In this portrait the features of the greatest Venetian sculptor of the later sixteenth century, Alessandro Vittoria, are recorded by the greatest painter of his generation, Veronese. Vittoria is shown with the model for one of his most famous statues, the Saint Sebastian, carved in 1561–62 for the church of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice. This figure was later cast by Vittoria twice as a bronze statuette—one of these belongs to the Metropolitan. Vittoria had portraits of himself holding his own sculpture painted by eminent artists at various times in his life; five were hung near the studio in his house where they could be seen by clients and visitors. This portrait was done around 1580 when the sitter was about fifty-five.
Adelbert Wellington Brownlow Cust, 3rd Earl Brownlow, Ashridge Park, Hertford (until d. 1921; his estate, 1921–23; his estate sale, Christie's, London, May 4, 1923, no. 70, as "Portrait of a Sculptor," by Veronese, for £5.5.0 to Nicholson); [A. L. Nicholson, London, 1923–28; sale, Christie's, London, May 23, 1928, no. 321, for £60.18.0 to Hill, bought in]; ?[Luigi Podio, Bologna and Venice, about 1930]; [Umberto Pini, Bologna, by 1936; sent in 1936 to Cleveland and later to New York; sold to Tozzi]; [Piero Tozzi, New York, until 1946; sold to MMA]
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 2–28, 1951, no catalogue.
Art Gallery of Toronto. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 14–December 12, 1951, no catalogue.
City Art Museum of St. Louis. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 6–February 4, 1952, no catalogue.
Seattle Art Museum. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 1–June 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
Tokyo. National Museum of Western Art. "Masterpieces of World Art from American Museums," September 11–October 17, 1976, no. 25.
Kyoto National Museum. "Masterpieces of World Art from American Museums," November 2–December 5, 1976, no. 25.
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse . . . Rivalités à Venise," September 17, 2009–January 4, 2010, no. 16 (as "Le Sculpteur Alessandro Vittoria(?)").
Verona. Palazzo della Gran Guardia. "Paolo Veronese: l'illusione della realtà," July 5–October 5, 2014, no. 2.9.
"Italian Masters Loaned to Cleveland." Art Digest 11 (January 1, 1937), pp. 11, 29, ill., includes it among seven pictures on loan to the Cleveland Museum, this one and two others lent by Umberto Pini, Bologna; notes that it arrived too late to be included in the Twentieth Anniversary exhibition of 1936; states that Venturi believes the sitter to be Jacopo Sansovino.
"Field Notes." Magazine of Art 30 (February 1937), pp. 104, 126, ill. p. 105, states that Venturi now believes the sitter to be Vittoria rather than Sansovino.
Adolfo Venturi. "Per Paolo Veronese." L'arte 40 (July 1937), pp. 210, 215, fig. 2, calls it a portrait of a sculptor, possibly Alessandro Vittoria.
Adolfo Venturi. "Per il Tintoretto e Paolo Veronese." Critica d'arte (February 1937), p. 40, pl. 33, fig. 2.
W. R. Valentiner. "Alessandro Vittoria and Michelangelo." Art Quarterly 5 (Spring 1942), pp. 149–50, 157 n. 3, fig. 5 [reprinted in "Studies of Italian Renaissance Sculpture," New York, 1950, pp. 224, 226, fig. 232], as in a private collection, New York; identifies the sitter as Vittoria and the statuette he holds as the bronze Saint Sebastian in the Metropolitan Museum.
Margaretta Salinger. "Veronese's Portrait of the Sculptor Vittoria." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (Summer 1946), pp. 7–9, 13–14, ill., identifies the sitter as Vittoria, relating the statuette in the painting to the bronze in the MMA; notes that Vittoria appears to be at least twenty years younger in the painting than in the bust on his tomb in San Zaccaria, Venice.
Erwin Panofsky. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. October 12, 1946, comments on Ref. Salinger 1946.
W. R. Valentiner. Gothic and Renaissance Sculptures in the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum. [Los Angeles], 1951, p. 172, under no. 66.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 134; vol. 2, pl. 1082, lists it as "Bust of Alessandro Vittoria".
Introduction by Bernard Berenson. Palladio, Veronese, e Vittoria a Maser. Milan, 1960, ill. p. 38, as a portrait of Vittoria.
William Suida. "Chiarimenti e aggiunte all'opera di Paolo Veronese." Arte veneta 15 (1961), p. 103, refers to it as Portrait of a Sculptor, and calls it a quasi pendant to the Portrait of an Architect (Denver Art Museum), which he attributes to Veronese.
Francesco Cessi. Alessandro Vittore scultore (1525–1608). Vol. 2, Trent, 1962, ill. (frontispiece), as a portrait of Vittoria.
