Italian Painting


Detail from Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), ‘Ecce Homo’, 1558-1560.

The Italian collection consists of works dating from the Early Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical periods.

Among the highlights of the Early Renaissance are religious subjects by the Florentine masters Paolo Uccello, Fra Angelico and Filippino Lippi and by Andrea Mantegna, who worked in Padua and Mantua.

The High Renaissance is represented by canvases by the Venetian painters Titian, Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese. There are also fine portraits by Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni Battista Moroni and Lavinia Fontana.

The highlight of the Gallery's display of Baroque paintings is Caravaggio’s dramatic The Taking of Christ. Painted in Rome in 1602, the canvas was later misattributed to Gerrit van Honthorst, a Dutch follower of Caravaggio. The painting subsequently changed hands twice before being presented to the Irish Jesuit Fathers, with whom it remained until the 1990s, when it was verified as a genuine Caravaggio. This moving work has been placed on indefinite loan to the Gallery by the Jesuit Community of Leeson Street, Dublin.

Caravaggio's influence on his contemporaries may be seen in the compositions by Orazio Gentileschi, Rutilio Manetti and Mattia Preti which are in the collection. These are complemented by eight canvases, including works by Guercino, Guido Reni and Domenichino, gifted to the Gallery by Sir Denis Mahon in 2008.

The eighteenth-century taste for Vedute and Capricci paintings is represented by compositions by Bernardo Bellotto, Canaletto, and Giovanni Paolo Panini. The Gallery holds a number of elegant portraits by Pompeo Batoni, which were commissioned by Irish and British aristocrats undertaking the Grand Tour of Italy during the elghteenth century.