Thanks to the new research, a portrait of the Italian poet Girolamo Fracastoro in the National Gallery collection has just been attributed to Renaissance master, Titian
The painting was given to the National Gallery in the 1920s by the German-born chemist Ludwig Mond, the founder of Imperial Chemical Industries. The work was then been believed to be a 16th-century copy created ‘after Titian’ both chronologically and artistically. In consequence, it has never been exhibited with any fanfare, being placed either in subsidiary lower galleries, or behind the scenes at the National Gallery.
But, thanks to its restoration and cleaning by experts, the provenance of the painting has been radically reassessed. Now it is believed to be a genuine work by Titian, and has been moved out of the bowels of the NG into the main upper galleries.
A National Gallery spokesperson explained that Titian – ‘the greatest painter of 16th-century Venice’ – is now ‘thought to have painted the work in the 1520s’, and told of its rather nomadic existence to date, saying; ‘It has been in many rooms since joining the National Gallery collection in 1924’. Newly labelled, it now sits in Room 12, alongside the Gallery’s other works by the master painter.
Titian was the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. Recognized by his contemporaries as preeminent ‘Sun Amidst Small Stars’, Titian was one of the most versatile of the Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of colour, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.
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