MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Not an Ima-Titian

photo by  Lucy Millson-Watkins/English Heritage

photo by Lucy Millson-Watkins/English Heritage

Titian’s Mistress, long regarded as a post-Titian imitation, turns out to be Titian’s painting, according to English Heritage conservator Alice Tate-Harte. From The Guardian:

It was a heart-stopping moment when the conservator Alice Tate-Harte gently cleaned off centuries of thick black paint and grime and uncovered square Roman letters spelling out the name TITIANUS. The reputation of the bare-breasted young woman in the painting was instantly transformed: she has turned out to be a genuine work by one of the most revered masters of European painting, not a much later imitation of his style.


The painting of a woman half-wearing a sumptuous gold braid-trimmed silk and fur robe was known as Titian’s Mistress but was believed to have been painted long after his death in 1576. It has been hiding in public view for centuries. Now cleaned of layers of overpainting covering up historic damage, including the time when it was slung into a chest of booty looted from the Spanish royal collection, it will go on display this summer for the first time as a genuine Titian at Apsley House, the palatial London home of the Duke of Wellington, now in the care of English Heritage.

Filed under: art, Titian


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