Giovanni Battista Recco (Italian, born c. 1631, dead 1674 or 1676, dead 1674 or 1676), Still Life with Fish and Oysters, 1653. Oil on canvas, 100 x 126. NM 759. Photo: Erik Cornelius/Nationalmuseum.

STOCKHOLM.- Since 2009, a huge research project on the Italian paintings collection of Nationalmuseum in Stockholm has been in progress. The collection contains well-known works by great artists but the project has also made new discoveries. The results have been published in a catalogue raisonné to be presented at Palazzo Corsini in Rome on 15 October. 

The research project on the Italian paintings collection of Nationalmuseum in Stockholm has been ongoing since 2009. It is the first comprehensive study of approximately 900 paintings, very few of which have previously been published. In subdividing the material, the researchers have adopted a relatively new approach to the catalogue raisonné. Instead of organizing the paintings according to schools and centuries, the paintings are discussed in the context of their historical provenance before they entered the museum. This provides an opportunity to explore the history of each individual constituent collection as an entity and to offer a wider range of information to the reader of the catalogues. 

The paintings date from the High Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century. The collection reflects not merely the taste and pursuit of royal patronage in the Early Modern period but also the acquisition policies of Nationalmuseum in Stockholm during the first decades of the twentieth century. Ultimately, this kind of analysis not only contextualizes the paintings and the very act of collecting, but offers great insight into the reception of Italian art in Sweden over the course of three centuries. 

The collection contains well-known works by artists such as Giovanni Bellini, Paolo Veronese, Domenico Fetti and Dosso Dossi. However, the research team has been able to discover previously never published works by, for instance, Federico Barocci and Pietro da Cortona. One of the works in the collection, the only existing copy of Caravaggio’s Saint John the Baptist in the Galleria Corsini in Rome, has been successfully investigated by an Italian team, with a highly interesting attribution as a result. 

The project was supervised by Sabrina Norlander Eliasson, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Stockholm University. The research team was composed of Daniel Prytz MA (Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde), Dr. Johan Eriksson (Uppsala University), Dott.ssa Sofia Ekman (Università di Roma Tre), Dott.ssa Maria Beatrice De Ruggieri and Dott. Marco Cardinali (Emmebi Diagnostica Artistica, Rome). 

On 15 October the research project and the catalogue will be presented at Palazzo Corsini in Rome. The speakers will be Professor Liliana Barroero and Professor Maria Cristina Terzaghi from Università di Roma Tre and Associate Professor Sabrina Norlander Eliasson from Stockholm University. 

Italian Paintings. Three Centuries of Collecting. Vol 1. can be ordered at Nationalmuseum’s online book shop

Authors are Sabrina Norlander Eliasson, Daniel Prytz, Johan Eriksson and Sofia Ekman. With contributions from Britta Nilsson, Carina Fryklund, Marco Cardinali, Maria Beatrice De Ruggieri and Alessandro Agresti.


Giovanni Bellini ( Italian, born about 1427, dead in 1516), The thorn-crowned Christ. Oil on wood, 103 x 64 cm. Purchase 1911. NM 1726. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Paolo Veronese (Italian, Born 1528, Died 1588), Venus mourning AdonisOil on canvas, 145 x 173.5 cm. Gift 1947 by NM Friends with contributions by Major Alf Amundson. NM 4414. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. 


Paolo Veronese (Italian, Born 1528, Died 1588), Dido and Aeneas, 54 x 27 cm. Takeover in 1866 from the Royal. Museum (Martelli, 1804). NMDrh 602Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Domenico Fetti (Italian, Born 1589, Died 1624), An ancient poet, about 1620 - 1621. Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard, 140 x 110 cm. Purchase 1980. NM 6708. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Domenico Fetti (Italian, Born 1589, Died 1624), David with Goliath's severed head1620s, 160.7 x 99.1 cm. Purchase in 2014 with donations from Wirosfonden. Purchase in 2014 funded by the Wiros Fund. NM 7280. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Dosso Dossi (Italian, Born 1479, Died 1542), Portrait of a man in a black beretabout 1530. Oil on canvas, 85.5 x 71 cm. Gift 1919 by Chamberlain Hjalmar Linder. NM 2163Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Federico Barocci (Italian, born 1526, dead 1612), Study of a Head. Oil on canvas, 41 x 24 cm. Takeover in 1866 from the Royal. Museum. NM 481Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Pietro da Cortona (Italian, born 1596, dead 1669), Ariadne and Theseus64 x 43 cmTakeover in 1866 from the Royal Museum (Martelli 1804, former No. KM 372). NM 260Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


Copy after Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Italian, born 1573, dead 1610), St John the Baptist. Oil on canvas, 98 x 136 cm. Takeover in 1866 from the Royal Museum (Martelli 1804). NM 15. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.