Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Good Samaritan

Attributed to Domenico Fetti (Italian, Rome (?) 1591/92–1623 Venice)
ca. 1618–22
Oil on wood
23 5/8 x 17 in. (60 x 43.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1930
Accession Number:
Not on view
At the end of his life, about 1618–22, Fetti executed, for the Ducal collection at Mantua, a number of small paintings of parables. Most of these exist in a number of versions, and were reproduced in Fetti's shop. The present example is by the master himself. Other autograph paintings by Fetti of "The Good Samaritan" exist in Dresden and in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Studio replicas are in the Accademia in Venice, at San Diego, and in other collections.
Lodovico Spiridon, Rome (by 1922); [Durlacher, New York, until 1930; sold to MMA]
Florence. Palazzo Pitti. "Mostra della pittura italiana del Sei e Settecento," April–October 1922, no. 408 (lent by Cav. L. de B. Spiridon, Rome).

Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum and Morgan Memorial. "Exhibition of Italian Painting of the Sei- and Settecento," January 22–February 5, 1930, no. 10 (lent by Durlacher Brothers, New York and London; Collection Spiridon, Rome).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 8.

Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Vassar College Art Gallery. "Italian Baroque Paintings," January 7–31, 1937, no catalogue.

Kansas City, Mo. Nelson Gallery of Art. "Anniversary Loan Exhibition: Venetian Paintings, Drawings, Prints of the Eighteenth Century," November 28–December 30, 1937, unnumbered cat.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Exhibition of Italian Baroque Painting: 17th and 18th Centuries," May 16–June 15, 1941, no. 35.

New York. Durlacher Brothers. "A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Domenico Fetti, 1589–1624," February 28–March 25, 1950, no. 8.

Thomas Bodkin. "Domenico Feti." Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy, and Sciences 12 (1923), pp. 612–13, pl. 5, as in the collection of Cavaliere L. de B. Spiridon, Rome; considers it the third version of four known paintings of the subject (the others can be found in the Royal Gallery, Dresden; collection of Baron Hadeln, Venice; and collection of Thomas Bodkin [the author]); points out that it is deemed "authentic by those best acquainted with Feti's work".

Hermann Voss. "Spätitalienische Gemälde in der Sammlung Dr. Fritz Haussmann in Berlin." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 65 (1931–32), p. 164.

Ella S. Siple. "Recent Acquisitions in America." Burlington Magazine 60 (1932), p. 110, pl. 1B.

F[rancis]. H[enry]. T[aylor]. "An Italian Baroque Painting." Bulletin of the Worcester Art Museum 25 (1934), pp. 18, 21, ill., compares it with Fetti's "Sowing of the Tares" in Worcester, and notes that "a feeling in the composition of the trees and the sombre grey of the background. . . seems to suggest already the mood of certain of Tiepolo's landscapes".

Frank Jewett Mather Jr. Venetian Painters. New York, 1936, pp. 434–35, ill., finds it equal in quality to Fetti's "Lost Sheep" and "The Blind Leading the Blind" in Dresden; describes the landscape elements as "forms which in their fantastic richness recall his exemplar Elsheimer".

D. N. Casey. "A Painting by Domenico Feti." Bulletin of the Rhode Island School of Design 24 (October 1936), p. 14.

Wart Arslan. "Il nuovo Museo di Bolzano." Archivio per l'Alto Adige 32 (1937), p. 495, compares it with the version in Bolzano and mentions other versions.

Wart Arslan. "Nuovi dipinti nel Museo dell'Alto Adige." Archivio per l'Alto Adige 33 (1938), p. 671 n. 2, lists the extant versions of the picture.

Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 256, ill., lists several replicas of the subject.

N. S. Trivas. "Italian Baroque Painting in San Francisco." Apollo 34 (July–December 1941), p. 44.

Gems of Baroque Painting. Exh. cat., Schaeffer Galleries. New York, 1942, under no. 14.

R[odolfo]. P[allucchini]. "Una mostra del Fetti a New York." Arte veneta 4 (1950), p. 184.

Edoardo Arslan. "Cinque disegni veneti. . ." Arte veneta 8 (1954), pp. 290–91 n. 2, calls our picture certainly autograph.

Paola Michelini. "Domenico Fetti a Venezia." Arte veneta 9 (1955), p. 134.

Rudolf Wittkower. Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600 to 1750. Baltimore, 1958, p. 66, pl. 33, dates it after Fetti's arrival in Venice in 1622.

