Perpetual Wanderers?

In the late 1920s, the Soviet government urgently needed foreign currency to finance the rapid industrialization of Russia ordered in the first Five Year Plan. The government had already sold off collections of jewelry, furniture and icons seized from the Russian nobility, wealthy classes, and the church.

In February 1928, the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, along with the Russian Museum, was ordered to make a list of art works worth at least two million rubles, for export. A special agency called 'Antiquariat' was created under the Narkompros (the People's Commisariat of Enlightenment) and opened an office in Leningrad to oversee the sale. The Hermitage was instructed to sell 250 paintings for at least 5000 roubles each, plus engravings and a number of golden treasures from ancient Scythia.
The sale was secret, but word was quietly spread to selected western art dealers and collectors that the paintings were on the market.

The first foreign buyer to purchase Hermitage paintings was Calouste Gulbenkian, the founder of the Iraq Petroleum Company, who began buying paintings in early 1930, trading them for oil with the Russians. The organizers of the sale were dissatisfied with the amounts they received from Gulbenkian, so they looked for other buyers.

Francis Matthieson, a young German art dealer, was asked by the Soviet Government to compile a list of the hundred paintings in Russian collections, which should never be sold under any circumstances. He was most surprised to be shown several of these paintings not long after in Paris by Gulbenkian. Gulbenkian wanted him to act as his agent on further purchases, but Matthieson instead formed a consortium with Colnaghi's of London and Knoedler & Co of New York, which in 1930 and 1931 bought twenty-one paintings from the Russians, all of which were bought by Andrew Mellon, who had been offered first refusal.

Andrew William Mellon (March 24, 1855 - August 27, 1937), an American banker, Secretary of the Treasury for Presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, art collector and, at the time, American Ambassador to Great Britain, had conceived the idea of founding a National Gallery for the United States modeled after the National Gallery in London. He heard about the Hermitage sale through the art gallery he usually used for his purchases, the Knoedler Gallery of New York, Paris and London.

The Lute Player by Antoine Watteau, was purchased for the Hermitage by Catherine the Great in 1767. It was sold in May 1930 to Calouste Gulbenkian, who sold it in 1934 to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.Mellon's syndicate bought groups of important paintings from the Hermitage, including Van Eyck's Annunciation and Raphael's The Alba Madonna. The latter painting was sold for $1,166,400, the largest sum ever paid for a single painting until that time.

The Soviet sale of Hermitage paintings in 1930 and 1931 resulted in the departure of some of the most valuable paintings from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad to western museums. Several of the paintings had been in the Hermitage Collection since its creation by Empress Catherine the Great. About two hundred and fifty paintings were sold, including fifty masterpieces by Van Eyck, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael, and other important artists.

By the end of 1931, Mellon had acquired twenty-one paintings for just 6,654,033 dollars. He donated these paintings in 1937 to the United States, along with $10 million to build a museum to house them.
This gift was accepted by the Joint Resolution of the 75th Congress, (1st session-CHS. 49, 50 - March 24, 1937 Sec.3) and all twenty-one paintings became the nucleus of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The sale was secret until November 4, 1933, when it was reported in the New York Times that several Hermitage paintings had been purchased by the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The sale came to an end in 1934, possibly as a result of a letter to Stalin from the deputy director of the Hermitage, Joseph Orbeli, protesting the sale of Russia's treasures. The director of the Hermitage, Boris Legran, who had been brought to the museum to conduct the sale, was dismissed in 1934 and replaced by Orbeli.
In the 1990s, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Parliament of the Russian Federation passed a new law prohibiting the sale of Russian art treasures to foreign countries.

I have visited the National Gallery of Art numerous times and have seen that for many years some of the paintings from the initial collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon have not been exhibited. I have found several sources that indicate that some of the paintings are stored in the Gallery Archives and information about some of the paintings is completely missing even on the National Gallery of Art website. However, according to the Joint Resolution of the 75th Congress, 1st session-CHS. 49, 50 - March 24, 1937 Sec. 3, "Upon completion of the National Gallery of Art, the board [was to] accept for the Smithsonian Institution as a gift from the donor (The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust) a collection of works of art which [were to] be housed and exhibited in the National Gallery of Art." As such, I am concerned by the fact that, in contradiction to the Congressional resolution, these works are not currently exhibited.

According to a very basic leaflet (just a standard piece of paper - A4 format) issued by the National Gallery of Art, seven paintings from Andrew W. Mellon’s gift "have been re-attributed (and re-titled) since that time, [as] a result of more recent scholarship and research." However, I did not find any serious proof that this "recent scholarship and research" has in fact been confirmed and widely accepted by professional art experts. I have tried to inquire from the National Gallery about these changes and request documentation of scholarship based on which it accepted the new titles and attributions of the paintings (for example, official expertise confirming the veracity of the new findings). Yet, establishing contact or soliciting any information from the National Gallery of Art Board of Trustees has been extremely difficult. As you can see from the web page related to the Board, it has not been updated for a very long time. For instance, the last press release is dated 10/19/07 ( http://www.nga.gov/xio/trustees.shtm ).

I am not against periodical new exhibitions, but I think that the Board of Trustees has to demonstrate respect for the historical event of the founding of the Gallery (through the paintings given by Mellow). Therefore, the initial A.W. Mellon collection, as the core of the National Gallery of Art, should be untouchable. In addition, comprehensive booklets and a web page related to A.W. Mellon collection should be created.


Here, I gave a virtual shelter to all twenty-one wanderers and I hope now they have some peace of mind.


Sir Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
Susanna Fourment and Her Daughter, 1621

oil on canvas
Overall: 172 x 117 cm (67 11/16 x 46 1/16 in.) framed: 204.5 x 149.9 x 12.7 cm (80 1/2 x 59 x 5 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

Not on View!


