List of Artworks

The works Mellini described in his poem are presented here in a table. Compare the descriptions of the works in Mellini's poem with their description in an earlier, conventional inventory from 1680 by clicking to open the “Compare to 1680 Inventory” window.

The images shown here are intended to give the users of this digital publication an idea of the kinds of pictorial works that were in the collection of the Mellini family during the late seventeenth century. They are an indication of taste, fashion, and social status as reflected in the reception rooms of the family’s palazzo. Read about the research team’s work to identify the images presented here.

Identified: There is a high probability that the work named here was in the Mellini collection in 1681.
Possibly Identified: The work was possibly in the Mellini collection in 1681.
Related: The work was not in the Mellini collection but is somehow related to the work described in the inventories (i.e., it is a copy, an alternate version, or a preliminary drawing).
Example: The work was not in the Mellini collection but is representative of a work described in the inventories (i.e., in theme and/or visual composition).
No artwork identified: Most of the works described by Mellini in his poem have not been identified.
Item No. Folio Subjects Artist Identification Status
Part 1, no. 2 1 verso Religion: New Testament
> The prodigal son
Bassano, Jacopo, il vecchio
Francesco Bassano II, Return of the Prodigal Son (ca. 1577)
  • The Return of the Prodigal Son, ca. 1577, oil on canvas
Comparison to 1680 inventory
1681 Rhyming verse inventory 1680 Conventional inventory
Item No. Part 1, no. 2
Del Prodigo Figliol l’aspre vicende
Di Giacomo Bassan scorgonsi all’hora
Che scalzo e humile al genitor si rende
Son piccole figure, e in esse ancora
Mostra che l’arte sua vince Natura
Perchè questa in lei trionfi [in quella] ogn’hora

Figlio prodigo ritornandosene prostrato in ginochi è abbracciato dal P[ad]re, con molte altre figurine d'homini, e donne che stanno auanti un Casamento, e una Scala, dal quale si corge un poco di paese

Physical description of artwork

Figure piccole in tela di pi 4½ d’alta, e 3½ di larga

Stà in tela stesa sopra una tauola di p[alm]i quattro, e m[ez]zo d'altezza, e trè, e trè quarti di larghezza. Orig[ina]le di Giacomo Bassano il Vechio in cornice dorata intagliata all'antica

Location of artwork

Nella facciata in faccia alla porta nell'entrare nella stanza


The parable of the prodigal son

Comments by authors

The description provided by the inventory of 1680 matches quite well with this painting; the measurements also coincide. The presence of the carved golden frame, as mentioned in the inventory of 1680, is noteworthy. Federico Zeri attributed this painting to Leandro Bassano instead of Jacopo. The collaboration between Jacopo and Leandro on paintings of this type has been extensively documented and also discussed in several scholarly studies. —Nuria Rodríguez Ortega

The inventory of 1680 says “in tela stessa sopra una tauola” (on canvas stretched over wood panel). In the inventory of 1680, the width of this painting is given as three and three quarters palms. Pietro Mellini may have mistakenly written three and a half as he was copying the measurements from the earlier document. One can surmise that he was describing the paintings from memory and copying the details about measurements and media from the 1680 inventory. —Nuria Rodríguez Ortega