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Lot No. 39


Studio of Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian


Studio of Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian - Old Master Paintings

(Pieve di Cadore, circa 1485/90–1576 Venice)
Ecce Homo
oil on canvas, 107.5 x 94 cm, framed

We are grateful to Paul Joannides for examining the present painting in the original. The present work appears to be unpublished and Joannides has suggested that the painting may in part be by the hand of Titian himself.

As Joannides has observed the composition is very closely related to the well-known Ecce Homo in St Louis. That painting is generally seen as a late work and it is attributed by most scholars to Titian and his studio, although with some level of uncertainty as to the relative proportion of the contributions of Titian and one or more members of his shop. The present painting seems at first sight a little broader than the St Louis picture but it is in fact only marginally shorter and the width is the same. Comparing the two paintings, both of which show very considerable internal differences in handling, there are passages which seem stronger in the St Louis painting and others that seem weaker. In some areas the action is clearer, in others, less secure, but while the distribution of ingredients may vary, the recipe remains substantially the same. In the St Louis painting it seems that Pilate was initially conceived of as lifting the robe from Christ’s shoulder with his right hand, so as to display Him more effectively to the imagined crowd – and the viewer; but this action was never resolved and there is an area of considerable confusion in this part of the painting. In the present work it seems that this action was either not planned or was covered up. It is unclear who is holding the torch in the St Louis version, but here the staff on the left which supports a brazier is held by a broadly modelled right hand, and a little behind can be seen the tilted simplified face of the hand’s owner. In this case the staff may be that of a pike rather than a torch – although there is a burst of light at the top left. Thus in this part of the present painting the action is more coherent than in that of the St Louis painting.

In fact, although there is an obvious relation between the present painting and the St Louis painting – the only well-known version of the subject, save that in the Prado - there is actually a closer correspondence between the present painting and a little known and little studied picture in Munich (Inv. 6252, see R. Kultzen, Venezianische Gemälde des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, 1971, pp. 194-195), which is on long-term loan to the Abbey of Münsterschwarzbach. In this, to take two examples, the pole is also held by a young man whose hand comes forward, and it too carries a brazier which breaks through the top edge of the picture; and on the right-hand side of the picture, Christ’s cloak falls in a way adumbrated but not actually completed in the present picture. Joannides has not seen the Munich painting in the flesh but, from the photograph published by Kultzen (in his Munich catalogue, plate 24), it seems to him that it does not show handling in any part that could plausibly be attributed to Titian and he thinks – with all due caution - that it is likely to be a very slightly modified copy of the present picture, perhaps, but not necessarily, by someone in the studio of Titian.

This adds weight to Joannides’ view that the present picture is a significant rediscovery. On balance, in Joannides’ opinion, while the present painting does not quite reach the qualitative level of the St Louis picture – Christ’s torso, for example, seems to him less interestingly painted – it is not notably inferior overall, and some areas, such as Pilate’s elaborate costume, seem to him more effectively integrated into the arrangement than in the St Louis version, in which it is described with distracting precision. For Joannides the present painting is hard to judge in its present state and clearly requires conservation treatment but the surface appears to him relatively sound. In his view, like the St Louis painting, the present painting is a work executed collaboratively by Titian and his studio and, also like that painting, one that was never fully finished.

In studying the present painting Joannides saw a diagonal form – like a rod – in the upper right corner, which led him to suggest that the painting be x-rayed. The x-ray that was subsequently taken showed nothing in this area but it did reveal something much more interesting, that the canvas had previously been used, but inverted with respect to the surface image, for a portrait of a man, at just over half-length (see fig. 1). It seems to show a writer, with a quill in his right hand and his left resting on an open book placed on a table. The level of detail suggests that this portrait was nearly finished but whether that man’s features are sufficiently defined to allow him to be identified is an open question. There seems to be no other version of this portrait among paintings catalogued as by or after Titian in the standard books, but a more thorough search in photographic archives might locate something. In any case, there is nothing in the pose and arrangement which would count against the portrait being an invention by Titian or a member of his studio and Joannides has suggested that a portrait of this type would have been painted in the 1550s, which supports the approximate date that he would propose for the Ecce Homo.

