Lot 60
  • 60

Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto
  • Portrait of a young nobleman, three quarter length, with a black velvet cap, doublet, and cape, resting his hand on a sword
  • dated lower left on marble pedestal: M.D.LI; inscribed lower left: ÆTATIS. SVÆ / ANNO. [X?] XX
  • oil on canvas
  • 54 1/2 x 42 inches


Marchese Spinola, Genoa, until 1911;
With Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell Ltd., London, 1911;
From whom acquired by Knoedler and Co., New York, 1911 (no. K-10539);
From whom acquired by Judge Elbert H. Gary, New York, 1912;
His sale, New York, American Art Association, 20 April 1928, lot 35 (where unsold);
Thence by descent to his widow, Mrs. Elbert H. Gary, New York;
Mr. and Mrs. Lionel F. Straus, New York, 1934;
His sale, New York, Parke-Bernet, 11 March 1953, lot 10 (where unsold);
Thence by descent to their son, Lionel F. Straus, Jr., New York;
By whom bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in memory of his parents in 1958 (Inv. no. 58.49).


New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, 1 May - 2 September 1974;
Wichita, Wichita Art Museum, 5000 Years of Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 23 October 1977 - 15 January 1978, no. 44.


B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Oxford 1932, p. 562;
R. Pallucchini, La giovinezza del Tintoretto, Milan 1950, pp. 141, 164, note 152, reproduced fig. 233;
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, London 1957, vol. I, p. 176, reproduced vol. 2, plate 1277;
E. Arslan, Le pitture del duomo di Milano, Milan 1960, p. 33, note 44 (as possibly by Jacopo Tintoretto);
P. de Vecchi, L'opera completa del Tintoretto, Milan 1970, pp. 94-95, cat. no. 85, reproduced;
B.B. Frederickson and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1972, pp. 200, 517, 521, 609;
F. Zeri and E. Gardner, Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School, New York 1973, p. 75, reproduced plate 89;
P. Rossi, Jacopo Tintoretto: Ritratti, vol. I, Venice 1974, pp. 35, 37, 39, 96, 102, 108, 117-118, 132, reproduced figs. 61-62;
P. Rossi, Jacopo Tintoretto: Ritratti, exhibition catalogue, Milan 1994, pp. 18-19, 36, notes 29-30, p. 167, reproduced pp. 18-19. 


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.This work is noticeably dirty with an old yellowed varnish. The textured canvas has a good non-wax lining. The canvas has an original vertical join running about 3 ½ inches from the right side. The restorations that have been added seem to be good for the most part. Some of the old retouches are visible under ultraviolet light. However, as with many pictures of this type, there are probably more retouches that are not apparent under ultraviolet light, particularly in the black robe. With some attention to the frame, the work could be hung in its current state.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This impressive and engaging portrait of a young nobleman, possibly a member of the Spinola Family, has long been recognized as an early work by Jacopo Tintoretto.  Dated 1551, this painting can be placed during one of the most important periods of Tintoretto’s development as a portrait painter.  The same year this work was completed, Tintoretto replaced Titian as the official portraitist of the Venetian Republic—a position he secured through his social connections, the quality of his work, and the speed of his execution.  What is clearly visible in the present work, though, with its deep tones and its air of noble simplicity, is how indebted Tintoretto was to the elder Titian during these formative years of his career.