Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Displaying the loose, vibrant brushwork characteristic of late sixteenth-century Venetian painting, this is one of a series of allegorical figures of the Virtues by Domenico Tintoretto. To personify Fidelity, the painting shows a woman accompanied by two dogs. A warm sunset sky is aligned with her gaze, above an illuminated forest canopy indicated by a few cursory marks.

The painting is unfinished. The dark brown ground, or imprimatura, is visible throughout, as are the figure’s legs, surrounded by an inchoate swirl of fabric and outlined in brisk, lively contours. It is possible that the artist intended to cover this area later, or that the picture was deliberately left unfinished. Such unfinished works were often prized for what they reveal about the physical process of painting. The celebrated nineteenth-century critic John Ruskin, who owned this work, described it as “a mere sketch . . . but a grand thing.”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1942.165
People
Domenico Tintoretto, Italian (Venice, Italy 1560 - 1635 Venice, Italy)
Title
Personification of Fidelity
Other Titles
Alternate Title: An Allegory of Fidelity
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1595-1600
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Veneto, Venice
Culture
Italian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/230283
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
109.9 x 104.1 cm (43 1/4 x 41 in.)
framed: 131.1 x 127.3 x 10.2 cm (51 5/8 x 50 1/8 x 4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • label: verso, on frame, rectangle: FOGG / Art Museum / LOAN [printed] / 291.1939 [handwritten, black ink]
  • label: verso, on frame, oval: Fogg / Art Museum [printed] / 498.28 [handwritten black ink]
  • label: verso, on frame, rectangular, black ballpoint pen: TINTORETTO / 16th
  • label: verso, serrated edges, printed text: 28971 / NAME
  • label: verso, serrated edges, printed text: 20184 / NAME
  • inscription: verso, on frame, black crayon: II
  • label: verso, on frame, : Fogg / Art Museum / LOAN [printed] / 196.1938 [handwritten, black ink]
Provenance
Friedrich Nerly, Venice, sold; to John Ruskin, April 1852 (as Jacobo Tintoretto), bequest; to Arthur Severn, sold; to R. Langton Douglas, circa 1915, sold; to Samuel Sachs, 1915, by descent; to Mrs. Samuel Sachs, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1942.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Samuel Sachs in memory of her husband, Samuel Sachs
Accession Year
1942
Object Number
1942.165
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., Jacopo Robusi called Tintoretto, J. B. Stoughton Holborn (London, 1912), p. 107 as Diana

"Early Christian, Byzantine, Mediaeval and Renaissance Art", American Journal of Archaeology (July - September 1917), vol. 21, pp. 353-363, p. 358

"Renaissance Art: General and Miscellaneous", American Journal of Archaeology (April - June 1917), vol. 21, pp. 228-237, p. 229

"Early Christian, Byzantine, Mediaeval and Renaissance Art: General and Miscellaneous", American Journal of Archaeology (January - March 1918), vol. 22, pp. 83-98, p. 97

Collection of Mediaeval and Renaissance Paintings, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919), pp. 230-232, no. 48, repr.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Loan Exhibition of the Arts of the Italian Renaissance, exh. cat. (New York, 1923), p. 14, no. 45, repr.

Adolfo Venturi, Storia dell' Arte Italiana: La Pittura del Cinquecento, brochure, Ulrico Hoepli (Milan, 1929), p. 615

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: a list of the principal artists and their works, with an index of places, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1932), p. 558

Bernard Berenson, Pitture Italiane del Rinascimento: Catalogo dei Principali Artisti e delle Loro Opere con un Indice dei Luoghi, Ulrico Hoepli (Milan, 1936), p. 480

Style and Technique: Their Interrelation in Western European Painting, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1936), no. 25, p. 33, pl. XI

Durlacher Brothers, A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Jacopo Robusti, il Tintoretto, 1519-1594, exh. cat. (New York, 1939), no. 4

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance; A List of the Principal Artists and their Works, with an Index of Places, Venetian School, Phaidon Press (London, 1957), p. 171

Arthur Pope, Titian's Rape of Europa: A Study of the Composition and the Mode of Representation in this and Related Paintings, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1960), pp. 36-37, repr. p. 37 as fig. 14

Agnes Mongan, Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965]: given and bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1965), p. 10, cat. no. 90, repr.

Mary Lutyens, ed., Young Mrs. Ruskin in Venice: Unpublished Letters of Mrs. John Ruskin written from Venice between 1849-1852, The Vanguard Press, Inc. (New York, 1965), pp. 293-294

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, 1967)

Carlo Bernari, L'opera completa del Tintoretto, Rizzoli Editore (Milan, 1970), p. 113, no. 196, repr.

Maurice Grosser, Painter's Progress, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. (New York, 1971), p. 110, 112, repr. p. 112

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 199 as "Allegory of Faithfulness"

Jack Kramer, Human Anatomy & Figure Drawing: The Integration of Structure and Form, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. (New York, 1972), pp. 18-19, 29, 115, repr. p.18, 19, 29, 115

Nicholas Penny, "John Ruskin and Tintoretto", Apollo (April 1974), vol. 99, p. 272, repr. as fig. 9

"A Gentleman from New England", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 356-361, p. 360

Sydney J. Freedberg, "Lorenzo Lotto to Nicolas Poussin", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 389-397, p. 390, repr. p. 389 as fig. 2

Robert Hewison, Ruskin and Venice, exh. cat., Thames & Hudson and Speed Art Museum (London, 1978), no. 55, p. 77, repr.

Gail S. Weinberg, Drawings of John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1979), no. 6

Rodolfo Pallucchini and Paola Rossi, Tintoretto: Le opere sacre e profane, Alfieri and Gruppo Editoriale Electa (Venice / Milan, Italy, 1982), p. 241, no. A 17

Robert Hewison, Ruskin a Venezia/Ruskin in Venice, The British Centre, Venice (Venice, 1983), fig. 48

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 177, p. 156, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)

Old Master Paintings Part II, auct. cat. (London, July 6, 2000), p. 70, under lot 167

Robert Hewison, Ruskin, Turner, and the Pre-Raphaelites, exh. cat., Tate Gallery Publishing Limited (London, England, 2000), p. 144, under no. 126

Chikashi Kitazaki and Mina Oya, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, 2002), p. 14, repr. as fig. 5

Old Master Paintings Part II, auct. cat. (London, July 8, 2004), p. 222, under lot 305

Important Old Master Paintings, auct. cat. (New York, January 25, 2007), p. 162, under lot 60, footnote 6

Gedi Sibony, Marjorie B. Cohn, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer, In the Still Epiphany, exh. cat., Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO, 2012), repr. p. 47 [on display at Pulitzer Foundation]

John Marciari, Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice, exh. cat., The Morgan Library & Museum (New York, 2018), cat. no. 57, pp. 154, 156, fig. 123

Exhibition History

Loan Exhibition of the Arts of the Italian Renaissance, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 05/08/1923 - 01/01/1923

Style and Technique: Their Interrelation in Western European Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1936 - 12/31/1936

A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Jacopo Robusti, il Tintoretto, 1519-1594, Durlacher Brothers, 02/20/1939 - 03/18/1939

Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965] Given and Bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/15/1965 - 01/15/1966; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 12/19/1966 - 02/26/1967

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

Drawings of John Ruskin, 1819 - 1900, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/19/1979 - 03/04/1979

Ideal [Dis-] Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 10/24/2008 - 10/03/2009

32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 07/18/2018

Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 10/12/2018 - 01/06/2019

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu