JACOPO DA PONTE, CALLED JACOPO BASSANO (Bassano del Grappa circa 1510-1592)
The Journey (Jacob's Rest), circa 1560-1570
Oil on canvas
53-1/2 x 74-1/2 inches
George Fulke Lyttelton, 2nd Lord Lyttelton, Baron of Frankley (1763-1828), Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, England, by 1811;
Acquired by descent to his half-brother, William Henry Lyttelton, 3rd Lord Lyttelton, Baron of Frankley (1782-1837), Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, England;
Acquired by descent to his son, George William Lyttelton, 4th Lord Lyttelton, Baron of Frankley (1817-1876), Hagley Hall, Worcstershire, England;
Acquired by descent to his son, Charles George Lyttelton, 5th Lord Lyttelton, Baron of Frankley and 8th Viscount Cobham (1842-1922), Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, England;
Acquired by descent to his son, John Cavendish Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham (1909-1977), Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, England;
Sale, Sotheby's London, 11 July 1973, no. 26;
Purchased by Villiers Gallery, London;
Sale, Christie's London, 10 April 1981, no. 61;
Richard L. Feigen, New York, by 1995;
Sale, Sotheby's, New York, 26 January 2006, no. 70;
Birmingham Art Gallery, Birmingham, England, 1926, no. 110 (132);
City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England, "Jubilee Commemorative Exhibition of Art Treasures of the Midlands", 1934;
Oscar & Peter Johnson Ltd., Lowndes Lodge Gallery, London. "Quintessence of Civilization" (in aid of the Venice in Peril Fund), 20 October-4 November 1971, no. 2;
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 1995-August 1997, on loan;
Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, "Italian Renaissance Masters", 25 January-20 May 2001, no. 4.
A Catalogue of the Pictures, Statues, and Busts in the Best Apartments at Hagley Hall (Stourbridge, 1811), as Jacopo Bassano;
A Catalogue of the Pictures at Hagley Hall (London, 1900), p. 39, no. 132, as G. Bassano;
Waterhouse, Ellis, Italian Art and Britain, exh. cat., 2nd ed. (London, Royal Academy of arts, 1960), p. 19, under no. 11;
Shearman, John,The Early Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen (Cambridge, 1983), p. 26, under no. 19;
Rearick, W.R., "The Life and Works of Jacopo dal Ponte, called Bassano, c. 1510-1592", pp. 45-172 in Jacopo Bassano, circa 1510-1592, exh. cat. (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1992), p. 340, under no. 33;
Ballarin, Alessandro, Jacopo Bassano Tavole, vol. 2 (Cittadella, Padua, 1996), p. xix, no. 764, illus. No. 764.
In the development of European landscape and genre art so dear to the heart of collectors throughout Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the influence of Jacopo Bassano excelled that of any of his contemporaries. The popularity of his work manifests itself in the inventories of the earliest art collections in countries like Spain, France, and Italy. Bassano's pastoral subject matter and fondness for the natural beauty of the animal kingdom endeared him especially to northern tastes.
Nothing better exemplifies his talents for pastoral evocations than his depiction of the popular subject from the life of Jacob as told in Genesis 31:17-18: "Jacob put his children and his wives on the camels, and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan." The Hagley Hall version and its variant in Hampton Court rank among his finest surviving treatments of this subject.
While the popularity of Venetian artists like Bassano led to the creation of workshops made up of talented assistants and students entrusted with various responsibilities there is no basis to challenge Jacopo's authorship of the Hagley Hall work. Its alla prima execution is masterful throughout the canvas, especially in passages of lesser importance where a studio assistant, like his son Francesco, might have intervened. Moreover, pentimenti appear in many places to refine or adjust a contour or explore a variation, and there are significant differences in costumes and other details between the Hagley Hall and Hampton Court versions. The argument of precedence can be advanced as strongly for the Hagley Hall version as for the work in the Royal collection. The Hagley Hall painting bears a traditional attribution to Jacopo Bassano and there is no evidence of a stylistic or documentary nature to question his authorship. The beautifully preserved painting from the 1560s qualifies as one of the finest pastoral landscape paintings still in private hands.