List of Artworks

Research Notes: Part 1, no. 3, Folio 1 verso

Possibly Identified
Workshop of Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio, Adoration of the Shepherds (ca. 1554)
Fig. I, 3, a
Workshop of Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio (Italian, ca. 1510–92)
Title: Adoration of the Shepherds, Adorazione dei pastori
Date: ca. 1554
Current location: Bassano del Grappa, Italy, private collection
Image Source:
Alessandro Ballarin, Jacopo Bassano, vol. 2, pt. 2 (Cittadella: Bertoncello, 1996), pl. 621

As noted by Jorge Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas, aside from the measurements the description provided by the inventory of 1680 matches perfectly with a painting currently in the Galleria Borghese in Rome (fig. I, 3, b).1

Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio, Adoration of the Shepherds (1553-54) Figure I, 3, b
Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio (Italian, ca. 1510–92)
Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on canvas
76 x 94 cm (30 x 37 in.)
Rome, Galleria Borghese
Bassano, Jacopo, and Pietro Zampetti. 1964.
Jacopo Bassano. Milano: Fratelli Fabbri.

That painting already belonged to the Borghese family at the time Mellini wrote his poem, a circumstance that can be verified through the Borghese family’s documentation. Thus it is impossible that the Borghese version was in the Mellini collection when Pietro composed his verse inventory. As Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas suggests, it is more likely that the Mellini family could have owned one of the several versions made of this Old Testament theme (fig. I, 3, a; fig. I, 3, c). It is interesting to note that although its iconography differs from that indicated in the two texts, the version at the Galleria nazionale d’arte antica in Rome, of which there are also copies, vividly conveys the emotional atmosphere as described by Mellini in his poem, including the proximity of the two animals to the baby (“Frà i due animal che riscaldarlo han cura” [“Between the two animals who take care to keep him warm”]) or the attitude of the shepherds (“E de Pastori humil l’alme devote / Gli porgono in tributo oro di fede” [“While humble shepherds with devoted hearts / Make him an offering of the gold of faith”]) (fig. I, 3, c).

Attrib. to Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio, Adoration of the Shepherds (1562-68) Figure I, 3, c
Attributed to Jacopo Bassano, il vecchio (Italian, ca. 1510–92)
Adoration of the Shepherds / Adorazione dei pastori
ca. 1562–68
Oil on canvas
105 x 157 cm (41 3/8 x 61 7/8 in.)
Rome, Galleria nazionale d’arte antica, inv. no. 193, F.N. 649
Galleria Borghese



Ballarin, Alessandro. Jacopo Bassano. 5 vols. Edited by Vittoria Romani. Cittadella (Padua): Bertoncello, 1995–96.

Brown, Beverly Louise, and Paola Marini, eds. Jacopo Bassano c. 1510–1592. Exh. cat. Fort Worth: Kimbell Art Museum, 1993.

Ortiz-Iribas, Jorge Fernández-Santos. “The Inventory of Pietro Mellini’s Collection at the Palazzo del Rosario in 1680.” Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1265 (August 2008): 512–20.