Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of a Man

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice)
ca. 1515
Oil on canvas
19 3/4 x 17 3/4 in. (50.2 x 45.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 607
Formerly ascribed to Giorgione, this lyrical painting is now generally regarded as an early work by Titian of about 1515. The surface is seriously abraded, and the canvas has been cut down. It is likely that the right arm originally rested on a parapet and that the whole of the gloved right hand was shown.
?the Grimani family, Venice; Walter Savage Landor, Villa Gherardesca, Florence (until d. 1864); the Savage Landor family, Florence (from 1864); Alfred Humbert Savage Landor, Florence (in 1894); comtesse de Turenne, Florence (sold to Grassi); [Luigi Grassi, Florence, until 1912; sold to Duveen]; [Duveen, London and New York, 1912; sold to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1912–d. 1913)
London. New Gallery. "Venetian Art," 1894–95, no. 15 (as "Portrait of a Man," by Giorgione, lent by A. H. Savage Landor).

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


Bernhard Berenson. Venetian Painting, Chiefly Before Titian, at the Exhibition of Venetian Art. London, [1895], p. 41 [reprinted in "The Study and Criticism of Italian Art," London, 1901, p. 145], rejects the attribution to Giorgione, calling it either an early work by Titian or a copy by Polidoro Lanzani after such a work; states that the quality is "exquisite" but the preservation "deplorably bad".

Bernhard Berenson. Letter to Duveen. January 14, 1912, attributes it with certainty to Giorgione and calls the state "miraculously fine".

B[ernard]. Berenson. Letter to Duveen. March 11, 1912, suggests that the sitter may be the poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533).

Wilhelm Bode. "Portrait of a Venetian Nobleman by Giorgione in the Altman Collection." Art in America 1 (October 1913), pp. 226, 229, 232–33, fig. 8, attributes it to Giorgione; believes that the frame, "characteristically Venetian of the period 1505–1510," to be the original and designed by the artist.

G[eorg]. Gronau in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme and Fred C. Willis. Vol. 14, Leipzig, 1921, p. 88, lists it among works whose attribution to Giorgione is disputed.

François Monod. "La galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (September–October 1923), p. 192, believes it to be a modern pastiche.

Adolfo Venturi. "Giorgione." Vita artistica 2 (July 1927), p. 129, fig. 3, attributes it to Giorgione.

Roberto Longhi. "Cartella tizianesca." Vita artistica 2 (November–December 1927), p. 220 n. 2, tentatively calls it an early work by Titian.

W. S. Spanton. An Art Student and His Teachers in the Sixties with Other Rigmaroles. London, 1927, pp. 80–81, relates how Fairfax Murray saw this picture in the Landor collection in Florence and concluded it was by Cariani rather than Titian.

A[dolfo]. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 9, part 3, La pittura del Cinquecento. Milan, 1928, p. 30, fig. 13.

Fritz Heinemann. Tizian: Die zwei ersten Jahrzehnte seiner künstlerischen Entwicklung. PhD diss., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Munich, 1928, pp. 59, 82, lists it among lost works ascribed to Titian, dating it 1510–12.

Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 233, lists it as by Giorgione and tentatively calls it a portrait of Ariosto.

Wilhelm Suida. Tizian. Zürich, 1933, pp. 32, 153, pl. XXXI b, judging from a photograph, attributes it to Titian; as formerly in the Grimani collection, Venice.

Federico Hermanin. Il mito di Giorgione. Spoleto, 1933, p. 155, ill. p. 149, attributes it to Giorgione, comparing it with an unfinished portrait of a musician in the Palazzo Venezia, Rome (now Galleria Spada, Rome).

Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 200.

B[ernard]. B[erenson]. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. September 29, 1936, attributes it to Giorgione, or possibly Titian; dates it not earlier than 1510, noting that this does not fit with the identification of the sitter as Ariosto.

Hans Tietze. Letter. 1936 [see Ref. Wehle 1940], prefers to attribute it to Giorgione rather than to Titian and notes a suggestion of Palma Vecchio's style.

August L. Mayer. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. August 22, 1937, hesitates between an attribution to Titian and one to Giorgione, feeling that if it is by Titian it must be earlier than the so-called Ariosto (National Gallery, London) because of the weak painting of the hands.

Duncan Phillips. The Leadership of Giorgione. Washington, 1937, p. 69, ill. p. 117, attributes it to Giorgione but suggests that it may have been finished or retouched by Titian; dates it to the same year as the "Concert" (Palazzo Pitti, Florence); rejects the identification of the sitter as Ariosto.

George Martin Richter. Giorgio da Castelfranco, called Giorgione. Chicago, 1937, p. 230, no. 53, calls it "The Grimani Portrait"; tentatively attributes it to Palma Vecchio and dates it 1508–10.