The issue of Titian’s late treatments of the Ecce Homo is well studied by Miguel Falomir in his essay Christ Mocked, a late “invenzione” by Titian, in: Artibus et Historiae, no. 55, 2007, pp. 53–61, in which he concentrated on a variant of this composition - also a collaborative work by Titian and his studio - now in the Prado. This replaces the youth on the left with an older man and includes an additional figure before Christ and Pilate, intruding into the composition from the right-hand side. From the Prado painting, and from what is presumably a copy of a further version in the Royal collection, in which the youth at the lower left seems to be lifting the cloak from Christ’s right shoulder, it would seem that Titian, in this as in other cases, produced a suite of variants on the same basic idea. Whether there once existed a fully autograph version of one or other of these variants is a question impossible to answer with the information presently available.

We are extremely grateful to Paul Joannides for his help in cataloguing the present painting.

The Portrait revealed in an x-ray of the present lot
The three-quarter length male standing portrait underlying the Ecce Homo and revealed in an x-ray opens many questions. As far as can be determined from the x-ray photograph it appears as if the painting may have been nearly finished. Especially striking is the fact that it includes so many details that the artist would have defined towards completion, such as the ring on the left index finger, the motifs on the breeches, the drapery fringe, and the reflections of light on the pearls. It is possible to discern the facial features and lively gaze of a man, although the lower part of his face is difficult to distinguish because it is partially hidden by Christ’s bound hands.

The sitter is dressed in a dark doublet and breeches embellished with floral motifs. His broad turned-down collar and the large-buckled belt, ring, absence of a sword and bombast (a protusion of the garment at the stomach level recalling contemporary armour) show that although he is wealthy, he is probably not a gentleman. He holds a quill in his right hand and rests his left on a book on a table where one also sees a writing set. It is possible to imagine that he is a man of letters, but the closed book and especially the pearl necklaces suspended from three nails to the right of the figure are more reminiscent of a rich merchant posing with his account book. These pearls, in fact, represent simple threads of knotted pearls, rather than finished pieces of jewelry. Other examples of such pearl strings in a portrait do not come to mind, and it could be a motive which may lead to identification, a typical detail evocative of the sitters’ preoccupations that Titian often placed in his portraits. A horizontal form under the collars with its loops or “chain links” remains to be identified.

Additional image
1: An x-ray of the present lot inverted reveals a portrait of a man.
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner
2: Inverted x-ray of the present
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner

We are grateful to Paul Joannides for examining the present painting in the original. The present work appears to be unpublished and Joannides has suggested that the painting may in part be by the hand of Titian himself.

As Joannides has observed the composition very closely related to the well-known Ecce Homo in St Louis. That painting is generally seen as a late work and it is attributed by most scholars to Titian and his studio, although with some level of uncertainty as to the relative proportion of the contributions of Titian and one or more members of his shop. The present painting seems at first sight a little broader than the St Louis picture but it is in fact only marginally shorter and the width is the same. Comparing the two paintings, both of which show very considerable internal differences in handling, there are passages which seem stronger in the St Louis painting and others that seem weaker. In some areas the action is clearer, in others, less secure, but while the distribution of ingredients may vary, the recipe remains substantially the same. In the St Louis painting it seems that Pilate was initially conceived of as lifting the robe from Christ’s shoulder with his right hand, so as to display Him more effectively to the imagined crowd – and the viewer; but this action was never resolved and there is an area of considerable confusion in this part of the painting. In the present work it seems that this action was either not planned or was covered up. It is unclear who is holding the torch in the St Louis version, but here the staff on the left which supports a brazier is held by a broadly modelled right hand, and a little behind can be seen the tilted simplified face of the hand’s owner. In this case the staff may be that of a pike rather than a torch – although there is a burst of light at the top left. Thus in this part of the present painting the action is more coherent than in that of the St Louis painting.

In fact, although there is an obvious relation between the present painting and the St Louis painting – the only well-known version of the subject, save that in the Prado - there is actually a closer correspondence between the present painting and a little known and little studied picture in Munich (Inv. 6252, see R. Kultzen, Venezianische Gemälde des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, 1971, pp. 194-195), which is on long-term loan to the Abbey of Münsterschwarzbach. In this, to take two examples, the pole is also held by a young man whose hand comes forward, and it too carries a brazier which breaks through the top edge of the picture; and on the right-hand side of the picture, Christ’s cloak falls in a way adumbrated but not actually completed in the present picture. Joannides has not seen the Munich painting in the flesh but, from the photograph published by Kultzen (in his Munich catalogue, plate 24), it seems to him that it does not show handling in any part that could plausibly be attributed to Titian and he thinks – with all due caution - that it is likely to be a very slightly modified copy of the present picture, perhaps, but not necessarily, by someone in the studio of Titian.

