Jacopo Negretti, called Palma il Giovane
Venice circa 1548-Venice 1628
Christ among the Doctors and Joseph and Mary

PROVENANCE: John Barnard (died 1784) (Frits Lugt 1419, his mount with attribution and inscriptions Palma Giovanni, N.3 and J:B-N:o674./ iby 10 3/4 ; London, Paul Opp; London, Christies, 2 July 1991, lot 252; Professor Raymond E. Pahl, FBA, (1935-2011

Dated 1621/ genarii in pen and black ink [lower left corner], black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash heightened with white, on light brown paper, watermark encircled anchor

278 x 276 mm. (10 7/8 x 10 3/4 in.)


Jacopo Palma, the great-nephew of Palma Vecchio, was born in 1548 and not in 1544 as previously thought. According to Carlo Ridolfi Palma was set to drawing by his father Antonio Palma (circa 1515-before 1585). As a young man Palma went to work for the Duke of Urbino but returned to Venice circa 1570, when he found a position in the studio of the elderly Titian. By 1578 his reputation was such that he was invited to share, along with Tintoretto and Veronese, the painting of the three major fields of the ceiling of the burned Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Palazzo Ducale. According to Roger Rearick from Titian he learned how to use black and white chalk; from Tintoretto a ductile and expressive black chalk line and from Veronese the lightning-fast use of pen and tensile line.

The present drawing was drawn seven years before his death and is a drawing by Palma as a mature artist. Palma dated many of his drawings, possibly as a matter of pride, to show that he could still draw well as an elderly artist-this was something that many artists were unable to do.

Rinaldi mentions one painting of the same subject, dated some 40 years earlier to our drawing, in the Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa. It is interesting to note that the square format is retained in our drawing, and that the dias on which Christs sits has been lowered.1

According to Frits Lugt the collection of drawings from John Barnard: Les feuilles provenant de sa collection sont toujours du meilleur choix, tant comme qualit que conservation. This was not the only famous collection our drawing belonged to, more recently the drawing was in the collection of Paul Opp, whose collection of English drawings were recently purchased by Tate Britain.

1.Exhibition catalogue, The Katalan Collection of Italian Drawings, 14 April 1995-16 June 1996, under entry 19, p.50.

2.Stefania Mason Rinaldi, Palma il Giovane, LOpera completa, Milan, 1984, p.74, number 13, figure 42, page 203.

This is catalogue Number 16, in the on-line e-catalogue of 'Drawings, Prints and Paintings from the Collection of Professor Raymond E. Pahl, FBA (1935-2011)', see here for the catalogue.