"Susanna Fourment and Her Daughter is Van Dyck's first known double likeness of an adult and a child, a portrait type he would continue to develop throughout his career. In this carefully balanced design, mother and daughter greet the viewer. With both of her tiny hands, Clara grasps the hand of her mother, who was widowed in 1621. The crimson drapery descends gently behind the sitters, as though to shelter them from the distant rainstorm. Susanna was related by marriage to Rubens' first wife, Isabella Brant, whose portrait by Van Dyck is also in the Gallery's collection. The widowed Rubens later married Susanna's sister Helena Fourment." [1]

Provenance

"Probably Anna Theresia van Halen; (her sale, Antwerp, 19 August 1749, no. 1); Gaillard de Gagny (receiver of finances), Grenoble;[*] (his estate sale, Pierre Remy, Paris, 29 March 1762, no. 9); purchased by Jean-Henri Eberts for Markgräfin Karoline Luise von Baden [1723-1783]; (her sale, Amsterdam, 6 March 1769, no. 3); Etienne-François, duc de Choiseul [1719-1785], Paris and Château de Canteloup, Touraine; (his sale, at his residence, Paris, 6-10 April 1772, no. 1); purchased through (Augustin Ménageot, Paris) by Prince Alexander M. Golitzyn for Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg;[** purchased March 1930, as a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[***] gift 1937 to NGA.

[*] The sale of the collection of Anna Theresia van Halen is described by Gerard Hoet, Catalogues of naamlyst van schilderyen, met derzelver pryzen, zedert een langen reeks van jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere plaatzen in het openbaar verkogt, benevens een verzameling van listen van verscheyden nog in wezen zynde cabinetten, 3 vols., The Hague, 1752-1770: 2:256. The provenance back to the Gaillard de Gagny sale is described by Jan Lauts, "Einiges über Markgräfin Karoline Luise von Baden als Gemäldesammlerin," Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 15 (1978): 49, 53-56.
[**] Eberts in 1762 purchased the painting for 2,050 livres, while Ménageot in 1772 bought it for 7,380 livres. Dr. Nicole Willk-Brocard, in a letter of 19 January 1997, kindly provided information about Ménageot and his role in the sale (in NGA curatorial files); see also her article, "Augustin Ménageot (ca. 1700-1784), Marchand de Tableaux, Quelques Jalons," Gazette des Beaux-Arts (April 1998): 161-182.
[***] Mellon purchase date and date deeded to Trust according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977 and now in Gallery Archives)" [1]


Sir Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
Portrait of Philip, Lord Wharton, 1632

oil on canvasOverall: 133 x 106 cm (52 3/8 x 41 3/4 in.)
framed: 171.8 x 144.1 cm (67 5/8 x 56 3/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 43


"Philip, Lord Wharton was one of Van Dyck's first private commissions after he arrived in London in March 1632. Casually bracing a shepherd's crook in his arm, the nineteen-year-old aristocrat engages in a pastoral masquerade. The relationship of the handsome youth to the Arcadian landscape suggests a philosophical attitude that pervaded Charles I's court. A classical concept of ideal love had come to encompass, through Christian interpretation, the idea that physical beauty was a means of spiritually approaching God." [1]

Provenance
Philip Wharton, 4th baron Wharton, [1613-1696], Wharton Hall, near Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland, or Healaugh, West Riding, Yorkshire, until 1637; after 1637 in Wooburn, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; by inheritance to his son, Thomas Wharton, 5th baron and 1st marquess of Wharton [1648-1716], Winchendon, near Aylesbury; by inheritance to his son, Philip Wharton, 1st and last duke of Wharton [1699-1731], Winchendon, near Aylesbury;[1] purchased 1725 by Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford and Prime Minister under George I and George II [1676-1745], Houghton Hall, Norfolk; by inheritance to his son, Robert Walpole, 2nd earl of Orford [1700-1751], Houghton Hall; by inheritance to his son, George Walpole, 3rd earl of Orford [1730-1791], Houghton Hall;[2] acquired with the Walpole collection in 1779, through Count Aleksei Semonovich Musin-Pushkin, Russian ambassador to England, by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg;[3] purchased March 1930 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[4] gift 1937 to NGA. [1] Oliver Millar, "Philip, Lord Wharton, and His Collection of Portraits," The Burlington Magazine 136 (August 1994): 521-522. [2] The Van Dycks hung in the Yellow Drawing Room on the first floor at Houghton. See Andrew Moore, ed., Houghton Hall: The Prime Minister, the Empress and the Heritage, exh. cat. (Norwich Castle Museum, Norwich, and The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, London), London, 1996: 105-107. [3] Count Musin-Pushkin purchased the painting for two hundred pounds. [4] Mellon purchase date and date deeded to Mellon Trust are according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook, donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives.


Jan van Eyck
Netherlandish, 1390 - 1441
The Annunciation, c. 1434/1436

oil on canvas transferred from panel
painted surface: 90.2 x 34.1 cm (35 1/2 x 13 7/16 in.) support: 92.7 x 36.7 cm (36 1/2 x 14 7/16 in.) framed: 102.2 x 55.9 x 8.9 cm (40 1/4 x 22 x 3 1/2 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 39

"Van Eyck is considered one of the greatest painters of any period. Advances in oil techniques helped him paint the physical world in minute detail and with a degree of realism never before possible. It was said he knew fabrics like a weaver, buildings like an architect, and plants like a botanist. Here it is hard to believe that the angel's gleaming brocade is yellow pigment, not true gold, "woven" with brushstrokes, not threads.
In this painting Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the son of God. She modestly draws back and responds, "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord." Her words are printed upside down for the Lord above to see. The Holy Spirit descends to her on seven rays of light. This is the moment God's plan for salvation is set in motion. Through Christ's human incarnation the old era of the Law is transformed into a new era of Grace.
Almost every element in the painting contributes to this theme. The architecture moves from older, round Romanesque forms to pointed Gothic arches. In the floor tiles, scenes from the Old Testament prefigure New Testament events; David's slaying of Goliath, for example, fore tends Christ's triumph over the devil. The single top window, where Jehovah stands, contrasts the triple windows below, which suggest the Christian trinity. Even Mary's overlarge figure inside the chapel operates symbolically to underscore her identification with the Church. The lilies beside her refer to her purity." [1]