This adds weight to Joannides’ view that the present picture is a significant rediscovery. On balance, in Joannides’ opinion, while the present painting does not quite reach the qualitative level of the St Louis picture – Christ’s torso, for example, seems to him less interestingly painted – it is not notably inferior overall, and some areas, such as Pilate’s elaborate costume, seem to him more effectively integrated into the arrangement than in the St Louis version, in which it is described with distracting precision. For Joannides the present painting is hard to judge in its present state and clearly requires conservation treatment but the surface appears to him relatively sound. In his view, like the St Louis painting, the present painting is a work executed collaboratively by Titian and his studio and, also like that painting, one that was never fully finished.

In studying the present painting Joannides saw a diagonal form – like a rod – in the upper right corner, which led him to suggest that the painting be x-rayed. The x-ray that was subsequently taken showed nothing in this area but it did reveal something much more interesting, that the canvas had previously been used, but inverted with respect to the surface image, for a portrait of a man, at just over half-length (see fig. 1). It seems to show a writer, with a quill in his right hand and his left resting on an open book placed on a table. The level of detail suggests that this portrait was nearly finished but whether that man’s features are sufficiently defined to allow him to be identified is an open question. There seems to be no other version of this portrait among paintings catalogued as by or after Titian in the standard books, but a more thorough search in photographic archives might locate something. In any case, there is nothing in the pose and arrangement which would count against the portrait being an invention by Titian or a member of his studio and Joannides has suggested that a portrait of this type would have been painted in the 1550s, which supports the approximate date that he would propose for the Ecce Homo.

The issue of Titian’s late treatments of the Ecce Homo is well studied by Miguel Falomir in his essay Christ Mocked, a late “invenzione” by Titian, in: Artibus et Historiae, no. 55, 2007, pp. 53–61, in which he concentrated on a variant of this composition - also a collaborative work by Titian and his studio - now in the Prado. This replaces the youth on the left with an older man and includes an additional figure before Christ and Pilate, intruding into the composition from the right-hand side. From the Prado painting, and from what is presumably a copy of a further version in the Royal collection, in which the youth at the lower left seems to be lifting the cloak from Christ’s right shoulder, it would seem that Titian, in this as in other cases, produced a suite of variants on the same basic idea. Whether there once existed a fully autograph version of one or other of these variants is a question impossible to answer with the information presently available.

We are extremely grateful to Paul Joannides for his help in cataloguing the present painting.

The Portrait revealed in an x-ray of the present lot
The three-quarter length male standing portrait underlying the Ecce Homo and revealed in an x-ray opens many questions. As far as can be determined from the x-ray photograph it appears as if the painting may have been nearly finished. Especially striking is the fact that it includes so many details that the artist would have defined towards completion, such as the ring on the left index finger, the motifs on the breeches, the drapery fringe, and the reflections of light on the pearls. It is possible to discern the facial features and lively gaze of a man, although the lower part of his face is difficult to distinguish because it is partially hidden by Christ’s bound hands.

The sitter is dressed in a dark doublet and breeches embellished with floral motifs. His broad turned-down collar and the large-buckled belt, ring, absence of a sword and bombast (a protusion of the garment at the stomach level recalling contemporary armour) show that although he is wealthy, he is probably not a gentleman. He holds a quill in his right hand and rests his left on a book on a table where one also sees a writing set. It is possible to imagine that he is a man of letters, but the closed book and especially the pearl necklaces suspended from three nails to the right of the figure are more reminiscent of a rich merchant posing with his account book. These pearls, in fact, represent simple threads of knotted pearls, rather than finished pieces of jewelry. Other examples of such pearl strings in a portrait do not come to mind, and it could be a motive which may lead to identification, a typical detail evocative of the sitters’ preoccupations that Titian often placed in his portraits. A horizontal form under the collars with its loops or “chain links” remains to be identified.

