Portrait of a Venetian Senator

Catena (Vincenzo di Biagio) (Italian, Venetian, active by 1506–died 1531)

ca. 1525
Oil on canvas
27 1/4 x 24 in. (69.2 x 61 cm)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    The sitter is unidentified, but was at one time wrongly regarded as Doge Andrea Gritti (1454–1538), who is represented by Catena in a painting in the National Gallery, London. The picture dates from about 1525.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    [Georges Brauer, Florence, until 1901, as by Catena, formerly attributed to Gentile Bellini; sold for $10,000 to Davis]; Theodore M. Davis, Newport, R.I. (1901–d. 1915; his estate, on loan to the MMA, 1915–30)

  • Exhibition History

    Worcester Art Museum. Winter 1901–2, no. 15 (as "Portrait," by Catena, lent by Theodore M. Davis).

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Winter 1903–4, no catalogue? (lent by Theodore M. Davis) [see Chalfin 1903].

    Minneapolis. University Gallery, University of Minnesota. "Renaissance and Baroque Painting," June 25–July 26, 1952, no catalogue?

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.

    Bellingham, Wash. Whatcom Museum of History and Art. "5000 Years of Art: An Exhibition from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 4, 1976–October 2, 1977, no. 44 (as "Portrait of a Venetian Procurator").

  • References

    Bernhard Berenson. Letter to Theodore M. Davis. April 26, 1901, attributes it to Catena and calls it a portrait of Andrea Gritti, later Doge.

    P. C[halfin]. "Pictures in the Fourth Gallery." Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin 1 (November 1903), p. 30, as a portrait probably of Andrea Gritti.

    Joseph Breck. "Dipinti italiani nella raccolta del Signor Teodoro Davis." Rassegna d'arte 11 (July 1911), p. 112.

    Bernard Berenson. Venetian Painting in America: The Fifteenth Century. New York, 1916, pp. 251–52, fig. 103 [reprinted in "Looking at Pictures with Bernard Berenson," New York, 1974, pp. 268–69, ill.], dates it about 1517, assuming either that it is not a portrait of Gritti (who turned 62 in 1517) or that it is a copy of a likeness of him at a younger age.

    Kenyon Cox. "Workmanship." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (July 1917), p. 149, ill. p. 153, as a portrait of a Venetian procurator.

    Bryson Burroughs. "The Theodore M. Davis Bequest: The Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26, section 2 (March 1931), pp. 14–16, ill. p. 22.

    Lionello Venturi. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931, unpaginated, pl. CCCXIV.

    Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 139, as a portrait of Andrea Gritti; calls it a late work.

    Lionello Venturi. "Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century." Italian Paintings in America. 3, New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 421, calls it a portrait of a senator; dates it about 1520.

    Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 120.

    Raimond van Marle. "The Renaissance Painters of Venice." The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 18, The Hague, 1936, p. 395, states that there is no foundation for the identification of the sitter as Gritti; dates it after 1517.

    Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 184–85, ill.

    Giles Robertson. Vincenzo Catena. Edinburgh, 1954, pp. 35, 64, 66–67, no. 45, pl. 40, dates it about 1525 and rejects the identification of the sitter as Gritti.

    Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 62.

    Fritz Heinemann. Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani. Venice, [1962], vol. 1, p. 103, no. S.109; vol. 2, fig. 429, dates it about 1511.

    Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 49, 519, 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, p. 18, pl. 16, reject the identification of the sitter as Gritti; note the influence of Giovanni Bellini's late works and Titian's early works.

    Thomas Schlotterback. 5000 Years of Art: An Exhibition from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Whatcom Museum of History and Art. Bellingham, Wash., 1976, p. 67, no. 44, ill., dates it probably about 1511.

    Artur Rosenauer. "Vincenzo Catena: Eine Musikerdarstellung von 1529." Artibus et Historiae no. 2 (1980), p. 34, fig. 9.

    Fritz Heinemann. "Supplemento e ampliamenti." Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani. 3, Hildesheim, 1991, p. 106, dates it about 1516.

    Philip Rylands in The Dictionary of Art. 6, New York, 1996, p. 86.

    Mauro Lucco. "Pittura veneta a Carpi al tempo di Alberto Pio." Alberto III e Rodolfo Pio da Carpi collezionisti e mecenati. Carpi, 2004, p. 264, dates it about 1530.

  • See also
    In the Museum