Artibus et Historiae no. 80 (XL)

2019, ISSN 0391-9064

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PAUL JOANNIDES - A Studio Version of Titian’s Baptism of Christ (pp. 169–176)

This article discusses a hitherto unpublished copy, on canvas, of Titian’s Capitoline Baptism, on wood, painted for Giovanni Ram c.1514. It argues that the Leventis canvas, which excludes the patron so prominent in the panel but which otherwise follows it exactly, was executed c.1540 by a member of Titian’s studio and that it was probably commissioned for devotional not aesthetic reasons. It is remarked that the Leventis Baptism is the first example yet identified of Titian’s studio repeating, virtually unchanged if in a looser facture, a composition devised so many years before. X-ray and IRR examination further reveal that the Leventis Baptism was painted over an unfinished portrait of a young woman which, while it is not known in any other version, does resemble closely both Titian’s Bella and his portrait of Isabella d’Este, both of the mid-1530s.

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