Additional image
1: An x-ray of the present lot inverted reveals a portrait of a man.
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner

20.10.2015 - 18:00

Realized price: **
EUR 186,000.-
Estimate:
EUR 100,000.- to EUR 150,000.-

Studio of Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian


(Pieve di Cadore, circa 1485/90–1576 Venice)
Ecce Homo
oil on canvas, 107.5 x 94 cm, framed

We are grateful to Paul Joannides for examining the present painting in the original. The present work appears to be unpublished and Joannides has suggested that the painting may in part be by the hand of Titian himself.

As Joannides has observed the composition is very closely related to the well-known Ecce Homo in St Louis. That painting is generally seen as a late work and it is attributed by most scholars to Titian and his studio, although with some level of uncertainty as to the relative proportion of the contributions of Titian and one or more members of his shop. The present painting seems at first sight a little broader than the St Louis picture but it is in fact only marginally shorter and the width is the same. Comparing the two paintings, both of which show very considerable internal differences in handling, there are passages which seem stronger in the St Louis painting and others that seem weaker. In some areas the action is clearer, in others, less secure, but while the distribution of ingredients may vary, the recipe remains substantially the same. In the St Louis painting it seems that Pilate was initially conceived of as lifting the robe from Christ’s shoulder with his right hand, so as to display Him more effectively to the imagined crowd – and the viewer; but this action was never resolved and there is an area of considerable confusion in this part of the painting. In the present work it seems that this action was either not planned or was covered up. It is unclear who is holding the torch in the St Louis version, but here the staff on the left which supports a brazier is held by a broadly modelled right hand, and a little behind can be seen the tilted simplified face of the hand’s owner. In this case the staff may be that of a pike rather than a torch – although there is a burst of light at the top left. Thus in this part of the present painting the action is more coherent than in that of the St Louis painting.

In fact, although there is an obvious relation between the present painting and the St Louis painting – the only well-known version of the subject, save that in the Prado - there is actually a closer correspondence between the present painting and a little known and little studied picture in Munich (Inv. 6252, see R. Kultzen, Venezianische Gemälde des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, 1971, pp. 194-195), which is on long-term loan to the Abbey of Münsterschwarzbach. In this, to take two examples, the pole is also held by a young man whose hand comes forward, and it too carries a brazier which breaks through the top edge of the picture; and on the right-hand side of the picture, Christ’s cloak falls in a way adumbrated but not actually completed in the present picture. Joannides has not seen the Munich painting in the flesh but, from the photograph published by Kultzen (in his Munich catalogue, plate 24), it seems to him that it does not show handling in any part that could plausibly be attributed to Titian and he thinks – with all due caution - that it is likely to be a very slightly modified copy of the present picture, perhaps, but not necessarily, by someone in the studio of Titian.

This adds weight to Joannides’ view that the present picture is a significant rediscovery. On balance, in Joannides’ opinion, while the present painting does not quite reach the qualitative level of the St Louis picture – Christ’s torso, for example, seems to him less interestingly painted – it is not notably inferior overall, and some areas, such as Pilate’s elaborate costume, seem to him more effectively integrated into the arrangement than in the St Louis version, in which it is described with distracting precision. For Joannides the present painting is hard to judge in its present state and clearly requires conservation treatment but the surface appears to him relatively sound. In his view, like the St Louis painting, the present painting is a work executed collaboratively by Titian and his studio and, also like that painting, one that was never fully finished.

In studying the present painting Joannides saw a diagonal form – like a rod – in the upper right corner, which led him to suggest that the painting be x-rayed. The x-ray that was subsequently taken showed nothing in this area but it did reveal something much more interesting, that the canvas had previously been used, but inverted with respect to the surface image, for a portrait of a man, at just over half-length (see fig. 1). It seems to show a writer, with a quill in his right hand and his left resting on an open book placed on a table. The level of detail suggests that this portrait was nearly finished but whether that man’s features are sufficiently defined to allow him to be identified is an open question. There seems to be no other version of this portrait among paintings catalogued as by or after Titian in the standard books, but a more thorough search in photographic archives might locate something. In any case, there is nothing in the pose and arrangement which would count against the portrait being an invention by Titian or a member of his studio and Joannides has suggested that a portrait of this type would have been painted in the 1550s, which supports the approximate date that he would propose for the Ecce Homo.