Provenance
Possibly the Chartreuse de Champmol, near Dijon.[1] Sale, Paris, 1819. (Charles J. Nieuwenhuys, Brussels). William II, King of the Netherlands [d. 1849], in Brussels until 1841, thereafter The Hague;[2] (sale, The Hague, 12 August 1850, no. 1); bought by Bruni for Czar Nicholas I of Russia [d. 1855], St. Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg;[3] purchased June 1930 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA. [1] C.J. Nieuwenhuys, Description de la Galerie des Tableaux de S.M. le Roi des Pays-Bas, (Brussels, 1843), 2, on the history of the painting says: "D'après les meilleurs renseignements qu'on a pu obtenir, ce tableau faisait suite à deux autres peintures du même maitre; il a été peint pour Philippe le Bon, duc de Bourgogne, et destiné à orner un monument réligieux à Dijon." S. Reinach, "Three Early Panels from the Ducal Residence at Dijon," Burlington Magazine 50 (1927), 239, published a fragmentary description written in 1791 of three paintings kept in the Prior's room, but originally in the ducal chapel of the Chartreuse de Champmol. This reads in part: "Dans la chambre du Prieur on conserve deux tableaux sur bois dans le genre des premiers peintres flamands, qui proviennent des chapelles [sic] des Ducs: ils ont environ 4 pieds de haut. Le premier, d'à peu près un pied de large, est un Annonciation..." Although the dimensions do not match those of the Gallery's painting, the general shape is similar and the tall, narrow format is rather unusual for a Netherlandish Annunciation. Nieuwenhuys' statement that the painting came from Dijon, coupled with the 1791 description, raises the possibility that 1937.1.39 is identical with the painting mentioned as being in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The manuscript is in the Bibliothèque Publique, Dijon, Ms. 88, fol. 53. [2] Nieuwenhuys 1843 (as per n. 1 above), 2; in 1841 the works of art were transported from Brussels to a gallery built for them in The Hague. [3] The Getty Provenance Index lists The J. Paul Getty Museum's copy of the auction catalogue as its source for the name of the agent Bruni (who is not listed in the provenance as it is published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue).


Sir Peter Paul Rubens,
Flemish, 1577 - 1640

Now attributed to:
Sir Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
Portrait of Isabella Brant, 1621

oil on canvas
overall: 153 x 120 cm (60 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.) framed: 185.4 x 151.1 cm (73 x 59 1/2 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 42

"Isabella Brant depicts the first wife of Peter Paul Rubens. Just before Van Dyck left Rubens' studio for Italy, he presented this portrait to his mentor as a gift. The setting is the Italianate garden entrance to Rubens' mansion, an Antwerp landmark designed by the owner himself as one of northern Europe's first classically styled structures. In this affectionate portrait, Van Dyck moved a statue of Minerva to an imaginary position behind Isabella's right shoulder, suggesting a link between his beloved sitter and the classical goddess of wisdom. Isabella Brant died in 1626." [1]

Provenance
Pierre Crozat [1665-1740], Paris; by inheritance to his nephews, first to Louis-François Crozat, marquis du Châtel [1691-1750], Paris, and then [on Louis-François' death without a male heir] to Louis-Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers [1700-1770]; the latter's heirs; purchased 1772, through Denis Diderot [1713-1784] as an intermediary, by Catherine II [1729-1796], empress of Russia, for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; purchased August 1930, as a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[1] gift 1937 to NGA. [1] Mellon purchase date and date deeded to Mellon Trust is according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives).


Sir Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
William of Nassau and Orange"

Now attributed to Adriaen Hanneman
Dutch, 1604 - 1671
Retitled: Portrait of Henry, Duke of Gloucester, 1648

Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 43

"After his father's defeat at the end of the English Civil War, the six year old prince (unlike his older brothers, who escaped with their mother to France) was captured and brought to London. He was lodged in the royal apartments in the White Tower of the Tower of London, under the "protection" of the Republican army. During the debates among Republican army leaders Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton about what kind of regime should succeed the now abolished rule of Charles I, it was briefly suggested that the young prince might be placed on the throne, and made to govern as the kind of limited, constitutional monarch that Parliament wanted. Part of the motivation for this came from the perception that, unlike his brothers Charles and James, he was sufficiently young to have not yet been "corrupted" by the Catholic and absolutist views of his mother and father, and might be brought up by tutors who shared the Parliamentary perspective. However, this option quickly faded away, as the Rump Parliament opted instead for the establishment of a Republican Commonwealth. Henry was moved to more comfortable surroundings and allowed to live with relative freedom under the eyes of his Parliamentary guardians.

Eventually, in 1652, Oliver Cromwell agreed to release him, and he travelled to join his mother and brothers in Paris. However, at least some of the influences that Cromwell hoped to have appeared to have been successful, as Henry had become a staunch Protestant, and quarrelled bitterly with his mother over matters of religion and politics. Their dislike for one another reached such a level that Henrietta virtually expelled him from Paris, and he went to join the Spanish armies fighting at Dunkirk. He consistently distinguished himself in battle, and gradually gained a reputation as one of Europe's foremost Protestant soldiers. It was during the course of the campaign that he met the renegade French military commander Prince Louis Condé, who was leading the Spanish forces. Their common dislike for the Catholic Church (Condé was an agnostic, and one of the leading defenders of the Huguenots), created a strong bond between them and, shortly before his death, it was suggested that Henry might marry Condé's niece.

