Catalogue of Paintings

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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This "Catalogue of Paintings &c. at Monticello" is believed to have been drafted by Thomas Jefferson sometime after 1809, and provides invaluable information on the contents of Jefferson's art collection and its distribution throughout the house.


Catalogue of Paintings &c. at Monticello[1]

[page 1]

Hall

1. An Ecce homo. a bust of Jesus of about 2/3 the natural [scale 1]/ on canvas. he is clothed with a robe of purple, & a crown of thorns/ on his head. copied from Guido.

2. A bust of St. Jerom in meditation, his head reclined on/ his right hand, and a book in his left. of full size, on Canvas. copied from Goltzius.

3. Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple. 7. [fi-]/ -gures of full length, & about half the natural module, the [sub-]/ -ject Matthew 21.12. on Canvas. copied from Valentin.

4. St. Peter weeping. his hands are pressed together, and nea[r]/ him the cock shews it was in the moment of Matthew 26.75/ 'and Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto h[im]/ before the cock crow thous shalt deny me thrice. and he wen[t]/ out & wept bitterly'. a half length figure of full size, on/ Canvas, copied from Carlo Lotti. purchased from St. Severin['s]/ collection. Catalogue No. 36.

5. John Baptist, a bust of the natural size. the right hand/ pointing to heaven, the left, deeply shaded, is scarcely seen/ pressing his breast, which is covered by his hair flowing/ thickly over it. it is seen almost in full face. on canvas/ copied from Leonardo da Vinci.

6. Jesus among the Doctors, & disputing with them. the subject Luk/ 3.[2.]46. his right hand pointing to heaven, the left pressing his breas[t] the drapery/blue & purple, the hair flowing loose. a half length fi[-]/ -gure of full size, seen in profile, on Canvas.

7. St. Joseph the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. a 3/4 len[gth]/ of full size on Canvas. a book is laying open before him. h[is]/

[page 2]

hands interlocked with energy, his head & eyes turned up/ to heaven, & his mouth open, as in the act of fervent prayer.

8. Jesus in the Praetorium, stripped of the purple, as yet/ naked & with the crown of thorns on his head. he is sitting./ a whole length figure of about 4. feet. the persons present/ seem to be one of his revilers, one of his followers, & the su-/-perintendent of the execution. the subject from Mark 15./16.-20. an original on wood, by [Malbod]ius.

9. David with the head of Goliah, copied on canvas from/ Guido, who has given his own picture in the person of/ David. a whole length of 2.f.6.I.

10. The sacrifice of Isaac. he is placed on the pile, on his knees,/ his wrists bound, Abraham with his left hand grasping/ the back of his neck, a naked sworn [sic] in his right, uplifted/ & ready to strike the fatal stroke. in that instant an Angel/ hovering above him, stays his hand, and Abraham looks/ up with distraction to see by what power his his [sic] hand is/ witheld. in a bush on the right hand is seen the ram./ the figures are whole length: that of Abraham on a scale/ of not quite half the natural size. on canvas, an ori-/-ginal. the subject Gen. 22.

11. Jesus before Pilate. the subject Mark 27.27.28.[Matthew 27] on can-/-vas, copied from Pordononi.

12.&15. two busts of Indian figures, male & female by Indians, in hard stone./ 18.I. high. they were dug up at a place called Palmyra,/ on the Tennissee.

13. a bust of Turgot in plaister, by Houdon. [6]

14. a bust of Voltaire in plaister, by Houdon. [5]

16. a fac simile of the largest of the Pyramids of Egypt, called Cheops.

17. *a Cleopatra in marble. [*see this corrected pa. 11.] an Indian painting of a battle between the Panis & Osages, on a buffalo pelt. an Indian map of the Southern waters of the Missouri, by a Ricara chief on a buffalo pelt.

Parlour. Upper tier.

