Although Female Nude with a Male Torso by Girolamo da Treviso (Treviso c. 1498 1544 Boulogne) is rarely on show it deserved the Kunsthistorisches Museum
's attention for a number of reasons. The artists eclectic personality still poses a host of questions, its subject- matter is strange and difficult to decipher, and the painting technique is highly unusual in the venetian context around 1515 these are some of the things that whetted the curators' appetite and encouraged them to study the canvas more closely.
A woodcut produced in Venice in 1515 depicting Susanna and the elders is inscribed with a monogram associated since the mid-nineteenth century with Girolamo da Treviso. It is also found on five paintings, one of which is the one showcased here. Its allegorical meaning reflects the intellectual climate prevalent in Venice during the first decades of the sixteenth century; this period witnessed a rise in the number of antiques collected and the city was home to many connoisseurs and men-of-letters.
This painting features an allegorical depiction that celebrates both a love of classical antiquity and connoisseurship. The choice of a technique and handling unusual for Venice but generally associated with artists from north of the Alps long influenced the attribution of the painting, which is first mentioned in the inventory of the collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm (1659) where it is listed as a work by a Netherlandish master. Art historians first studied the painting in the late 1920s, and a subsequent restoration revealed the monogram, which led to it being identified and published as a work by Girolamo da Treviso.
The Picture Gallery has been staging Points of View since 2012, and the series documents its role as a place of research, scholarship and education. Three times a year these small exhibitions showcase a selected work from the collection, inviting visitors to see it with new eyes and presenting the results of recent research.