After the conclusion of peace between France and Spain, Henry resided at one of Condé's estates, until the death of Oliver Cromwell and the gradual collapse of the Commonwealth, led to calls for the restoration of the monarchy, and he was reunited with Charles. He returned to England as part of Charles' triumphant progress through London in May 1660, and took up residence in Whitehall.

He was created Duke of Gloucester and Earl of Cambridge by Charles II, but died suddenly of smallpox not long afterwards, much to his brother's distress. Decades later, during the exclusion crisis, Henry was looked back on as a kind of 'lost leader'; as what might have been a legitimate, warlike, Protestant alternative to the equally unpalatable choices of the Dukes of York (later James II) and Monmouth (James Scott)" [3]


Paolo Veronese
Italian, (1528-1588)
The Finding of Moses, probably 1570/1575

oil on canvas,
overall: 58 x 44.5 cm (22 13/16 x 17 1/2 in.)
overall (framed): 81.1 x 68 x 7.3 cm (31 15/16 x 26 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

Not on View

The mirrored painting - almost Twin!) is here


Rembrandt van Rijn
Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife, 1655

oil on canvas
98.00 inch wide x 106.00 inch high 41 5/8 x 38 1/2 in. (106 x 98 cm)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 51

Frans Hals
Dutch, c. 1582/1583 - 1666
Portrait of a Young Man, 1646/1648

oil on canvas
Overall: 68 x 55.4 cm (26 3/4 x 21 13/16 in.)
framed: 103.2 x 91.4 x 14.6 cm
(40 5/8 x 36 x 5 3/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 46

"With an alert glance at the viewer, this portly youth rests his elbow on the back of his chair. Hals' earliest known use and possible invention of a model turned sideways in a chair dates to 1626, but he employed this lively pose often during the 1640s.
The National Gallery's Willem Coymans, dated 1645, relies on a similarly informal posture. Both works are also related in style, with the faces more firmly modeled and detailed than the broader, more suggestive brushstrokes of their costumes and accessories. Portrait of a Young Man may be slightly later because its brushwork appears even more rapidly applied. A few wavy strokes depict the lion's head finial of the chair, and an emphatic criss-cross pattern describes the collar. Just above the sitter's hand, Frans Hals signed the work with his initials doubled: FHFH. The purpose of the unique double monograms remains unexplained." [1]

Provenance
"Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford [1676-1745], Houghton Hall, Norfolk, by 1736; by inheritance to his son, Robert Walpole, 2nd earl of Orford [1700-1751], Houghton Hall; by inheritance to his son, George Walpole, 3rd earl of Orford [1730-1791], Houghton Hall; sold 1779 through Count Aleksei Semonovich Musin-Pushkin, Russian ambassador to England, to Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], St. Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; sold February 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 1 May 1937 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA." [1]


Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669
A Woman Holding a Pink, 1656
(Lady with Carnation)


Now attributed to Rembrandt Workshop
Oil on canvas
36 1/4 x 29 3/8 in. (92.1 x 74.6 cm)

Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 48


"The unidentified woman in this warm but somber portrait offers a pink (or carnation), symbolic of marriage, to her husband in Man with a Magnifying Glass. Rembrandt's style in these canvases is similar to that in The Jewish Bride (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and other works of the early to mid-1660s. In a portrait by Jan Victors dated 1651, the same woman wears contemporary attire, which however reveals the predilection for jewelry that is suggested here. The gesture and to some extent the costume and expression in the present picture recall Rembrandt's Flora of about 1654." [1]


Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669
A Polish Nobleman, 1637

oil on panel
overall: 96.8 x 66 cm (38 1/8 x 26 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection ,1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 48

" Rembrandt van Rijn began his career in his native city of Leiden, but moved to Amsterdam around 1631. He immediately established himself as the foremost artist in the city and was sought after as a portrait painter as well as for his depictions of biblical and mythological subjects.
A Polish Nobleman is not an actual portrait, but a fanciful one of a type Rembrandt favored during the decade of the 1630s. He often dressed models in unusual costumes because of their exotic associations. The bear's-skin cap, dark fur cloak, and massive gold chain and tassel have suggested to many that the sitter was Slavic, but the painting's title has no factual basis.
These paintings allowed Rembrandt to expand the limits of portraiture because he was not constrained by traditional conventions. He often used these fanciful portraits as a means of evoking aspects of human psychology. Through his dramatic accents of light and dark on the sitter's face, his bold brushwork, and dense application of paint, he created a powerful, almost sculptural presence; but by emphasizing the sitter's furrowed brow and by shading his heavy, forlorn eyes, Rembrandt suggested a deeply pensive personality." [1]


Raphael
Italian, 1483 - 1520
Saint George and the Dragon, 1506

oil on panel
Overall: 28.5 x 21.5 cm (11 1/4 x 8 7/16 in.) framed: 53.3 x 47.6 x 8.3 cm (21 x 18 3/4 x 3 1/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 20

"This panel - one of the best-known images of Saint George -was meant to be seen at close range. Its highly detailed and precise setting is reminiscent of the Netherlandish paintings then popular with Italian patrons. It appears, in fact, that Raphael may have copied some landscape motifs from Hans Memling's Saint Veronica.
Other elements of Raphael's painting were inspired by Leonardo's cartoon for the fresco of The Battle of Anghiari, a work that Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), author of Lives of the Painters, said first drew the younger artist to Florence. The rearing horse and the rider's fluttering cape can be traced through Raphael's own drawings of Leonardo's influential design. Raphael used the diagonal thrust of the saint's lance to organize and energize the entire composition with a tightly knit, dynamic naturalism.
George was patron saint of England and of the English Order of the Garter. The ribbon tied around his calf reads honi, opening of the order's slogan Honi soit qui mal y pense (disgraced be he who thinks evil of it). It was once thought that the duke of Urbino had commissioned Raphael to paint this as a gift for King Henry VII of England after the duke was inducted into the English knightly order. It now seems more likely that it was intended for the king's envoy instead. In either case, the commission signals Raphael's growing prestige." [1]

