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Self-portrait (?)

Robusti Marietta called Marietta Tintoretto

(Venice 1554-60 - 1590)

First documented as forming part of the Borghese Collection in 1790, this painting depicts an elegantly dressed woman, believed to be Marietta Robusti, daughter of the famous Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto as well as a talented student of his. As some critics have proposed, the work may in fact be an inferior copy made by Marietta of her self-portrait. The present writer rejects this theory, as certain comparative evidence is lacking.


Object details

fine XVI secolo
oil on canvas
cm 101 x 78

19th-century frame decorated with Cornice ottocentesca decorata con cymatium moulding (124 x 101.5 x 11.3 cm)



Rome, Borghese Collection, 1790 (Inv. 1790, room X, no. 25); Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 39; purchased by Italian state, 1902.



The provenance of this work is still unknown. It is listed in the inventories of the Borghese Collection only beginning in 1790. While the 1833 Inventario Fidecommissario cites it with the curious attribution to Gherardo delle Notti, Giovanni Piancastelli (1891) rather proposed that the work was a product of the artistic circles of Veneto, and more specifically the school of Paolo Veronese. Later critics put forth a variety of other names, with some (Longhi 1929; Wethey 1971) suggesting that it represented one of the many derivations of Titian’s famous lost portrait of Elisabetta Querini, and others (Wilde 1930) claiming that it was a copy of a painting by Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto. Comparing the work in question with the self-portrait (Paris, Musée du Louvre) believed to be by Marietta Robusti, Tintoretto’s daughter, in 1955 Paola della Pergola proposed that the portrait in the Borghese Collection was by the hand of the same artist,  even though it was not as refined as the work in the Louvre. While Harold E. Withey (1971) rejected the idea, it was revived by Kristina Herrmann Fiore in 2006; since then, no critic has challenged that judgement.

Yet this attribution is not without its uncertainties, as we know of no other works that are unquestionably by the artist with which to compare our portrait: in spite of much research, she remains ‘an artist without works’ (see Grosso 2017). Although scholars have noted similarities with the portrait in the Louvre and another one in the Uffizi (Self-portrait with Madrigal, inv. 1890 no. 1898), we publish it here as an anonymous work of the late 16th century, most likely executed within Tintoretto’s prolific atelier.

Antonio Iommelli




  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 406;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 80;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 186;
  • J. Wilde, Wiedergefundene Gemälde aus der Sammlungen des Erzherzogs Leopold Wilhelm, in “Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien”, IV, 1930, p. 256;
  • B. Berenson, Ristudiando Tintoretto e Tiziano, in “Arte Veneta”, I, 1947, p. 36;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, pp. 128-129, n. 232;
  • H. E. Wethey, The Painting of Titian, II, The Portraits, London 1971, p. 204;
  • F. Heinemann, La bottega di Tiziano, in Tiziano e Venezia, convegno internazionale di studi (Venezia 1976), Venezia 1980, pp. 433-440, p. 43;
  • A. Brejon de Lavergnée, D. Thiébaut, a cura di, Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du Musée du Louvre, II, Italie, Espagne, Allemagne, Grande-Bretagne et divers, Paris 1981, p. 301;
  • A. Hémery, La peinture italienne au Musée des Augustins: catalogue raisonné, Toulouse 2003, p. 179, n. 111;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 35;
  • M. Grossi, Robusti, Maria, detta Tintoretta, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, LXXXVIII, 2017, ad vocem.