 1944] attribution to Domenico Tintoretto as well as her identification of the MMA painting with the work formerly in the collection of Joachim van Sandrart.
E. Tietze-Conrat. "Letter to the editor." Art Bulletin 27 (March 1945), p. 83, reaffirms her attribution to Domenico Tintoretto.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (November 1946), ill. on cover (color detail) and inside front cover.
Otto Brendel. "The Interpretation of the Holkham 'Venus'." Art Bulletin 28 (June 1946), pp. 65–75, fig. 1, discusses the iconography, finding that it is based on Neoplatonism, specifically on the idea of the primacy of seeing and hearing as the two senses most suited to perceiving beauty.
Ulrich Middeldorf. "Letter to the editor." Art Bulletin 29 (March 1947), pp. 65–67, comments on Brendel's [see Ref. 1946] Neoplatonic interpretation of this theme, suggesting that he may have over-idealized the content of this group of paintings and that their directly sensual tone should not be overlooked.
Otto Brendel. "Letter to the editor." Art Bulletin 29 (March 1947), pp. 67–69, defends his interpretation of this group of pictures.
Grose Evans. "Notes on Titian's 'Venus and the Luteplayer'." Art Bulletin 29 (June 1947), pp. 123–25, believes that it was painted in large part by Titian, and then after his death was finished or retouched in Tintoretto's workshop.
Dietrich von Bothmer. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 7 (April 1949), p. 214, ill.
William E. Suida. The History of the Holkham Venus. 1949, pp. 1–4, identifies it with a painting included in the inventory of 1742 of the Pio collection described as "Another painting representing a Venus reclining with a putto and a soldier, by Titian"; rejects Tietze-Conrat's [see Ref. 1944] identification with the work from the Sandrart collection, as well as her attribution to Domenico Tintoretto, believing that Sandrart's reference to "Jacopo Tintoretto the Younger" more likely refers to Jacopo Palma the Younger than to Domenico Tintoretto.
Liliane Guerry. Cézanne et l'expression de l'espace. [1st ed.; 2nd ed., 1966]. Paris, 1950, p. 31 [1966 ed., p. 43], discusses the composition.
Hans Tietze. Titian: The Paintings and Drawings. 2nd, rev. ed. London, 1950, pp. 386–87, rejects the attribution to Titian, finding Tietze-Conrat's [see Ref. 1944] attribution to Domenico Tintoretto convincing although difficult to prove; suggests consideration of Marco Tintoretto as well.
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 228, no. 109, colorpl. 109.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano: Lezioni tenute alla Facoltà di Lettere dell'Università di Bologna durante l'Anno 1953–54. Bologna, [1953–54], vol. 2, pp. 45, 115, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1562, rejecting Tietze-Conrat's [see Ref. 1944] attribution to Domenico Tintoretto; remarks on the similarity of the landscape to that in the Rape of Europa (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston).
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 1, ill. p. 22.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 189; vol. 2, pl. 1009, lists it as a late work by Titian, dating it 1560–65.
William Suida. "Miscellanea tizianesca - III." Arte veneta 11 (1957), pp. 71–74, ill. (overall and detail).
Edgar Wind. Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance. London, 1958, p. 123 n. 1.
W. G. Studdert-Kennedy. "Titian: The Fitzwilliam Venus." Burlington Magazine 100 (October 1958), p. 349, calls it a copy after the Cambridge painting, which he attributes to Titian; does not propose an attribution for the MMA work.
Francesco Valcanover. Tutta la pittura di Tiziano. Milan, 1960, vol. 2, pp. 41–42, pl. 72 [English ed., "All the Paintings of Titian," New York, 1960, vol. 3, p. 43, pl. 72], attributes it to Titian.
J. W. Goodison. "Titian's 'Venus and Cupid with a lute-player' in the Fitzwilliam Museum." Burlington Magazine 107 (October 1965), pp. 521–22, fig. 33, states that cleaning has revealed that the Cambridge picture is almost entirely from Titian's own hand, and that re-examination of the MMA picture shows that it was left unfinished by Titian and later reworked by a Venetian painter at the end of the sixteenth century; adds that the Cambridge picture is the prototype of the composition, with the MMA work showing revisions and modifications of the earlier painting.
A[lbert]. P. de Mirimonde. "La musique dans les allégories de l'amour." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 68 (November 1966), pp. 271–72, fig. 10, discusses the iconography of music in the allegory of love, noting that the swans are attributes of music, and that the sword worn by the musician is an allusion to the love of Mars and Venus.