Provenance
William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke [1580-1630], Wilton House, Wiltshire, by 1627; possibly his brother, Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke [1584-1649/1650], Wilton House; given either by the 3rd Earl or the 4th Earl between 1628 and 1639 to Charles I, King of England [d. 1649];[1] (Charles I [Commonwealth] sale, Somerset House, London, 19 December 1651); purchased by Edward Bass.[2] Charles d'Escoubleau, Marquis de Sourdis [d. 1666], possibly acquired from Bass.[3] Laurent Le Tessier de Montarsy, by 1729; Pierre Crozat [1665-1740], Paris, by 1729;[4] by inheritance to his nephews, Louis-François Crozat, marquis du Châtel [1691-1750], Paris, and [on Louis-François' death without a male heir] to Louis-Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers [1700-1770];[5] his heirs; sold 1772 through Denis Diderot [1713-1784], as an intermediary, to Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; [6] purchased March 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, New York and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[7] gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] Recorded in Van der Doort, A Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First's Capital Collection of Pictures, Limnings, Statues, etc, from an Ashmolean manuscript (c. 1639), prepared for press by G. Vertue (printed by W. Bathoe), 1757: 4. [2] According to O. Miller, "The Inventories and Valuations of the King's Goods, 1649-1651," Journal of the Walpole Society 43 (1970-1972): 258. [3] According to N. Le Clerc and J. Colomsat, Cabinet des Singularitez D'Architecture, Peinture, Sculpture, et Graveure, Paris, 1699: 66-67. [4] Cited by F. R. Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, 1979: 1:394, as documented in the Recueil des Stampes...dans le Cabinet du Roi..., Volume I, 1763: 13. [5] Recorded in Catalogue des Tableaux du Cabinet de M. Crozat, Baron de Thiers, Paris, 1755: 34. [6] See A. Somof, Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux, St. Petersburg, 1899: 112-113. [7] Mellon/Mellon trust purchase date and/or date deeded to to Mellon Trust is according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in Gallery Archives).


Diego Velázquez.
Spanish, 1599 - 1660

Now attributed to Circle of Velazquez
Pope Innocent X. 1650.

Oil on canvas.

Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 34

"Pope Innocent X (Jambattista Pamfili) (1644-1655). Jambattista Pamfili was born in Rome on May 6, 1574. His parents were Camillo Pamfili and Flaminia de Bubalis. As a young man Jambattista studied jurisprudence at the Collegio Romano and graduated as bachelor of laws at the age of twenty. Soon af terwards Clement VIII appointed him consistorial advocate and auditor of the Rota. Gregory XV made him nuncio at Naples. Urban VIII sent him as datary with the cardinal legate, Francesco Barberini, to France and Spain, then appointed him titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch, and nuncio at Madrid. He was created Cardinal-Priest of Saint Eusebio in August 1626. He was a member of the congregations of the Council of Trent, the Inquisition, and Jurisdiction and Immunity. In 1644, a conclave was held at Rome for the election of a successor to Urban VIII. On 15 September Pamfili was elected, and ascended the papal throne as Innocent X. During his hold of the post the papal relations with France aggravated to such an extent that France invaded the Ecclesiastical States. On the contrary, the relations with Venice became very friendly. Innocent X aided the Venetians financially against the Turks in the struggle for Candia, while the Venetians on their part allowed Innocent to fill the episcopal vacancies in their territory, a right which they had previously claimed for themselves. Innocent X, as his predecessor Urban VIII, refused to acknowledge the new independent kingdom of Portugal and its newly elected king and did not give his approbation to the bishops nominated by the king. Thus it happened that towards the end of Innocent's pontificate there was only one bishop in the whole of Portugal. Innocent X was often irresolute and suspicious. He died in Rome on January 7, 1655." [1]


Sandro Botticelli
Italian, 1446 - 1510
The Adoration of the Magi,1478/1482

tempera and oil on panel
painted surface: 68 x 102 cm (26 3/4 x 40 3/16 in.)
overall size: 70 x 104.2 cm (27 9/16 x 41 in.) framed: 98.4 x 132.1 x 8.3 cm (38 3/4 x 52 x 3 1/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 7

"For most of the fifteenth century, the Epiphany was celebrated in Florence with a great festival. Expensively clad citizens reenacted the journey of the three kings to Bethlehem with processions through the streets. Shortly before this work was painted, however, the elaborate pageantry of the festival was curtailed. Preachers like Savonarola complained that excessive luxury obscured the day's religious significance.

Botticelli's painting seems to reflect this new concern. He places Jesus at the center of a powerful X formed by the opposing triangles of kneeling worshipers and the roof of the manger. The viewer, rather than being overwhelmed by rich detail, is instead aware of the quiet distance between him and the holy figures - and like the worshipers in the painting leans toward the infant. This yearning to close the gap between human existence and the divine was a frequent Neoplatonic theme. Botticelli may have painted this while in Rome working on the Sistine Chapel. Rearing horses in the background, for example, appear to reflect the colossal horses of the Dioscuri. The classical architecture of the manger and the crumbling ruins also have theological significance. Legend held that earthquakes destroyed pagan temples at the moment Christ was born, and in a more general sense ruins suggest that the old order of the Law of Moses is supplanted by the new era of Grace made possible by Christ's birth." [1]