[page 3]

18. Lord Bacon. [c.]
19. Sr. Isaac Newton.
20. John Locke [b]
[Mr. Trumbull (the painter) procured these co-/-pies [numbers 18,19, 20] for Th. J from originals in England]

21. Doctr. Franklin. an original drawn for the Abbe Very by Greusz. [d]

22. Herodiade bearing the head of St. John in a platter. a 3/4/ length of full size on canvas, copied from Simon Vouett,/ purchased from St. Severin's collection, Catal. No. 248. the/ subject Matt. 14.11.Mark. 6.2.8 [28].

23. Democritus & Heraclitus, or the laughing & weeping philoso-/ -phers, the former smiling, the latter railing, at the follies/ of mankind. the figures are 3/4 lengths, larger than life./ on canvas. an Original. purchased from the collection/ of St. Severin. Catal. No. 215.

24. Christopher Columbus. [a]
25. Americus Vesputius. [a]
26. Ferdinand Magellan.
27. Fernando Cortez.
[Copied from Originals in the gal-/-lery of Medicis, for Th. J. [24,25,26,27]]

28. Sr. Walter Raleigh. copy from an Original of Holben.

29. La Fayette. original. done in 1789 for Th. J.

30. James Madison. an original by Pine. taken in 1790. [d]

[space]
32. John Adams. an original by Brown. taken in London in 1785. [d]

33. George Washington. an original by Wright. taken in Philada in 1784. [d]

34. the Prodigal son. he is in rags, kneeling at the feet of his/ father, who extends his hands to raise him. the mother and/ sister appear shocked at his condition, but the elder son views/ him with indignation. the figures of full size on Canvas/ purchased from St. Severin's collection. Catal. 306. an Original.

[page 4]

35. A Magdalen penitent, sitting, her hair dishevelled, her eyes/ looking up to heaven, a book in her right hand, & the left rest-/ -ing on a skull. a 3/4 length of full size on Canvas, copied from Joseph de/ Ribera, called Espagnolet, purchased from St. Severin's collection./ Catal. No. 59

Middle tier

36. a Transfiguration. copied from Raphael. whole length figures/ of 6.I. on Canvas. the subject Matt. 17. 1-8. see 4. Manuel du/ Museum. PI. 1.

37. the Baptism of Jesus by John. figures whole length of 10.1./ on wood. from Devois. the subject Luke 3.21.22.

38. a Crucifixion. whole length figure on wood. an Original/ by Gerard Seggers. the moment is that of Luke 23.44-45.

39. Liberty. a print. designed & engraved by Savage.

40. Daphne transformed into a laurel. Apollo is siesing her/ round the waist to bear her off: but her father, the river-god/ Peneus, who is present, transforms her, in that instant, into a/ laurel, the branches of which are seen shooting from her fingers./ on the left are two female figures, struck with dismay, & above/ a Cupid flying off in consternation. the figures are whole length./ that of Daphne of 12.I. on canvas. an Original. the subject/ is from Ovid's Metamorphosis L. 1. -tergoque fugaci/ Imminet: et crinem sparsum cervicibus afflat./ Viribus assumptis expalluit illa citaeque/ Victa labore fugae, spectans Pene'das undas./ Fer, pater, inquit, opem; si flumina numen habetis./ Vix prece finita torpor gravis alligat artus:/ Mollia cinquntur tenui praecordia libro./ In frondem crines, in ramos brachia crescunt.

[page 5]

41. Susanna and the elders. three figures of about an eighth/ of the natural module. on Canvas, copied from Coypel.

42. Louis XVI. a print. a present from the king to Th. J.

43. Bonaparte. a print.

44. Castruccio Castracani.
45. Andrea Doria.
[[44 & 45] copied from the originals in the/gallery of Medicis, for Th.J.]

46. Hoche. a print.

47. David Rittenhouse. a print.

48. Jesus bearing his cross. a half length on wood. scale/ about 2/5 of the life. subject John 19.17.

49. Jephtha leading his daughter SeYla to be sacrificed./ on one side is the altar & the high-priest with the implements/ of sacrifice: on the other the mother, sisters, & by-standers weep-/ -ing & holding the victim by the one hand, while Jephtha/ pulls her towards the altar by the other. there are 17. figures/ the principal of which is 16 1/2 I. on Canvas. copied from/ Coypel. the subject from Judges. 11

Lower tier

50. the Prodigal son from West. done on canvas in the/ manner called Polyplasiasmos, or the Polygraphic art.