The issue of Titian’s late treatments of the Ecce Homo is well studied by Miguel Falomir in his essay Christ Mocked, a late “invenzione” by Titian, in: Artibus et Historiae, no. 55, 2007, pp. 53–61, in which he concentrated on a variant of this composition - also a collaborative work by Titian and his studio - now in the Prado. This replaces the youth on the left with an older man and includes an additional figure before Christ and Pilate, intruding into the composition from the right-hand side. From the Prado painting, and from what is presumably a copy of a further version in the Royal collection, in which the youth at the lower left seems to be lifting the cloak from Christ’s right shoulder, it would seem that Titian, in this as in other cases, produced a suite of variants on the same basic idea. Whether there once existed a fully autograph version of one or other of these variants is a question impossible to answer with the information presently available.

We are extremely grateful to Paul Joannides for his help in cataloguing the present painting.

The Portrait revealed in an x-ray of the present lot
The three-quarter length male standing portrait underlying the Ecce Homo and revealed in an x-ray opens many questions. As far as can be determined from the x-ray photograph it appears as if the painting may have been nearly finished. Especially striking is the fact that it includes so many details that the artist would have defined towards completion, such as the ring on the left index finger, the motifs on the breeches, the drapery fringe, and the reflections of light on the pearls. It is possible to discern the facial features and lively gaze of a man, although the lower part of his face is difficult to distinguish because it is partially hidden by Christ’s bound hands.

The sitter is dressed in a dark doublet and breeches embellished with floral motifs. His broad turned-down collar and the large-buckled belt, ring, absence of a sword and bombast (a protusion of the garment at the stomach level recalling contemporary armour) show that although he is wealthy, he is probably not a gentleman. He holds a quill in his right hand and rests his left on a book on a table where one also sees a writing set. It is possible to imagine that he is a man of letters, but the closed book and especially the pearl necklaces suspended from three nails to the right of the figure are more reminiscent of a rich merchant posing with his account book. These pearls, in fact, represent simple threads of knotted pearls, rather than finished pieces of jewelry. Other examples of such pearl strings in a portrait do not come to mind, and it could be a motive which may lead to identification, a typical detail evocative of the sitters’ preoccupations that Titian often placed in his portraits. A horizontal form under the collars with its loops or “chain links” remains to be identified.

Additional image
1: An x-ray of the present lot inverted reveals a portrait of a man.
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner
2: Inverted x-ray of the present
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner

We are grateful to Paul Joannides for examining the present painting in the original. The present work appears to be unpublished and Joannides has suggested that the painting may in part be by the hand of Titian himself.

As Joannides has observed the composition very closely related to the well-known Ecce Homo in St Louis. That painting is generally seen as a late work and it is attributed by most scholars to Titian and his studio, although with some level of uncertainty as to the relative proportion of the contributions of Titian and one or more members of his shop. The present painting seems at first sight a little broader than the St Louis picture but it is in fact only marginally shorter and the width is the same. Comparing the two paintings, both of which show very considerable internal differences in handling, there are passages which seem stronger in the St Louis painting and others that seem weaker. In some areas the action is clearer, in others, less secure, but while the distribution of ingredients may vary, the recipe remains substantially the same. In the St Louis painting it seems that Pilate was initially conceived of as lifting the robe from Christ’s shoulder with his right hand, so as to display Him more effectively to the imagined crowd – and the viewer; but this action was never resolved and there is an area of considerable confusion in this part of the painting. In the present work it seems that this action was either not planned or was covered up. It is unclear who is holding the torch in the St Louis version, but here the staff on the left which supports a brazier is held by a broadly modelled right hand, and a little behind can be seen the tilted simplified face of the hand’s owner. In this case the staff may be that of a pike rather than a torch – although there is a burst of light at the top left. Thus in this part of the present painting the action is more coherent than in that of the St Louis painting.

In fact, although there is an obvious relation between the present painting and the St Louis painting – the only well-known version of the subject, save that in the Prado - there is actually a closer correspondence between the present painting and a little known and little studied picture in Munich (Inv. 6252, see R. Kultzen, Venezianische Gemälde des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, 1971, pp. 194-195), which is on long-term loan to the Abbey of Münsterschwarzbach. In this, to take two examples, the pole is also held by a young man whose hand comes forward, and it too carries a brazier which breaks through the top edge of the picture; and on the right-hand side of the picture, Christ’s cloak falls in a way adumbrated but not actually completed in the present picture. Joannides has not seen the Munich painting in the flesh but, from the photograph published by Kultzen (in his Munich catalogue, plate 24), it seems to him that it does not show handling in any part that could plausibly be attributed to Titian and he thinks – with all due caution - that it is likely to be a very slightly modified copy of the present picture, perhaps, but not necessarily, by someone in the studio of Titian.

