Collection Online
The miracle of the loaves and fishes

The miracle of the loaves and fishes
(c. 1725)

oil on canvas
120.1 × 178.5 cm
inscribed in black paint (in another hand) l.c.: S. RICCI 1725
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1951
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
16th & 17th Century Gallery - Painting and Sculpture
Mezzanine linked to Level 1, NGV International

Giambattista Pittoni was, along with Giambattista Tiepolo, one of the leading painters of Venice in the eighteenth century. Pittoni was noted for his French Rococo manner, his method was very different to Tiepolo’s, relying on the painstaking accumulation of motifs and a frequent reworking of details. The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes is recorded in all four gospels. Pittoni’s depiction has features unique to the gospel of John (6:3–13): ‘Jesus went into the mountains … a great multitude followed him, He bade them sit down, took five loaves and two fishes and, giving thanks, broke them and the disciples distributed them’.


Pittoni, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, c. 1725, Felton Bequest 1951, was acquired in this frame which is stylistically appropriate for the work, a Canaletto frame, but quite possibly of later manufacture than the date of the painting. This is the frame Daryl Lindsay thought “would not look quite right on the Tiepolo”. The acquisition of the Pittoni was on the advice of A.J.L.McDonnell, who would have known this frame at the time of the reframing proposal by himself and Frederick Pollak for the Banquet of Cleopatra. The Banquet frame, made by Pollak, is a large scale variant of this frame.

Unknown - 18th century