51. a Descent on Copper. the Christ is of about 10.1. behind him/ is the virgin weeping. on each side angels. it is copied from/ Vandyke by Dispenbec. see Rubens' management of the same/ subject. 3. Manuel du Museum. 483.

52. a Descent from the cross on wood. a groupe of 5. figures. the bo-/ -dy of Jesus is reclined on the ground, the head & shoulders supported/ in the lap of his mother, who with four others, women from Galilee,/ are weeping over him. the figures are whole lengths; the principal/ one 13.I1. it is an original by Francis Floris.

[page 6]

53. The Cyclops forging thunderbolts. a groupe of 9 fi-/ -gures of about 8. I1. on wood.

54. The surrender of York by Trumbul. it was the premiere/ ebauche of his print on that subject. on canvas.

55. the Medals given by the revolutionary Congress to the/ officers who distinguished themselves on particular occasions./ to wit Gen'. Washington, Gates, Stewart, Wayne, De Fleury,/ Paul Jones. Colo. Washington, Morgan, Howard, Greene & [space]/ tin proofs.

56. Zenobia. a print.

57. Hector & Andromache, in water colours. an original by/ West. the scene is their meeting in Homer 6.494.&c. given by West/ to Gen'. Kosciuzko, & by him to Th. J.

58. Kosciuzko. a print.

59. Thomas Paine. an original on wood by Trumbul.

60. Count Rumford. a print.

61. Two inedited birds of Virginia & the Snow sparrow.
62. The Singing birds of Virginia, the uppermost inedited.
[[61 & 62] water/colors by Wilson]

63. Volney. in pencil.

64. a Cutting in paper.

65. Bonaparte a bust in marble. [13]

66. Alexander of Russia. a bust in Plaister. [14]

[page 7]

Dining-room. upper tier.

67. A sleeping Venus in plaister. small

68. Diogenes in the market of Athens. Laertius in the life of this/ philosopher tells us that appearing in a public place in mid-day/ with a lanthern in his hand, he was asked by the crowd what/ he was doing? he answered that he was seeking if he could/ find a man. this anecdote is the subject of this piece. it is a/ groupe of 6. figures, half lengths, of full size on canvas. copied/ from Rubens. see 3. Manuel du Museum. 495.

69. The Sacrifice at Lystra, by the priest of Jupiter to Paul &/ Barnabas, on canvas, copied from Le Sueur. see Acts of the/ Apostles. 14.8.-13.

70. An Accusation, a groupe of 9. figures of about 1/3 the natural/ height. it is an original on canvas, known to be by Solimeni,/ but the subject not certainly known. it is believed however/ to be taken from Ecclesiastical history, and to be the story of/ a young woman accusing a young man of violence comit-/ -ed on her, before a bishop, who is sitting in judgment on/ him and raises a person from the dead to be a witness.

71. Diogenes, visited by Alexander. an Original on canvas./ being desired by Alexander to ask from him whatever he chose,/ he answered 'stand out of my light.' Laertius VI.38.

72. an Ascension of St. Paul into the third heaven. from Domi-/ -niquin. on canvas. the original is in the collection of the king/ of France. the principal figure is 22.I. the head is inspired./ the Saint sees the heavens open, and expands his arms towards/ the glorious light he sees. he is supported by angels. the groupe/ is no longer ascending, but in a state-of rest to give him/ time to contemplate the scene. see 2. Manuel. 778.

[page 8]

73. The holy family copied from Raphael on canvas./ the figures are whole lengths, the Virgin & infant Jesus,/ Joseph, Elizabeth & the infant John & 2. angels. see the 4. Manuel du Museum. PI. 3.

