The J. Paul Getty Museum

Hunting on the Lagoon (recto); Letter Rack (verso)

Object Details


Hunting on the Lagoon (recto); Letter Rack (verso)


Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, about 1460 - 1526)


Italian (Venetian)


Venice, Veneto, Italy (Place Created)


about 1490–1495


Oil on panel

Object Number:



75.6 × 63.8 cm (29 3/4 × 25 1/8 in.)

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Object Description

The hinges and latch on this two-sided panel suggest that it was used as a decorative window shutter or a door to a cabinet. The front depicts a scene of Venetian bird hunters, and the reverse shows a trompe-l'oeil (deceive the eye). Contemporary viewers looking at the front of the panel had the illusion of looking into the lagoon, as is evident in this reconstruction of how the panel once appeared.

Groups of three rowers and archers stand in shallow-bottomed boats and hunt cormorants, glossy black water birds. The archers use clay pellets rather than arrows in order to stun the birds and not damage their plumage. A pellet, seen in mid-air, has just been fired by an archer in the boat in the lower right-hand corner and is about to strike the bird in the foreground.

The lily blossom at the bottom left of the painting is out of scale with the rest of the image. Recent examination indicates that the hunting scene served as the background for a scene of two women sitting on a balcony overlooking the lagoon, a panel that is now in the Correr Museum in Venice. That painting has an empty stem in a vase sitting on a balustrade that matches up with the blossom in the Getty Museum's painting. The identical wood grain of the two panels confirmed that they were once a single panel. The two parts were probably sawed apart before the nineteenth century.

about 1491 -

Andrea Mocenigo (Venice, Italy), commissioned from the artist, about 1491.


Possibly Francesco Algarotti, 1712 - 1764 (Venice, Italy)

by 1780 -

Heirs of Francesco Algarotti, 1712 - 1764 (Venice, Italy)
Source: Catalogues of the Algarotti collection, 1776 and 1780.

by 1839 - 1839

Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 (Paris, France; Rome, Italy), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.
Source: Fesch inventories of 1839 and 1841.

1839 - 1845

Estate of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 [sold, Fesch sale, Palais Ricci, Rome, March 17, 1845, lot 1676, to Giuseppe Baseggio.]

1845 -

Giuseppe Baseggio (Rome, Italy)

- 1880

Marchese Gianpaolo Campana di Cavelli, died 1880 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his heirs, 1880, probably directly to his great-nephew, Camillo Benucci.

- 1944

Camillo Benucci, sold to Lamberto Sebasti, 1944.


Lamberto Sebasti (Rome, Italy), sold to Andrea Busiri-Vici, 1944.

1944 - 1949

Andrea Busiri-Vici (Rome, Italy), returned to Lamberto Sebasti, 1949.

1949 - 1950

Lamberto Sebasti (Rome, Italy), legally exported to Switzerland, probably sold to a private collector, 1950.

1950 -

Private Collection (Switzerland)


Carlo Frua de Angeli, by inheritance to his children, Giuseppe Frua de Angeli, Ernesto Frua de Angeli, and Anna (Frua de Angeli) Vichey.

- 1970

Giuseppe Frua de Angeli, shares assumed by Interallianz Bank. and Ernesto Frua de Angeli (Milan, Italy), shares assumed by Interallianz Bank. and Luben Vichey, died 1995 (New York, New York) and Anna (Frua de Angeli) Vichey (New York, New York)

1970 - 1979

Interallianz Bank and Luben Vichey, died 1995 (New York, New York) and Anna (Frua de Angeli) Vichey (New York, New York) [unsold, Christie's, London, November 30, 1973, lot 135.], sold through intermediaries to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979.

Display with Due Dame (August 9 to August 29, 1999)
  • Museo Correr (Venice), August 9 to August 29, 1999
Renaissance Venice and the North: Crosscurrents in the Time of Bellini, Dürer and Titian (September 5, 1999 to January 9, 2000)
  • Palazzo Grassi (Venice), September 5, 1999 to January 9, 2000

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Palais Falconieri, Rome. Galerie de feu S. E. le Cardinal Fesch [...]: Catalogue des tableaux des écoles italiennes et espagnole [...]. March 17-18, 1845, p. 62, lot 1676.

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Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Expressing Emotions through Art Lesson 3-Everybody Works Together

In this lesson students use space to create a three-dimensional tableau that communicates the concept of working together.

Visual Arts