F. Mason Perkins. Letter. March 24, 1938, attributes it to Giorgione; gives provenance information.

George M. Richter. Letter to Mrs.[?] Burroughs. June 6, 1939, reconsiders his earlier attribution to Palma Vecchio [see Ref. 1937], stating that he is now convinced that it is an early work by Titian, "possibly painted in Giorgione's studio".

Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 189, ill.

August L. Mayer. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. March 4, 1940, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1510; states that he has seen a photograph of a painting that seems to depict the same sitter.

Antonio Morassi. Cable to Harry B. Wehle. February 12, 1940, calls it an early work by Titian.

Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 151, ill., as by Giorgione, about 1510.

Antonio Morassi. Giorgione. Milan, 1942, pp. 133, 180, pl. 152.

Robert Langton Douglas. "Giorgione's Later Period." Connoisseur 124 (September 1949), pp. 4–5, fig. II, attributes it to Giorgione, believing that it was left unfinished at his death and completed by Titian.

Edoardo Arslan. Letter. April 21, 1952, calls it a copy, and not a work of the sixteenth century.

Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano: Lezioni tenute alla Facoltà di Lettere dell'Università di Bologna durante l'Anno 1953–54. Bologna, [1953–54], vol. 1, pp. 55–56, attributes it to Titian and believes it was painted before the so-called Ariosto (National Gallery, London).

Federico Zeri. La Galleria Spada in Roma: catalogo dei dipinti. Florence, [1954], p. 144, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1515–20.

Terisio Pignatti. Giorgione. [Milan], 1955, p. 132, attributes it to Titian and calls it "Ritratto Grimani".

Luigi Coletti. Tutta la pittura di Giorgione. Milan, 1955, p. 67 [English ed., "All the Paintings of Giorgione," New York, 1961, p. 57], lists it among works wrongly attributed to Giorgione, as by Titian; tentatively calls it a portrait of a Grimani.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 84; vol. 2, pl. 647.

Francesco Valcanover. Tutta la pittura di Tiziano. Milan, 1960, vol. 1, p. 49, pl. 32 [English ed., "All the Paintings of Titian," New York, 1960, vol. 1, p. 52, pl. 32], attributes it to Titian.

Roberto Salvini. "Giorgione: un ritratto e molti problemi." Pantheon 19 (September–October 1961), p. 237, fig. 11, as the so-called portrait of Ariosto, by Titian; calls it the most Giorgionesque of Titian's early portraits.

Giovanni Mariacher. Palma il Vecchio. Milan, 1968, p. 103, includes it among works with incorrect or unverified attributions to Palma, noting that most authorities attribute it to Titian.

Francesco Valcanover in L'opera completa di Tiziano. repr., 1978. Milan, 1969, pp. 94–95, no. 37, ill., dates it about 1512.

Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano. Florence, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 13, 233; vol. 2, pl. 15, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1508–10.

Terisio Pignatti. Giorgione. Venice, [1969], pp. 40, 67, 114, 118, 123, 127, no. A35, pl. 178 [English ed., London, 1971, pp. 40, 68, 115, 120, 125, 130, no. A35, pl. 178], notes that the traditional provenance from the Grimani collection in Venice is unsubstantiated; rejects the identification of the sitter as Ariosto.

Harold E. Wethey. The Paintings of Titian. Vol. 2, The Portraits. London, 1971, p. 186, no. X-110, pl. 216, attributes it to a Giorgionesque painter and dates it about 1510.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 202, 526, 606.

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. 74–75, pl. 90, attribute it to Titian and date it about 1515; suggest that the picture may have been cut down, and may originally have included the entire right hand with a marble parapet below.

Edward Fowles. Memories of Duveen Brothers. London, 1976, pp. 66, 78–79, states that Duveen bought it on Berenson's advice in 1912 and offered it that same year to Altman.

Denys Sutton. "Robert Langton Douglas, Part IV, XXI: Giotto to Giorgione." Apollo 110 (July 1979), p. 245, fig. 19.

Paola Rossi. "Tiziano nelle gallerie fiorentine." Arte veneta 33 (1979), p. 191.

Gaetano Cozzi. "La donna, l'amore e Tiziano." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, p. 56.

Alessandro Ballarin. "Tiziano prima del fondaco dei tedeschi." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, p. 498, dates it about 1507.

Colin Simpson. Artful Partners: Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen. New York, 1986, pp. 135–37, 294 [British ed., "The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen," London, 1987].

Filippo Pedrocco. Titian. New York, 2001, p. 103, no. 39, ill. (color), attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1513–14.

Andrea Bayer. "North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Venice and the Veneto." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Summer 2005), pp. 9, 11, fig. 7 (color).

Paul Joannides in Titien: l'étrange homme au gant. Exh. cat., Palais Fesch-musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2010, pp. 60–61, fig. 44 (color).

Andrea Bayer. "Collecting North Italian Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America. Ed. Inge Reist. University Park, Pa., 2015, pp. 91–93, fig. 39 (color).

A Venetian period frame of great elegance, beautifully preserved but cut down at the corners.
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