The Seventeenth Century Pictures by European Masters. Exh. cat., Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. London, 1960, p. 8.

Pamela Askew. "The Parable Paintings of Domenico Fetti." Art Bulletin 43 (March 1961), pp. 24, 37–38, 43–44, fig. 18, believes all of Fetti's parable paintings date after 1618 and notes that this parable exists in more versions than any of the others; comments that with this parable "Fetti continues the tradition of monumental North Italian landscape painting"; considers our picture the third version, noting that the artist has shifted to a vertical format from the horizontal formats of the previous versions in Dresden and Boston; provides a catalogue raisonné of the other known versions except those in Bolzano and the Courtauld, London.

Michael Levey. "The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries." 20,000 Years of World Painting. Ed. Hans L. C. Jaffé. New York, 1967, p. 31, ill.

Jürgen M. Lehmann. "Domenico Fetti: Leben und Werk des römischen Malers." PhD diss., Johann-Wolfgag-Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, 1967, pp. 115–16, 166, 214–15, 219, 220, 225, 240, 246, no. 80, considers our picture the best preserved of this subject; discusses various versions and the related drawing (Louvre, Paris), calls the Venice, Dresden, and New York versions autograph, but suggests that the figures in our picture may be by Fetti's studio; dates the Venice version around 1617, the Dresden and New York versions around 1622, and suggests that either the New York or Venice painting may be identical with no. 596 in the inventory of the Mantuan ducal collection of 1627 (see A. Luzio, "La Galleria dei Gonzaga venduta all'Inghilterra nel 1627–28," 1913, p. 130).

Carlo Donzelli and Giuseppe Maria Pilo. I pittori del Seicento veneto. Florence, 1967, pp. 175–76.

Federico Zeri and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Unpublished manuscript. [ca. 1970–80], state that there are at least eleven extant versions of this parable, some by the artist and other "studio versions"; note that the "high quality" of our picture "excludes the intervention of helpers beside the master's own hand"; place it after originals in Dresden and Boston, suggesting "its date must fall not far from the painter's last months".

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 70, 279, 607, as by Fetti.

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 298, 302, fig. 536 (color), dates it to Fetti's time in Venice, 1622–23.

Rodolfo Pallucchini. La pittura veneziana del Seicento. [Venice], 1981, vol. 1, p. 138, calls it a distillation of the composition worked out in the Dresden and Boston versions, moving away from Elsheimer's influence and towards Veronese.

Eduard A. Safarik with the collaboration of Gabriello Milantoni in Fetti. Milan, 1990, pp. 102, 105, no. 25i, fig. 25i, disagrees with Askew and Lehmann that it is the third autograph version of the subject and catalogues it as a copy ("certainly not by the hand of Fetti"); describes it as a "free exercise" ("libera esercitazione") from which four additional copies were made, thereby suggesting that it might be understood as more than a copy of the Dresden original.

Old Master & British Paintings. Christie's, London. April 28, 2016, p. 51, under no. 82.

Andrea Bayer. "Better Late than Never: Collecting Baroque Painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America. Ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, Pa., 2017, pp. 133, 153 n. 25.

At least twelve versions and copies of Fetti's parable of The Good Samaritan have survived. They are in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Gemäldegalerie, Dresden; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, San Diego; Thyssen collection, Daylesford House, Adlestrop, Gloucestershire (formerly in the collection of Mrs. O. Rooke, Suffolk; sold, Christie's, June 29, 1979); Accademia, Venice; Thomas Agnew & Sons, London (formerly in the collection of M. Thomas Bodkin; sold, Sotheby's, November 11, 1959); formerly Major W. P. Kincaid Lennox, Downton Castle, Herefordshire (sold, Christie's, London, April 28, 2016, no. 82); private collection in Vienna (sold by Dorotheum, September 17–20, 1964); collection of Mr. Philip Hofer, Boston; Courtauld Institute, London; Museo dell'Alto Adige, Bolzano; and in the collection Suardi, Bergamo.

Three versions are no longer extant: Dux, collection of the counts Waldenstein, 1737; Paris, sold by Châtaigneraye, 1732; Venice, collection of Barbarigo dalla Terrazza, 1845–50.

A drawing of the Good Samaritan, closest in its details, but not identical with the painted version in Venice, is in the Louvre, Paris (Cabinet des dessins, inv. 3069).
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