PALMA, JACOPO (f. 1480-1528), Italian painter of the Venetian school, was born at Serinalta near Bergamo, towards 14S0, and died at the age of forty-eight in July 1528. He is currently named Palma Vecchio (Old Palma) to distinguish him from Palma Giovane, his grand-nephew, a much inferior painter. His grandfather's name was Negretto. He is reputed to have been a companion and competitor of Lorenzo Lotto, and to some extent a pupil of Titian, after arriving in Venice early in the 16th century; he may also have been the master of Bonifazio. His earlier works betray the influence of the Bellini; but modifying his style from the study of Giorgione and Titian, Palma took high rank among those painters of the distinctively Venetian type who remain a little below the leading masters. For richness of colour he is hardly to be surpassed; but neither in invention nor vigorous draughtsmanship does he often attain any peculiar excellence. A face frequently seen in his pictures is that of his (so-called) daughter Violante, of whom Titian was said to be enamoured. Two works by Palma are more particularly celebrated. The first is a composition of si.x paintings in the Venetian church of S. Maria Formosa, with St Barbara in the centre, under the dead Christ, and to right and left SS. Dominic, Sebastian, John Baptist and Anthony. The second work is in the Dresden Gallery, representing three sisters seated in the open air; it is frequently named " The Three Graces." A third fine work, discovered in Venice in 1900, is a portrait supposed to represent Violante. Other leading examples are: the " Last Supper," in S. Maria Mater Domini; a " Madonna," in the church of S. Stefano in Vicenza; the " Epiphany," in the Brera of Milan; the " Holy Family, with a young shepherd adoring," in the Louvre; " St Stephen and other Saints," " Christ and the Widow of Nain," and the " Assumption of the Virgin," in the Academy of Venice; and "Christ at Emmaus," in the Pitti Gallery. The beautiful portrait of the National Gallery, London, with a background of foliage, originally described as " Ariosto " and as by Titian, and now reascribed to that master, was for some years assumed to be an unknown poet by Palma Vecchio. It is certainly much more like the work of Titian than of Palma. In 1907 the Staedel Institute in Frankfort acquired an important work by Palma Vecchio, identified by its director as an illustration of Ovid's second Metamorphosis, and named " Jupiter and Calisto."
Palma's grand-nephew, Palma Giovane, was also named Jacopo (1544 to about 1626). His works belong to the decline of Venetian art. (W. M. R.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)