Remigio Marini inL'opera completa del Veronese. Milan, 1968, p. 116, no. 177, ill. p. 116 and colorpl. LXIII, calls it Portrait of a Sculptor (Alessandro Vittoria?).
Wladimir Timofiewitsch. Girolamo Campagna: Studien zur venezianischen Plastik um das Jahr 1600. Munich, 1972, pp. 33–34, fig. 125, identifies the sitter as the sculptor Girolamo Campagna, holding in his hands the model for the "Atlas" that appears at the left of the fireplace in the Sala dell'Anticollegio in the Doge's Palace, Venice; based on the execution period of this sculpture and on the date of Veronese's death, dates it 1587–88.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 39, 518, 608.
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. 87–88, pl. 99, date it about 1566 based on the date of the bronze statuette of Saint Sebastian related to the marble held by the sitter, and also based on the apparent age of the sitter and on the style; mention a copy of the painting in the Museo Civico, Vicenza.
Terisio Pignatti. Veronese. Venice, 1976, vol. 1, pp. 95, 154, 171, 176, 202, no. 277; vol. 2, fig. 621, calls it Portrait of a Sculptor, noting that it could represent either Girolamo Campagna or Alessandro Vittoria; questions the date of about 1566 proposed by Zeri and Gardner [see Ref. 1973], suggesting a date at least fifteen years later, particularly in view of the picture's "accenti bassaneschi".
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 284, fig. 511.
Bruce Boucher. "A Statuette by Girolamo Campagna and a Portrait by Leandro Bassano." Arte veneta 34 (1980), p. 164 n. 23.
Richard Cocke. Veronese. London, 1980, pp. 12, 82, pl. 49.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. Veronese. Milan, 1984, pp. 155, 188, no. 255, ill., calls the sitter probably Girolamo Campagna and dates the picture about 1582–86.
W. R. Rearick. The Art of Paolo Veronese, 1528–1588. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1988, p. 192, under no. 99, refers to it as a portrait of Girolamo Campagna and dates it about 1587.
Terisio Pignatti and Filippo Pedrocco. Veronese: catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1991, pp. 280–81, no. 208, ill.
Terisio Pignatti and Filippo Pedrocco. Veronese. Milan, 1995, vol. 1, pp. 367, 432–33, 436, no. 325, ill. p. 434.
European Sculpture. Christie's, London. July 7, 1998, p. 80, under no. 109, ill. p. 83 (color), calls it a portrait of Vittoria and identifies the sculpture as the "modello" for the bronze statuette of Saint Sebastian.
Claudia Kryza-Gersch in"La bellissima maniera": Alessandro Vittoria e la scultura veneta del Cinquecento. Ed. Andrea Bacchi et al. Exh. cat., Castello del Buonconsiglio. Trent, 1999, pp. 153, 162–63, no. 3, ill. (color), identifies the sitter as Vittoria, rejecting Timofiewitsch's (1972) identification of him as Girolamo Campagna; dates the picture to the early 1580s.
Victoria J. Avery in"La bellissima maniera": Alessandro Vittoria e la scultura veneta del Cinquecento. Ed. Andrea Bacchi et al. Exh. cat., Castello del Buonconsiglio. Trent, 1999, pp. 131, 144, fig. 7 (color detail).
Manfred Leithe-Jasper in"La bellissima maniera": Alessandro Vittoria e la scultura veneta del Cinquecento. Ed. Andrea Bacchi et al. Exh. cat., Castello del Buonconsiglio. Trent, 1999, p. 345, under no. 75.
Sylvia Ferino-Pagden in"La bellissima maniera": Alessandro Vittoria e la scultura veneta del Cinquecento. Ed. Andrea Bacchi et al. Exh. cat., Castello del Buonconsiglio. Trent, 1999, p. 160.
Creighton Gilbert inGiovanni Battista Moroni: Renaissance Portraitist. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum. Fort Worth, 2000, p. 38, mentions it as a portrait of Vittoria.
Andreas Priever. Paolo Caliari, genannt Veronese: 1528–1588. Cologne, 2000, pp. 121–22, fig. 109 (color), dates it about 1575.
Linda Borean. La quadreria di Agostino e Giovan Donato Correggio nel collezionismo veneziano del Seicento. Udine, 2000, p. 87 n. 65, mentions it as a possible point of reference for a work included in the inventory of the Correggio collection, Venice, of 1646–74 as "Un vecchio con una scoltura in mano et nell'altra parte una statua del Moron stimato".
