Sarah Ferrari and Martin Olin, Italian Paintings in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm: Market, Musealization, Materiality

The aim of the Italian paintings project is to present extended object biographies of circa 60 paintings, consisting of descriptive and reasoning texts in English, as well as high resolution images. The project has received generous funding from the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet).

Among the 60 paintings under investigation there are works attributed to artists from the Florentine, Roman and Neapolitan schools of the 17th and 18th century (Francesco Albani, Bernardo Cavallino, Carlo Dolci, Lorenzo Lippi), from the Venetian and North Italian schools of the 16th, 17th and 18th century (Bassanos, Bernardo Bellotto, Gasparo Diziani, Dosso Dossi, Orlando Flacco, Andrea Locatelli, Lorenzo Lotto, Alessandro Magnasco, Michele Marieschi, Sebastiano Mazzoni, Giuseppe Nogari, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Andrea Schiavone, Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, Titian, Paolo Veronese), as well as small but significant groups of works from the 14th century (Masolino, Lorenzo Monaco) and from the Caravaggesque school (Artemisia Gentileschi and Antiveduto Gramatica).

Bernardo Cavallino  Judith with the Head of Holofernes,  Oil on canvas,  NM 80  Leandro Bassano  St Anne and the Infant St Mary,  Oil on canvas,  NM 132

Research carried out within this project will focus on three main questions: market, musealization and materiality. Our aim is to understand how processes of various kinds – historical, natural, economic – have influenced the meaning we ascribe the works today. For each painting, we will provide an interpretation of subject and style, including a critical discussion on the attribution and iconography. We will give access to conservation documentation and technical reports, based on the latest results of the technical investigations conducted with the collaboration of CATS and Riksantikvarieämbetet (2019-2020). We will also provide a detailed and contextualized account of the provenance, by mapping the movements of each painting from one collection to the other, and within the networks of art dealers and art sales across Europe. This will give us the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the Swedish Royal Collections, while at the same also highlighting new aspects of the acquisitions carried out by the Nationalmuseum in the first half of the 20th century and later.

Giambattista Tiepolo  The Continence of Scipio,  Oil on canvas,  NM 191   Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Beret,  Oil on Canvas  NM 2163

The project will improve the knowledge and accessibility of the Nationalmuseum’s collections of Italian art, adding new information to the first volume published in 2015, “Italian Paintings vol. 1: Three Centuries of Collecting” (ed. Sabrina Norlander Eliasson). Furthermore, by publishing the results of our research online, we hope to reach larger and more diverse audiences, from art history novices to experts.

Research Department

Nationalmuseum, Stockholm


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.