J. W. Goodison and G. H. Robertson. Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge: Catalogue of Paintings. Vol. 2, Italian Schools. Cambridge, 1967, pp. 168–71 nn. 8–10, 13, under no. 129.
Erwin Panofsky. Problems in Titian, Mostly Iconographic. New York, 1969, pp. 124–25, fig. 139, discusses the iconography; accepts Goodison's [see Ref. 1965] view that the Cambridge picture is the earlier of the two and almost entirely from Titian's own hand, and that the MMA picture was left unfinished by Titian and later reworked by a Venetian painter at the end of the sixteenth century; adds that there is no evidence to show that the alterations were made by Domenico Tintoretto.
Francesco Valcanover in L'opera completa di Tiziano. repr., 1978. Milan, 1969, pp. 128–29, no. 426, ill., attributes it to Titian with assistants and dates it 1560 or later.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano. Florence, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 126, 170–71, 316; vol. 2, pls. 478–79 (overall and detail), accepts Goodison's [see Ref. 1965] attribution and chronology of the MMA and Cambridge paintings.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 224 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
John Goldsmith Phillips. "Canova's Reclining Naiad." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (Summer 1970), p. 6, fig. 3, notes that Canova's sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese as Venus Victrix (Galleria Borghese, Rome) is probably based on Venetian Renaissance paintings like this one, rather than on the antique.
Teréz Gerszi. "Goltzius und Jan Muller: Beitrage zu ihrer Zeichenkunst." Nederlands kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 23 (1972), p. 52, fig. 5.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 202, 476, 607.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, pp. 77–79, pl. 93, date it to the first half of the 1560s; agree that it is based on the Cambridge painting, was left unfinished by Titian, and completed "in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, by a Venetian artist influenced by both Titian and Tintoretto, and seeking to imitate Titian's late technique".
Harold E. Wethey. The Paintings of Titian. Vol. 3, The Mythological and Historical Paintings. London, 1975, pp. 66–68, 195–96, no. 45, pls. 121–22, 124 (overall and details), attributes it to Titian, "with no obvious intervention of assistants," and dates it about 1565–70; lists a second copy (whereabouts unknown), in addition to the Dresden picture.
Sylvia Hochfield. "Conservation: The Need is Urgent." Art News 75 (February 1976), pp. 32–33.
Emma Zocca, ed. Nota delli musei, librerie, gallerie & ornamenti di statue, e pitture, né palazzi, nelle case, e né giardini di Roma. By [Giovanni Pietro Bellori]. Rome, 1976, p. 101, identifies this work as one of the two paintings of Venus by Titian mentioned by Bellori [see Ref. 1664].
David Rosand. Titian. New York, 1978, p. 140, calls the Cambridge painting the more finished of the two versions, and the MMA work "a 'ricordo,' a record of the composition fully blocked in but still incomplete," until retouched by another hand, possibly Domenico Tintoretto.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. Washington, 1979, vol. 1, pp. 477, 480 n. 9, under no. 34.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 276–77, 293, fig. 509 (color).
David Rosand. "Ermeneutica amorosa: Observations on the Interpretation of Titian's Venuses." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, p. 377, calls it "relatively unfinished" and the Cambridge version "more impressive".
Charles Hope. "Problems of Interpretation in Titian's Erotic Paintings." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, pp. 120–23, fig. 36, traces the origin of Titian's various versions of this subject, proposing that they all derive from the lost Venus painted for Charles V shortly before 1545.
Charles Hope. Titian. New York, 1980, pp. 157–58, calls it "an indifferent copy of the Cambridge picture, [showing] no trace of Titian's own hand".
Howard Hibbard. Caravaggio. New York, 1983, p. 35, fig. 17, attributes it to Titian's workshop and dates it to the 1560s or 1570s.
Elise L. Goodman. "Petrarchism in Titian's 'The Lady and the Musician'." Storia dell'arte no. 49 (1983), pp. 179–86, fig. 7, argues that the origin of the iconography of this series of pictures lies in Petrarchan music and poetry rather than in Neoplatonic philosophy.
Francis Russell in The Treasures Houses of Britain. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1985, p. 383, under no. 313, notes that aside from this work, the picture collection of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, is still intact.
Nanette Salomon. "Courbet's 'Woman with a Parrot' and the Problem of 'Realism'." Tribute to Lotte Brand Philip: Art Historian and Detective. Ed. William W. Clark et al. New York, 1985, pp. 147–48, fig. 4.
Roberta Giorgi. Titiano: Venere, Amore e il Musicista in cinque dipinti. Rome, 1990, pp. 26–27, 29–31, 36–37, 51, 55, 62, 66, 95, 119–23 passim, ill. (overall and details, color and black and white).
Richard Rand in The Ahmanson Gifts: European Masterpieces in the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1991, pp. 138–39, fig. 35c, under no. 35, believes it to have been an inspiration for Hendrick Goltzius's "Jupiter and Danaë" of 1603.
David Rosand. "'So-And-So Reclining on Her Couch'." Titian 500. Ed. Joseph Manca. Washington, 1993, p. 113.
Volker Herzner. "Tizians 'Venus mit dem Orgelspieler'." Begegnungen: Festschrift für Peter Anselm Riedl zum 60. Geburtstag. Ed. Klaus Güthlein and Franz Matsche. Worms, 1993, pp. 80–81, 85, 88–90, 94, fig. 5.
Laura Testa et al. Quadri rinomatissimi: il collezionismo dei Pio di Savoia. Ed. Jadranka Bentini. Modena, 1994, p. 97 n. 30, p. 198, no. 74, fig. 88 (color), identifies it as no. 94 in the 1624 inventory of the collection of Cardinal Carlo Emanuele Pio.
Rona Goffen. Titian's Women. New Haven, 1997, pp. 159–60, 162, 165–66, 168–69, 305 nn. 180, 189, fig. 95 (color), dates it about 1565–67.
Francesco Valcanover. Tiziano: i suoi pennelli sempre partorirono espressioni di vita. Florence, 1999, p. 261, dates it about 1562.
Maria Agnese Chiari Moretto Wiel in Filippo Pedrocco. Titian. New York, 2001, pp. 218, 259, no. 215, ill. (color), attributes it to Titian and accepts a date of about 1562; agrees that it can be identified as the work included in the 1742 inventory of the Pio collection [see Ref. Suida 1949].
Miguel Falomir in Tiziano. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2003, pp. 87, 248–49, 329, 394–95.
Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, pp. 343–44, 493, dates it 1562–65; states that Duveen bought it from the Earl of Leicester in 1930 for $200,000.
Andrea Bayer. "North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Venice and the Veneto." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Summer 2005), pp. 12, 15, fig. 13 (color).
Keith Christiansen in Der späte Tizian und die Sinnlichkeit der Malerei. Ed. Sylvia Ferino-Pagden. Exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum. Vienna, 2007, pp. 252–55, no. 2.7, ill. (color and x-ray), states that Titian used a cartoon or tracing for the Venus series and that the prototype for the tracing was probably the lost painting made by Titian in 1545 for Charles V; argues that since both the Cambridge and New York works were generated from a single tracing, changes visible in the x-ray of the Cambridge picture do not necessarily establish it as the prime version; believes that both works were probably begun at about the same time and then put aside to be finished when Titian had a client; is unconvinced that the Cambridge picture was completed by Titian himself; points out that while the New York work remains unfinished, the x-ray reveals that the face, finger tips, and pearl necklace are the work of an assistant or follower, but that the landscape is by Titian himself; sees the series as embodying both eroticism and the Renaissance ideals of love, beauty, and virtue.
Fernando Checa in Der späte Tizian und die Sinnlichkeit der Malerei. Ed. Sylvia Ferino-Pagden. Exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum. Vienna, 2007, pp. 217–19, 223 n. 2.
Andrea Bayer in Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 327–29, calls it "very possible" that the Prado picture no. 420 was the first of the five versions of the composition because of the change in the position of Venus's head visible in x-radiographs and because of the overall quality of execution.
Robert Wald in Frederick Ilchman. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 2009, p. 77, mentions it among compositions by Titian existing in numerous variations.
David Rosand in Frederick Ilchman. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 2009, pp. 180, 194, 281 n. 15, fig. 79 (color), states that the viola da gamba in the lower right corner awaits its player: the viewer, "who is thereby invited to participate in this musical celebration of love and beauty".
Arturo Galansino in Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse . . . Rivalités à Venise. Ed. Vincent Delieuvin et al. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2009, pp. 307, 429 n. 47.