• Unique stories of an art collection

    Each artwork can tell us inimitable stories,
    where art and commerce converge

    The hidden protagonists of the art world

    More than one hundred art dealers contributed to MET collections[1]

    But who are the most relevant actors?

    Michael Friedsam

    1860 - 1931

    He was one of the first American art collectors. At his death, he left his possession to the city of New Yorks and bequeathed several paintings to MET and Brooklyn Museum of Art


    Jacob S. Rogers

    1824 - 1901

    He was an American businessman, who bequeathed at his death almost $8 milion to the MET. The museum still acquires art works in his name


    George Blumenthal

    1858 - 1941

    He was an art collector and the seventh president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art



    Five centuries of Italian art at MET

    The Metropolitan Museum hold 532 Italian paintings by almost three hundreds artists, ranging
    from Middle Ages to Nineteenth Century.

    But who are the most represented artists of this collection?
    Francesco Guardi, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436600?sortBy=ArtistMaker&deptids=11&when=A.D.+1600-1800&showOnly=openAccess&ft=Francesco+Guardi&offset=0&rpp=40&pos=11

    Francesco Guardi

    1712 - 1793

    He was a Venetian painter. His activity was mainly focused on landscape painting

    Venice: The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, 1732

    Tiepolo, https://www.metmuseum.org/it/art/collection/search/437790

    Giambattista Tiepolo

    1712 - 1793

    He was one of the greatest painter in 18th century Venice and wonderfully decorated with frescoes churches and villas

    Allegoria dei pianeti e dei continenti, 1752

    Giovanni di Paolo

    Giovanni di Paolo

    1398 - 1793

    He was a Senese painter and was deeply influenced by the International Gothic

    The Adoration of the Magi, 1460



    Since 1870, a cultural lighthouse for the US

    The Metropolitan Museum was founded in 1870 and immediately started collecting Italian paintings

    Most of the artworks entered the collection between the Great Depression and WWII

    Art market, donors and collectors: an evolving collection

    A crucial activity for a museum is renew its collection, which can be done in different modalities

    MET often accessions new musealia directly through the art market and donations
  • Selected artworks

  • Changing identities
    of a travelling

    About Us

    Federico Zeri and the art of connoisseurship

    The artwork
    The expertise
    The catalog

    The Metropolitan has been exhibiting since 1941 a "Portrait of a Knight of Malta", dating back to 1566

    The online catalog of the museum defines this artwork as "attributed": there is no evidence that can irrefusably link this painting to a creator. Especially in the 20th century, many solutions were proposed. These hypotheses included artists like El Greco, Jacopino del Conte, Bartolomeo Passerotti, Girolamo Macchietti and Mirabello Cavalori.


    The young Federico Zeri, who devoted his final thesis to Jacopino del Conte, rises his doubts about a possible reconstruction attribution to this painter (Margaretta Salinger, 1944). The third paragraph indeed states that:

    Inv. no. 41.100.05: The hypothesis about Jacopino del Conte is not acceptable, as it is not supported neither by comparisons with other artworks of his, nor by the date 1566. At this time Jacopino was doing totally different portraits, which are characterised by a very mechanincal and arid style. In my opinion, the painting was not created by this Roman painter, rather by an artist who also knew the pictorial tradition of Northen Italy.


    Letter from Federico Zeri to Mrs. TenEyck Gardner, October 13th, 1949; f. 1

    One of the main contribution by Zeri to the understanding of the MET Collection is the creation of four catalogs about Italian painting. The one focused on Northen Italy (1986: 51) mentions the portrait and attributes it to Bartolomeo Passerotti:

    The composition is apparently derived from a model current in Rome, very likely by Jacopino del Conte, but the brushwork reflects Venetian technique around the middle of the century, especially that of the young Jacopo Tintoretto. The treatment of highlights, the thin layer of colors, and the general tone are quite typical of Passerotti, and the date is consistent with his work at that moment.

    Federico Zeri was eventually only partly right: Jacopino del Conte is not admissible as possible creator of the portrait, yet neither is Passerotti. Recently Privitera proposed Mirabello Cavalori, who is now considered as the correct attributed painter of this portrait.

  • Credits

    "Nice to MET you" is a university project for the course "Information Visualization", held by Prof Daquino at MA "Digital Humanities and Digital Knowledge", University of Bologna.

    If not differently specified, any content available on this website and on the corresponding GitHub repository falls under the license Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)