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Workshop of Bassano
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Workshop of Bassano

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Second half of the XVI century. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The Seasons are the second of the three types of four canvas sets produced by the Bassano bottega in the 1570s. Like the Noah and Elements series, they were extraordinarily successful and many replicas were made. Between 1580 and 1600 the inventories of the Venetian court of Giudici di petizioni cite five series of the Seasons and a further 35 of paesi e animali, and, although there is no mention of authorship, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that most of them must have been produced by the various workshops of the Bassano family. The series of the Seasons, as Jacopo conceived it around 1574-75, was a completely novel feature on the Italian art scene as it did not rely on allegory. It was also the first time the subject was not painted for a specific site. The fact that Jacopo depicted the seasons by means of landscapes populated by people engaged in the characteristic tasks of each season (such as hunting and picking flowers in Spring, harvesting wheat and shearing sheep in Summer, sowing and harvesting in Autumn, and pruning and gathering around fire in snowy Winter) proved he was familiar with Northern European precedents, probably the engraving done by Hieronymous Cock in 1570 after designs by Peter Bruegel the Elder and Hans Bol. In 1648, Ridolfi gave a detailed description of four canvases by Jacopo depicting the Seasons at the home of the Venetian painter and dealer Nicole Renieri. Ridolfi added that Jacopo sent the first of these series to Venice, where it was exhibited in a corner of San Moise, and many more followed it. The finest series, attributed to Jacopo and Francesco, is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna: Spring (inv. 4.302) and Summer (inv. 4.303) are exactly the same size (78.5 x 110.5 cm), and Autumn (inv. 4.303) is slightly smaller (75.5 x 109 cm); Winter (inv. 2.869), with its almost entirely lost paint layer and of poorer quality; is attributed only to Francesco and probably did not belong to the original series. The landscapes depicted in the Vienna canvases include small biblical scenes: the Expulsion of Adam and Eve in Spring, the Sacrifice of Isaac in Summer; Moses Receiving the Ten Commandments in Autumn, and Christ Carrying the Cross in Winter. These scenes are absent from the series Ridolfi described at the house of Nicole Renieri and from other late series produced by the bottega, such as the Prado version.

The Prado Seasons are based on the Viennese set, from which their overall composition and several specific figures are borrowed, such as the young hunter with a red cap accompanied by two hounds in the Spring scene. Rising prominently above all these scenes in the distance is the monumental Mount Grappa, which reinforces the cyclical nature of the series and makes it easier to appreciate the changes inherent in each season. The differences lie in their smaller size and in the absence of small biblical episodes in the landscape, but also in their poorer quality. Although both sets were produced by the bottega, the Viennese version was executed by Jacopo and Francesco, whereas the Madrid series was entrusted to less talented members of the workshop. Although the set is quite dramatic, there are obvious deficiencies in the treatment of the anatomy of certain figures, particularly the women who are bending over (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2001, pp. 234-235).

Technical data

Related artworks

Oil on canvas, Second half of the XVI century
Oil on canvas, Second half of the XVI century
Inventory number
Workshop of Bassano
Second half of the XVI century
Height: 68 cm; Width: 86 cm
Royal Collection (Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 65).

Bibliography +

Berenson, Bernard, Italian pictures of the renaissance. List of the principal artists and their works with and index of places :Venetian school, I, Phaidon, London, 1957, pp. 18.

Bottineau, Y., L'Alcazar de Madrid et L'inventarie de 1686. Aspects de las cour d'Espagne au XVIIe siècle, Bulletin Hispanique, LX, 1958, pp. 293.

Arslan, Edoardo, I Bassano, I, Casa Editrice Ceschina, Milano, 1960, pp. 263.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 549.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Fernández Bayton, Gloria, Inventarios reales. Testamentaría del Rey Carlos II, 1701-1703, I, Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 42.

Luna, J. J., Las pinturas del cuarto de la Reina Maria Luisa Gabriela de Saboya en el Alcazar de Madrid. 1703, Instituto de Estudios Madrileños, Madrid, 1978, pp. 192.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Gredos, Madrid, 1979, pp. 228.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 33.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., New York-London, 1986, pp. il. 670.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 256.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 304.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 304, n. 154.

Ballarin, A., Il terzo ciclo delle stagioni. Jacopo Bassano. Scritti 1964-1995. vol. I, t.I y t.II, Bertoncello Artigrafiche, Padova, 1995, pp. 137-144; 403.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 118-121, n. 18, 19, 20.

Arte y poesía: el amor y la guerra en el renacimiento, Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2002, pp. 447.

Aterido Fernández, A.; Martínez Cuesta, J.; Pérez Preciado, J. J., Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio: inventarios reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia, Madrid, 2004, pp. 105, 113.

Ruíz Manero, J. M., Los Bassano en España, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2011, pp. 58-61, n.1JF, il. V.

Ruíz Manero, J. M., Los Bassano en España, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2011, pp. 58-61; 481, il. V.

Corsato, Carlo, La devozione di Simone Laudo e la pintura di genere in Jacopo Bassano, Venezia cinquecento, anno XXIII gennaio-giugno n.45, 2013, pp. 139-172 [154-167 fg.10 fg.18].

Martínez Leiva, Gloria; Rodríguez Rebollo, Ángel, El inventario del Alcázar de Madrid de 1666. Felipe IV y su colección artística, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, 2015, pp. 242 nº 123.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 918.
Bassano (Jacobo) / 918. Los trabajos del campo. / Entre las diversas figuras se distingue un hombre que lleva una liebre atada a un palo. Tambien se ven varios animales. / Alto 2 pies, 5 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 1 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 918.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 33.

Inv. Felipe V, Palacio Nuevo, 1747. Núm. 65.
PINTURAS EXISTENTES ANTIGUAS [...] En la primera Sala de este Oficio [...] {10284} 65 / Otra pintura original de Bassan vno de los quatro tiempos de mas de vara de largo y algo menos de vara de cayda = en 2000

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

Pintura y poesía: del amor y la guerra en el Renacimiento
01.11.2002 - 31.01.2003

Update date: 13-09-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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