This adds weight to Joannides’ view that the present picture is a significant rediscovery. On balance, in Joannides’ opinion, while the present painting does not quite reach the qualitative level of the St Louis picture – Christ’s torso, for example, seems to him less interestingly painted – it is not notably inferior overall, and some areas, such as Pilate’s elaborate costume, seem to him more effectively integrated into the arrangement than in the St Louis version, in which it is described with distracting precision. For Joannides the present painting is hard to judge in its present state and clearly requires conservation treatment but the surface appears to him relatively sound. In his view, like the St Louis painting, the present painting is a work executed collaboratively by Titian and his studio and, also like that painting, one that was never fully finished.

In studying the present painting Joannides saw a diagonal form – like a rod – in the upper right corner, which led him to suggest that the painting be x-rayed. The x-ray that was subsequently taken showed nothing in this area but it did reveal something much more interesting, that the canvas had previously been used, but inverted with respect to the surface image, for a portrait of a man, at just over half-length (see fig. 1). It seems to show a writer, with a quill in his right hand and his left resting on an open book placed on a table. The level of detail suggests that this portrait was nearly finished but whether that man’s features are sufficiently defined to allow him to be identified is an open question. There seems to be no other version of this portrait among paintings catalogued as by or after Titian in the standard books, but a more thorough search in photographic archives might locate something. In any case, there is nothing in the pose and arrangement which would count against the portrait being an invention by Titian or a member of his studio and Joannides has suggested that a portrait of this type would have been painted in the 1550s, which supports the approximate date that he would propose for the Ecce Homo.

The issue of Titian’s late treatments of the Ecce Homo is well studied by Miguel Falomir in his essay Christ Mocked, a late “invenzione” by Titian, in: Artibus et Historiae, no. 55, 2007, pp. 53–61, in which he concentrated on a variant of this composition - also a collaborative work by Titian and his studio - now in the Prado. This replaces the youth on the left with an older man and includes an additional figure before Christ and Pilate, intruding into the composition from the right-hand side. From the Prado painting, and from what is presumably a copy of a further version in the Royal collection, in which the youth at the lower left seems to be lifting the cloak from Christ’s right shoulder, it would seem that Titian, in this as in other cases, produced a suite of variants on the same basic idea. Whether there once existed a fully autograph version of one or other of these variants is a question impossible to answer with the information presently available.

We are extremely grateful to Paul Joannides for his help in cataloguing the present painting.

The Portrait revealed in an x-ray of the present lot
The three-quarter length male standing portrait underlying the Ecce Homo and revealed in an x-ray opens many questions. As far as can be determined from the x-ray photograph it appears as if the painting may have been nearly finished. Especially striking is the fact that it includes so many details that the artist would have defined towards completion, such as the ring on the left index finger, the motifs on the breeches, the drapery fringe, and the reflections of light on the pearls. It is possible to discern the facial features and lively gaze of a man, although the lower part of his face is difficult to distinguish because it is partially hidden by Christ’s bound hands.

The sitter is dressed in a dark doublet and breeches embellished with floral motifs. His broad turned-down collar and the large-buckled belt, ring, absence of a sword and bombast (a protusion of the garment at the stomach level recalling contemporary armour) show that although he is wealthy, he is probably not a gentleman. He holds a quill in his right hand and rests his left on a book on a table where one also sees a writing set. It is possible to imagine that he is a man of letters, but the closed book and especially the pearl necklaces suspended from three nails to the right of the figure are more reminiscent of a rich merchant posing with his account book. These pearls, in fact, represent simple threads of knotted pearls, rather than finished pieces of jewelry. Other examples of such pearl strings in a portrait do not come to mind, and it could be a motive which may lead to identification, a typical detail evocative of the sitters’ preoccupations that Titian often placed in his portraits. A horizontal form under the collars with its loops or “chain links” remains to be identified.

Additional image
1: An x-ray of the present lot inverted reveals a portrait of a man.
© ]a[ NTK 2015 Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. M. Schreiner


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Auction: Old Master Paintings
Date: 20.10.2015 - 18:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 10.10. - 20.10.2015


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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