Provenance
Said to have been acquired from a private collection in Rome by the engraver Peralli.[1] Dominique Vivant Denon [1747-1825], Paris;[2] sold 1808 to Czar Alexander I of Russia, [1777-1825], St. Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; purchased January 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London and New York; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York and London) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.;[4] deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[5] gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] Information given by E. Brüningk and Andrei Somov, Ermitage Impérial. Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. Les Écoles d'Italie et d'Espagne, 3rd ed., St. Petersburg, 1891: 73: "d'après le témoignage du baron Vivant Denon." No reference to an engraver named Peralli could be found in any of the generally used art dictionaries. It is know, however, that Botticelli's small panel St. Augustine in His Study (no. 1473 in the Uffizi in Florence), was acquired in 1779 through Piero Pieralli (see John Fleming, "The Hugfords in Florence," The Connoisseur 136 [1955]: 206). On Denon see the following note. [2] Actually Brüningk and Somov 1891: 73 say only that the painting was acquired "par l'entremise" ("through the intermediation") of Denon. It is quite possible, however, that Denon--who, apart from being the creator of the Musée Napoleon, also had a very large private collection of paintings, art objects, and antiquities of his own (see Jean Chatelain, Dominique Vivant Denon et le Louvre de Napoleon, Paris, 1973: 260)--was already in possession of The Adoration of the Magi when in 1808 he was entrusted with augmenting the Russian Imperial collections (see Vladimir Levinson-Lessing, Istoria kartinskoi galerei Ermitaga, 1764-1917, Leningrad, 1985: 138). [3] The list of abbreviations for Brüiningk and Somov (1891: xxxv) and Andrei Ivanovich Somov (Ermitage Impérial. Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. Les Écoles d'Italie et d'Espagne, 2nd ed., St. Petersburg, 1899 [3rd ed., 1909]: xxxiv) states that the sign "A," included in the entry relative to the NGA painting, means it was acquired by Czar Paul I (1754-1801). Yet this identification is obviously an error, since besides the fact that Paul I was notoriously un-interested in art collecting, the very date of the acquisition of The Adoration of the Magi for the Hermitage, seven years after the death of Paul I, proves that the painting entered the Imperial collection by request of his successor. [4] See note 5. According to John Walker, Self-Portrait with Donors, Washington, D.C., 1974: 116, Matthiessen announced to his associates on 9 February 1931 that he had succeeded in buying The Adoration of the Magi. Art periodicals had begun to divulge the information by October 1931 ("Hermitage Art Reported Sold to A.W. Mellon," Art News 30 [17 October 1931]: 3, 13, which quotes an article that appeared earlier that month in The New York Herald Tribune; see also "Editorial: Breaking up the Hermitage," The Burlington Magazine 63, no. 365 [August 1933]: 53, but the acquisition was officially announced only in 1935 ("Mellon Holdings are Announced by Knoedler & Co.," Art News 33, no. 21 [23 February 1935]: 3-5; "Rundschau. Amerika," Pantheon [April 1935]: 150). [5] Mellon purchase date and date deeded to Mellon Trust are according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives).


Frans Hals
Dutch, c. 1582/1583 - 1666

Portrait of a Member of the Haarlem Civic Guard
(Portrait of an Officer), 1636/1638


oil on canvas
Overall: 86 x 69 cm (33 7/8 x 27 3/16 in.) framed: 110.2 x 95.3 x 7.6 cm (43 3/8 x 37 1/2 x 3 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 46

"The steel breastplate identifies this sitter as a soldier, but his broad-brimmed hat and lace collar and cuffs reveal that he is dressed to pose for an artist, not to engage in military maneuvers. Hals painted six gigantic group portraits of Dutch civic guards, but this is his only known portrait of an individual soldier.

As the Netherlands fractured into north and south along political and religious lines in the late 1500s, the civic guards battled heroically to win the north's independence from Spain. By Hals' time, though, these numerous militias had become social fraternities. Named for a patron saint, each guard group was divided into three companies based on the colors of the Dutch flag: orange, white, and blue. His sash marks this soldier as a member of an orange company.

With great bravura, the smiling man stands before a window overlooking a distant plain or sea. Only two of Hals' other portraits of single figures include such landscape vistas." [1]

Provenance
Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], St. Petersburg, by 1774; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; sold March 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.


Rembrandt van Rijn
Now attributed to Rembrandt Workshop (Possibly Carel Fabritius)
A Girl with a Broom, probably begun 1646/1648 and completed 1651

Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 51

Provenance
Almost certainly Herman Becker [c. 1617-1678], Amsterdam.[1] Pierre Crozat [1665-1740], Paris, before 1740; by inheritance to his nephews, Louis-François Crozat, marquis du Châtel [1691-1750], Paris, and [on Louis-François' death without a male heir] to Louis-Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers [1699-1770], Paris; his heirs; purchased 1772, through Denis Diderot [1713-1784] as an intermediary, by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; sold February 1931, as a painting by Rembrandt, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 1 May 1937 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.


Jean Siméon Chardin
French, 1699 - 1779
The House of Cards, about 1736-7,

oil on canvas
overall: 82.2 x 66 cm (32 3/8 x 26 in.)
framed: 107.3 x 92.1 x 10.2 cm (42 1/4 x 36 1/4 x 4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 53

"Like its occasional pendant, Soap Bubbles, this painting points to idleness and the vanity of worldly constructions. The boy's apron suggests he is a household servant called to clear up after a gaming party. Instead, he uses the cards-folded to prevent their being marked and used again-to build the most impermanent of structures. The stability of the painting's triangular composition freezes the moment, as the boy is poised, breathless, to remove his hand and test the fragile balance of his construction. In the open drawer the jack of hearts hints at rascality.
When Chardin showed this painting or Soap Bubbles with the Young Governess he could contrast the boys' idleness with the girl's industry and underscore the fleeting nature of the objects that held their attention. The point is made especially clear by the nearly identical poses of the girl and of the young servant seen here. Both appear against warm, neutral backgrounds whose subtly blended tones create depth and set off bright accents of red and blue." [1]

