very old painting of a shirtless man (Saint Sebastian) pierced with arrows while people look on.

Unknown Venetian Artist, Holy Family with St. Catherine, St. Sebastian, and a Donor, 16th century, Oil on cradled panel, 49 3/8 in. x 65 3/4 in. (125.4 cm x 167 cm), Gift of Peter H. and Joan Macy Kaskell (Class of 1953) 2017.184.

Hidden Histories: Revealing the Life of a Painting

Sep 13, 2019–Jun 7, 2020
Robert and Claire Freedman Lober Viewing Alcove
Open to the Wellesley College campus community only

*Please Note: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College has suspended all public access through March 31. Public programs have been canceled or rescheduled and gallery access is limited to the Wellesley College campus community. Please call for more information and updates: 781.283.2051.*

Hidden Histories: Revealing the Life of a Painting examines a 16th-century Venetian Sacra Conversazione, recently donated to the Davis Museum. This Holy Family with St. Catherine, St. Sebastian, and a donor was previously attributed to Giorgione, and exists in multiple versions, including one at the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Several important details in the Davis’s painting, such as the donor figure and the background landscape, differ from the other nearly identical works. Restorations, like the head of St. Joseph, are clearly visible on the canvas. The history of visual change evident in this painting spans centuries and now raises many questions: Who made it? How many artists or conservators worked on the painting? Why are there multiple copies, and why is this work different from the others? Hidden Histories explores this Sacra Conversazione painting through recent conservation, technical analysis, and an art historical lens to uncover a wealth of new information and highlight the unknown.

Co-curated by Alicia LaTores, Friends of Art Curatorial Research Assistant, and Katherine Davies ’19, the summer 2019 Eleanor P. DeLorme Museum Intern.

For more information, please contact:


Generously supported by:

Peter H. Kaskell and Joan Macy Kaskell ’53.