Artibus et Historiae no. 67 (XXXIV)2013, ISSN 0391-9064
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PAUL JOANNIDES - A Portrait by Titian of Girolamo Cornaro (pp. 239-249)
This article publishes an early male portrait by Titian, previously known only from an old copy at Petworth, which came to light recently and rapidly acquired the nickname the Commander. The author seeks to place the Commander in relation to other male portraits painted by Titian during the second decade of the sixteenth century, considering in particular its colouristic and textural relations with the Man with the Blue Sleeve. Given that the sitter looks firmly out of frame, he suggests that a pendant may have been planned, and speculates that this might have been the Knight of Malta in the Uffizi, as two ‘comradeship portraits’. Noting the sitter’s resemblance to the central figure in a triple portrait from the circle of Titian in Washington, the author identifies him as Girolamo Cornaro and based on this, and on an X-ray image that shows changes to the subject’s dress, hypothesises that Titian started the portrait soon after Girolamo’s marriage in 1510, showing him in a relaxed dress, but modified the costume and added a sword to register Cornaro’s call to military duties during the Wars of the League of Cambrai. He concludes that a more likely intended pendant would have been Cornaro’s wife, whether or not a portrait of her was ever executed. An appendix discusses the status and date of the Petworth copy.