Sergio Marinelli. "Note alla ritrattistica veneta della seconda metà del Cinquecento." Da Bellini a Veronese: temi di arte veneta. Ed. Gennaro Toscano and Francesco Valcanover. Venice, 2004, p. 503.
Andrea Bayer. "North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Venice and the Veneto." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Summer 2005), pp. 20, 23, 25, fig. 18 (color), dates it "perhaps about 1580, when the artist seems to have been influenced by the sober portraits of Jacopo Bassano . . . and when the sitter would have been fifty-five".
Richard Cocke. Veronese. rev. ed. London, 2005, pp. 21, 101, pl. 55.
Erna Fiorentini. "Identità artistica nella retorica del mezzo espressivo: Vittoria, Campagna e altri scultori ritratti da pittori e il ruolo del bozzetto nel Veneto." Il ritratto nell'Europa del Cinquecento. Ed. Aldo Galli et al. Florence, 2007, pp. 226–29, fig. 7, dates it 1566–70.
John Garton. Grace and Grandeur: The Portraiture of Paolo Veronese. London, 2008, pp. 125–29, 131–32, 151, 202, 206–7, 216–17, 220, no. 20, colorpl. 23, ill. p. 206, calls it a portrait of Vittoria and dates it about 1575; relates it to other portraits of Vittoria and discusses the significance of the antique torso and the Saint Sebastian; sees similarities to Jacopino del Conte's portrait of Michelangelo (MMA 1977.384.1), which he suggests may have been known to Veronese through a copy or variant.
Jérémie Koering inTitien, Tintoret, Véronèse . . . Rivalités à Venise. Ed. Vincent Delieuvin et al. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2009, pp. 181–83, 186, 420 nn. 32, 33, 44, no. 16, ill. (color), dates it about 1575–80 and tentatively identifies the sitter as Vittoria; discusses it in connection with the portrait by Moroni in Vienna, which he identifies as Vittoria, and a portrait of an artist or collector by Palma the Younger (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England) that also includes the statuette of Saint Sebastian.
Duncan Bull et al. inTitien, Tintoret, Véronèse . . . Rivalités à Venise. Ed. Vincent Delieuvin et al. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2009, p. 209.
Bronwen Wilson. "Review of Garton 2008." Renaissance Quarterly 63 (Summer 2010), p. 607.
Volker Krahn. "Überraschung im Depot: Das Bildnis von Alessandro Vittoria kehrt zurück." Museumsjournal no. 3 (2012), p. 43, fig. 3 (color), compares it to the more classicizing portrait bust by Jacopo Albarelli in the Bodemuseum, Berlin.
David Rosand. Véronèse. Paris, 2012, pp. 278, 444 n. 22 to chapter 8, colorpl. 237.
Linda Borean inPaolo Veronese: l'illusione della realtà. Ed. Paola Marini and Bernard Aikema. Exh. cat., Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona. Milan, 2014, pp. 140–41, no. 2.9, ill. (color).
Karen Serres. "Duveen's Italian Framemaker, Ferruccio Vannoni." Burlington Magazine 159 (May 2017), p. 374 n. 45.
The frame is twentieth-century, though based on Renaissance models, made in the workshop of Ferruccio Vannoni (1881–1965), who was extensively employed by the Duveen firm. (For Vannoni, see Karen Serres, “Duveen’s Italian Framemaker, Ferruccio Vannoni,” Burlington Magazine 159 (May 2017), pp. 366–74.)
Alessandro Vittoria was the most important sculptor working in Venice in the second half of the sixteenth century. He collaborated with Veronese on the decoration of Palladio's Villa Barbaro at Maser, near Asolo, in about 1560–62.
The figure's features are close to those of the portrait bust Vittoria executed for his tomb in the church of San Zaccaria, Venice. Another version of this bust was formerly in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin (now presumed lost).
The sculpture fragment on the left is antique. The statuette held by the sitter is a version of the statue of Saint Sebastian executed by Vittoria in 1561–62 for an altar in the church of San Francesco della Vigna, Venice. The MMA owns a bronze statuette (40.24) of Saint Sebastian signed by Vittoria which is almost identical to the statuette held by the figure in the portrait. A later version of the bronze is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A third version was sold at Christie's, London, July 7, 1998, no. 109.
A portrait of a young man holding an antique marble torso (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), by Giovanni Battista Moroni, of about 1551, is sometimes identified as a portrait of Vittoria.
A half-length portrait (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) of about 1600–1605 by Palma Giovane of a man holding a statuette, which may be a portrait of Vittoria at the end of his life, may be the one mentioned by Carlo Ridolfi in Le maraviglie dell'arte, 1648, part 2, p. 192.
There is a sixteenth-century copy after the MMA portrait in the Museo Civico, Vicenza (no. 68).