Provenance
Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], by 1774, for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg;[*] purchased March 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon [1855-1937], Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 1 May 1937 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[**] gift 1937 to NGA.
[*] The painting first appeared in a Hermitage catalogue in 1774. See Serge Ernst, "Notes sur des tableaux français de l'Ermitage," Revue de l'Art 68, no. 365 (November 1935): 135-144, who says that the manuscript catalogue was drawn up by Ernst Milich between 1777 and 1785; Little Girl with a Shuttlecock is no. 407; The House of Cards is no. 408. Rosenberg, in Pierre Rosenberg, Chardin, 1699-1779, Exh. cat. (Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Cleveland, 1979: 234, under no. 72, states (in reference to the same catalogue, which he dates to 1774, following Paul Lacroix, "Musée de Palais de l'Hermitage sous le règne de Catherine II," Revue Universelle des Arts 13 [1861]: 178, no. 408) that "no. 408 'Un jeune garcon faisant des maisons de cartes' refers indisputably to the painting now in Washington."
[**] The dates of the Mellon purchase and the deed to the Mellon Trust are according to Mellon records in NGA curatorial files and David Finley's notebook (donated to NGA in 1977 and now in Gallery Archives).


Rembrandt van Rijn
Now attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn and Workshop (Probably Govaert Flinck)
A Turk, 1635
retitled "Man in Oriental Costume"

Oil on canvas
Overall: 98.5 x 74.5 cm (38 3/4 x 29 5/16 in.) framed: 130.8 x 106 x 15.9 cm (51 1/2 x 41 3/4 x 6 1/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1940

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 48

Provenance
Johan Ernst Gotzkowsky [1710-1775], Berlin, before 1756; acquired 1766 or after by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], St. Petersburg;[2] Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; sold between June 1930 and April 1931, as a painting by Rembrandt, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington; his estate; deeded 8 March 1938 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1940 to NGA.
Gotzkowsky originally bought the picture on behalf of Frederick the Great, king of Prussia (1712-1783). Due to the financial straits of Prussia during the Seven Years' War (1756-1762), the painting remained in Gotzkowsky's hands until he sold it to Catherine II of Russia in 1766 or after. The inscription on a reproductive etching of the painting (in reverse) by Georg Friedrich Schmidt notes that it was in Gotzkowsky's collection in 1756.
This note is a revision of the one published in the Gallery's 1995 systematic catalogue of its 17th century Dutch paintings, written by Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. The empress acquired over two hundred paintings from Gotzkowsky's collection in 1764, but NGA 1940.1.13 was not among them. Burton Fredericksen has kindly brought to the Gallery's attention two catalogues of the Gotzkowsky collection that include the painting (see letter of 2 January 2003 to Arthur Wheelock and e-mails of 2 April and 14 July 2003 to Molli Kuenstner, in NGA curatorial files). The first catalogue is Matthieu Oesterreich's Description de Quelques Tableaux de différens Maîtres (published 1757), in which the painting is number 33. The second, also compiled by Oesterreich, is Catalogue d'une très-belle Collection de Tableaux de différens Maîtres Italiens, Flamands, Allemands et François laquelle se trouve dans la maison de Mr. Ernest Gotzkowsky (Berlin, 1766). Fredericksen determined that the catalogue includes paintings that had not been sold, which is confirmed by the fact that there is only a single Rembrandt painting included, number 146, the NGA painting, whereas Catherine II acquired more than a dozen Rembrandts from Gotzkowsky in 1764. He writes: "...in general [the paintings] do not appear to be of comparable importance to those we know had been sold. So we are undoubtedly dealing with the remnants of the collection as it appeared after the transaction of 1764." He concludes that the sale of the NGA painting must have been made at a later date, although he knows of no documentation recording it. The painting appears in a Hermitage catalogue of 1774, with a Gotzkowsky provenance, so the sale had occurred by this date.


Sir Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
Portrait of a Flemish Lady, probably 1618

oil on canvas
overall: 123 x 90 cm (48 7/16 x 35 7/16 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1940

Not on View!

"Portrait of a Flemish Lady follows a traditional format for the sitter's direct gaze, erect posture, and opposed hand positions. The portrait is enlivened, however, by Van Dyck's deft highlights on the jewelry, gold embroidey, lace cuffs, and millstone collar. In 1618 Van Dyck registered as a master in the Antwerp Painters' Guild. The nineteen-year-old prodigy was then entitled to accept his own commissions, possibly accounting for a sudden burst of activity noticeable in the late 1610s." [1]

Provenance
Pierre Crozat [1665-1740], Paris; by inheritance to his nephews, first to Louis-François Crozat, marquis du Châtel [1691-1750], Paris, and then [on Louis-François' death without a male heir] to Louis-Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers [1699-1770], Paris; the latter's heirs; purchased 1772, through Denis Diderot [1713-1784] as an intermediary, by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; purchased between June 1930 and April 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; his estate; deeded 8 March 1938 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[*] gift 1940 to NGA. [*] The dates of the Mellon purchase and deed to Trust are according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook, donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives.


