titian-2

Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (Pieve di Cadore, circa 1485/90–1576 Venice) The Penitent Magdalen, oil on canvas, 115 x 96.7 cm, framed, Auction 11 May 2022, estimate 1 - 1.5 million euros. Courtesy Dorotheum

VIENNA.- A missing painting by Titian, which has recently been rediscovered, is a highlight of Dorotheum´s sale of Old Master Paintings on 11th May 2022. It was once part of the celebrated collections of Christina, Queen of Sweden (1629-1689), Philippe, Duke of Orléans (1674-1723), and most probably Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. It will be offered for sale at auction for the first time in over 150 years.

The Penitent Magdalen was Titian’s most successful and frequently requested subject. Demand for paintings of the saint continued for more than forty years during which time the artist subtly altered and revised the composition. Much academic research has been devoted to the study of Titian’s Penitent Magdalens and this painting, for sale at Dorotheum, was considered lost. Its rediscovery has revealed a work of extraordinary quality and it is a significant addition to Titian’s oeuvre.

The Dorotheum version, which is a highlight of the Old Master paintings auction on 11th May 2022, has a distinguished provenance having been part of the greatest art collections ever assembled, including those of Christina, Queen of Sweden and Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. It is most probable this painting was originally in the collection of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II in Prague and came to Sweden after the Sack of Prague in 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years War.

This painting was in the celebrated collection of the flamboyant Christina, Queen of Sweden. At the age of 28, she abdicated her throne, converted to Catholicism, and moved to Rome, taking her works of art and her Italian paintings, probably including this picture, with her. In Rome, Christina became one of the greatest and most respected patrons of the arts. After her death, the painting was acquired by the Regent of France, Phillippe II, Duke ofOrléans. Apart from the great historical royal and public collections of Europe, his was arguably the greatest and most famous collection of western art ever assembled, particularly in the field of Italian paintings.