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When is a Titian a repe-Titian?

Part 1: When is a Titian a repe-Titian?

The greatest Venetian painter, Tiziano Vecellio (c1487-1576) is one of the most revered names in art history. His works were much sought after in his own day notably by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II. His reputation has continued unabated, perhaps more so than any other artist except Michelangelo. In the 17th century Charles I of England fell in love with his work. When the British went on their Grand Tours in the 18th and early 19th centuries his works were much desired perhaps more so than any other artist. In the 20th century Andrew Mellon, a dedicated collector who founded and gave his collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, acquired the finest Titians that the market of his day could provide.

The picture in the Courtauld collection shows a Venetian beauty dressed in a loose fitting robe, exposing her right breast, and she gazes at herself in a mirror, which is held by Cupid. On a quick glance it is readily pigeon-hole-able as a Titian. The subject and style are his - but is it actually by his hand? The Courtauld scholars are cautious. The picture is catalogued as "Toilet of Venus (after Tiziano Vecellio) late 16th century. Formerly attributed to Veronese, Paolo. After Italian School late 16th century (Venice)".

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