Kirsi Eskelinen, PhD, Museum Director, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Virgin and Child with John the Baptist and St Anthony the Abbot, by Jacopo Bassano (c. 1510–92), which was painted in the early 1560s, is one of the rare Italian Renaissance paintings in Finland. It belongs to the Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation Donation in the Finnish National Gallery and is a highlight of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. My first encounter with the painting while a young university student was pivotal in my choice of professional career. Since then I have been studying different aspects of the art of this great master painter. The Sihtola painting is well known to scholars. It was included in the important exhibitions at the Museo Civico in Bassano del Grappa in 1992 and also at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, in 1993. At the beginning of 1992, the results of the research project on Italian art in the Finnish collections carried out at the University of Helsinki from the mid-1980s onwards were published in the Ateneum, Finnish National Gallery Bulletin and an exhibition was organised at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. On that occasion I highlighted in my article the distinguished and noble, yet hitherto unknown provenance of this painting. The re-publication of that article in FNG Research is prompted by the current plans for a monographic exhibition on Jacopo Bassano in the near future. The exhibitions in 1992, and the show in Museo Civico in Bassano del Grappa in 2010 are the last monographic exhibitions on Jacopo Bassano. The forthcoming exhibition in Helsinki, which has been preliminarily scheduled to 2024, will actually be the first monographic show on the artist to be mounted outside Italy.
I hope that this re-publication online will disseminate the results on the provenance of the painting more widely and will promote its further research. We are also publishing here all of the information on the frame moulding of the painting, which includes images of a coat of arms and a seal and three paper labels. These details were not included in the original 1992 article.
 My dissertation, which I defended at the University of Helsinki in 2008, dealt with Jacopo Bassano as a fresco painter. Kirsi Eskelinen. Jacopo Bassano freskomaalarina. Cartiglianon ja Enegon kirkkojen freskot: konteksti, rekonstruktio ja tulkinta. (Jacopo Bassano as a fresco painter. The frescoes of Cartigliano and Enego Parish Churches: context, reconstruction and interpretation). Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura / Societas historiae ecclesiasticae Fennica, 2008. An important conference on Jacopo Bassano was organised in Bassano del Grappa and Padua in 2011. The paper I presented there is published, see Kirsi Eskelinen. ‘Una proposta per la lettura iconografica delle Stagioni di Jacopo Bassano’, in Claudia Caramanna and Federico Millozzi (eds.), Jacopo Bassano, I figli, la scuola, l’eredità: Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studio: Bassano del Grappa, Museo Civico, Padova, Università degli Studi, Archivio Antico del Bò, 30 marzo – 2 aprile 2011, Bollettino del Museo Civico di Bassano 30–31 (2009–10), 32–33 (2011–12), 34 (2013). Bassano del Grappa: Centro di documentazione sui Bassano W.R. Rearick, 2014, (Vol. 1, 142–59).
 Beverly Louise Brown and Paola Marini (eds.). Jacopo Bassano c. 1510–1592. Bologna: Nuova Alfa Editore, 1992.
 Kirsi Eskelinen. ‘Neitsyt Maria, Jeesus-lapsi, Johannes Kastaja ja Pyhä Antonius Apotti (Sacra conversazione), Jacopo Bassano = Virgin and Child with John the Baptist and St Anthony the Abbot (Sacra Conversazione), Jacopo Bassano. Conservator’s report / Sirkka Nurminen. Ateneum, Valtion taidemuseon museojulkaisu / The Finnish National Gallery Bulletin 1992. Helsinki: Valtion taidemuseo, 1992, (42–47).
 They were discussed and reproduced in a research report. See Kirsi Eskelinen. ‘Jacopo Bassanon Sacra Conversazione Sihtolan kokoelmissa’, in Italialaisia renessanssimaalauksia suomalaisissa kokoelmissa 1, Taidehistorialliset analyysit ja selvitykset (esitutkimus). Helsinki, 1988, 80–124, 229, kuvat 4–7; III Kuvat.
Featured image: Jacopo Bassano, Virgin and Child with John the Baptist and St Anthony the Abbot, c. 1560–65, oil on canvas, 108cm x 130cm
Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation Donation, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Matti Janas
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