74. A crucifixion. the instant siesed is that of the expiration,/ when the sun is darkened, the temple rent, the atmosphere/ kindled with lightning, the tombs open & yield their dead./ on one side is the Centurion, struck with awe, & seeming/ to say 'verily, this was a righteous man.' on the other/ the two Marys, one of them her hair bristled with fear,/ the other in adoration. the subject is taken from Matt. 27./ 51.52. & Luke 23.45. the figures are whole lengths, the lar-/ -gest of 16.1. copied on canvas from Vandyke. see [space]

75. a Flagellation of Christ, a groupe of 10. figures, the/ principal of which is 21.1. he is bound to a post, two soul-/ -diers whipping him with bundles of rods, and third bind-/ -ing up another bundle. on the right are the Superintend-/ -dents & Spectators. the subject. Matt. 27.26. it is copied/ on wood from Devoes. see the same subject treated very/ similarly by Rubens. 3. Manuel du Musee. 501.

76. A Market piece on canvas, to wit, fruit, vegetables,/ game &c.

[page 9]

Lower tier.

77. Vandernost. a print.

78. Washington. a print from a drawing of Made de Brehan.

79. New Orleans a print.

80. Colebrook-dale bridge. a print.

81. the Natural bridge of Virginia on Canvas by mr. Roberts.

82. the passage of the Patomak through the Blue ridge. do.

83. a distant view of the falls of Niagara from the Indian ladder

84. a view of the falls of Niagara from the table rock. both of/ these are prints, from designs of Vanderlin.

85. the President's house at Washington, in water colours/ by King.

86. Mount Vernon. a print from a design of Birch

87. an elevation of the house at Monticello. by Mills.

88. the Diocletian Portico, a print. (vice the Environs of N. Orleans)

[page 10]

the Tea-room.

Paul Jones.
Franklin [d]
Washington
Fayette
[these 4 busts in plaister by Houdon./size of the life.]

Moncada. a print remarkeable for it's execution.

Le bon Odeur
Le bon Gout
[models of fine execution with the pen]

Date obolum Belisario. a print. from Rheberg at Rome.

Morgan's & Col?. Washington's medals. tin proofs.
infant America proteted by Minerva from the lion. a medal/ designed by
Dr. Franklin

L^0. Botetourt. a medallion in wax.

Franklin. a medal of bronze by Dupré.

Louis XVI. a medal. tin-proof.

Gen'. Gates. a miniature print.

the Entry of the King (Louis XVI.) into Paris. a medal bronze

the Taking of the Bastile. a medal in bronze.

Dr. Barton. Franklin. Granger.
Rodney. Burwell Gallatin
[miniatures]

Tiberius. a cast bronzed.

Capt Lewis. Th. J. a print. Th. J. by Doolittle. Miniatures.

Nero. a cast bronzed

Gen^1. Clinton. Nicholson. Madison. miniatures

Otho. a cast bronzed.

J. W Eppes. Dickerson. Dearborne. miniatures

Vespasian. a cast bronzed.

Pius VII. Gouvr. Morris. Washington by [space] at/ Paris, from Houdon's bust.

[page 11]

No. 17. corrected. Ariadne reclined on the ro[c]ks of Naxos, where The/ -seus had just abandoned her. she is represented asleep, as in the/ moment when Bacchus discovers, & becomes enamoured of her./ her tunic is half loosed, her veil negligently thrown over her head./ the disorder of the drapery in which she is wrapped manifests the anguish/ which had preceded this moment of calm. on the upper part of her left/ arm is a bracelet in the form of the small serpent called Ophis: this/ bracelet taken for an asp, long occasioned the belief that this figure/ represented Cleopatra procuring death by the bite of this reptile.

This statue was placed by Julius II. in the Belvedere of the Vatican,/ of which it was, for three centuries, the principal ornament./ see Notice de la Galerie des Antiques du Musee Napoleon. No. 60. [9]

Footnote

  1. Transcription from Seymour Howard, "Thomas Jefferson's Art Gallery for Monticello" The Art Bulletin LIX(1977): 597-600. The original manuscript is at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Accession #2958-b.