Pietro Perugino
Italian, 1450 - 1523
The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, Saint Jerome, and Saint Mary Magdalene [left panel], 1482/1485

oil on panel transferred to canvas
left panel: 95 x 30.1 cm (37 3/8 x 11 7/8 in.)
framed: 134 x 165.1 x 7.3 cm (52 3/4 x 65 x 2 7/8 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 20

"Once considered to be an early work by Raphael, this altarpiece is recognized today as one of Perugino's most successful. Its cool, silvery atmosphere and poetic mood are typical of what a contemporary described as Perugino's "aria angelica et molto dolce" (angelic and sweet air). The work's quiet piety differs from the more intense emotion found in many crucifixion scenes. Elevating Christ's body high over the landscape seems to raise him literally above human suffering. The saints who witness the event appear more grave than grief-torn.
Some of the figures apparently were painted from the same model in Perugino's large and busy workshop. Compare, for example, John the Evangelist, at the foot of the cross, with Mary Magdalene in the right-hand wing. Except for a slight variation in their hands, their poses are identical. Even their expressions are the same.
When this altarpiece was completed, the artist was reaching the height of his popularity and receiving prestigious commissions. Later, however, Perugino found his style to be outmoded and his work criticized for its over-reliance on stock figures and formulaic compositions." [1]

Provenance
Probably commissioned by Bartolommeo Bartoli (or di Bartolo), Bishop of Cagli [d. 1497];by gift from him to the church of San Domenico, San Gimignano; seized 1796/1797 by Napoleonic troops; acquired 1796/1797 by Dr. Buzzi, and sold soon thereafter to Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Galitzin [1772-1821], Russian ambassador to Rome; by inheritance to his son, Theodore Alexandrovich Galitzin [d. 1848], Palazzo Galitzin, Rome; by inheritance to his nephew, Sergei Mikhailovich Galitzin [1843-1915], Moscow; displayed from 1865 at the Museum of Western European Painting of Prince S.M. Galitzin, Moscow; purchased 1886 with the Galitzin collection by the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; purchased April 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London and New York; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York and London) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; [*] gift 1937 to NGA.
[*}Mellon purchase date and date deeded to Mellon Trust are according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives).


Raphael
Italian, 1483 - 1520
The Alba Madonna, 1510

oil on panel transferred to canvas
Overall (diameter): 94.5 cm (37 3/16 in.) framed: 139.7 x 135.9 x 14 cm (55 x 53 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

On View: West Main Floor Gallery 20

"After only four years in Florence, Raphael moved to Rome in 1508, probably to seek more monumental commissions under the papal reign of Julius II. The major work in America from Raphael's Roman period is The Alba Madonna. In this "Madonna of Humility"- where, instead of on a heavenly throne or a sumptuous cushion, the Virgin is seated directly on the ground - the artist grouped the figures in a broad low pyramid, aligning them within a circle in such a way that they not only conform to their space, but dominate it as well. The tondo, or round painting or sculpture, is a predominantly Florentine format, and the influence of the Florentine masters Michelangelo and Leonardo is also apparent in the work.
Although retrospective in composition, The Alba Madonna is Roman in style and feeling. It has a delicacy of color and mood, with figures draped in rose pink, pale blue, and green, set in an idealized, classical landscape. The Madonna is dressed in an antique costume of turban, sandals, and flowing robes.
The serene, bucolic atmosphere of Raphael's tondo belies its emotional meaning. The Christ Child's gesture of accepting the cross from the Baptist is the focus of attention of all three figures, as if they know of Christ's future sacrifice for mankind." [1]

Provenance
Possibly Paolo Giovio, appointed to the Bishopric of Nocera by Clement VII in 1528; possibly from him to Chiesa di Monte Oliveto, Nocera de'Pagani; sold 1686 to Gasparo de Haro y Guzman, Conde-Duque de Olivares, Marqués del Carpio and Viceroy of Naples [d. 1687]; by inheritance to his daughter, Catalina Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, later Duquesa de Alba; by inheritance to the Duques de Alba; by inheritance to María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Alvarez de Toledo, Duquesa de Alba [d. 1802], Sanlúcar, near Seville; sold by her heirs to Count Edmund de Bourke, Danish Ambassador to Spain; sold 1820 to William G. Coesvelt, London; sold 1836 to (M. Labensky) for Czar Nicholas I of Russia [1796-1855], St. Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; purchased April 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.


Titian
Italian, c. 1490 - 1576
Venus with a Mirror, 1555

oil on canvas
overall: 124.5 x 105.5 cm (49 x 41 9/16 in.)
overall (framed): 157.5 x 139.1 x 10.8 cm (62 x 54 3/4 x 4 1/4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937

Not on View!

"Perhaps one of the artist's favorite works, this canvas remained in Titian's studio until his death, and it inspired numerous copies and variations. Due to the painting's superior quality, this is the only version that is universally recognized to be entirely the product of Titian's hand alone without contributions from other painters working in his studio.
Venus with a Mirror is a visual feast of rich textures and sumptuous colors. Venus gazes at her reflection in a mirror held aloft by Cupid, while a second putto reaches up to crown her with a wreath of flowers. Raising her left hand to her breast, she draws her fur-lined robe across her lap with her right hand. The deep crimson color of the velvet garment beautifully complements the warm tone of her creamy flesh. The metallic embroidery and gleaming jewels provide textural contrasts to the softness of her fabrics, skin, and hair.
The pose of Titian's goddess recalls that of the classical Venus Pudica. Titian may have seen this work of ancient statuary in Rome when he wrote that he was "learning from the marvelous ancient stones." More than depicting a mythological subject, Titian's painting celebrates the ideal beauty of the female form." [1]

Provenance
The artist [c. 1490-1576], Venice; by inheritance to his son, Pomponio Vecellio, Venice; sold 1581 with contents of Titian's house to Cristoforo Barbarigo, Venice; by inheritance to his son, Andrea Barbarigo; by inheritance in the Barbarigo family, Venice; sold c. 1850 to Czar Nicholas I of Russia [d. 1855], St. Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; purchased April 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[*] gift 1937 to NGA.
[*] Mellon/Mellon Trust purchase date and/or date deeded to Mellon Trust is according to Mellon collection files in NGA curatorial records and David Finley's notebook (donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives).


References

1. The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC
2. The State Hermitage Museum
3. The Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lost Masterpieses

The National Gallery of Art

Andrew W. Mellon

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Boris Romanov,   December 23, 2009
Last Modified: March 10,2011

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