Saturday, 12 January 2013


Picture: Guardian
I saw the newly attributed Titian at the National Gallery today.  I hadn't expected much from the pictures, but I think it might be right.  The condition is compromised; the weave of the canvas is very prominent from relining, and there is a lot of abrasion.  I think that accounts for the flatness of the face, which actually has quite a presence despite damage.  The black clothing is undifferentiated and doesn't convey volume well, but again this reflects damage.  The area that I find most disconcerting is the arm, which is awkwardly placed.  It's hung to the left of the celebrated Portrait of a Young Man on loan from the Earl of Halifax, and the latter painting (also an early work) is far superior.  But Titian's paintings do vary rather in quality, partly from workshop participation, and partly because he seems to have had his off days.  The fur is very impressively painted and the impasto has survived surprising well there.  Despite certain deficiencies, I don't think the attribution is unreasonable. 

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