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Portrait of a Man, 16th century

Titian

Italian, c.1487/90-1576
Oil on canvas
38 x 32 in. (96.5 x 81.3 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1965.1.064.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

As early as 1927, an interoffice communication to Sir Joseph Duveen about this portrait revealed that William Addison Holder, an independent London conservator Duveen had contracted to clean this painting, found as he began to remove its varnish and overpainting that the work was in a “terrible state.” Holder was told to halt his work immediately and “put the picture back into the condition in which it was before…..” At that time the picture was attributed to Giorgione, but Bernard Berenson classified it in the same year as Giulio Campi, and then later identified it as a “Copy after a lost Titian.” The painting was carefully analyzed in 1965 at the New York University conservation lab, and in 1988 the restorer Mario Modestini performed a major intervention, reworking the larger loss near the proper right ear and restretching the canvas. At that point, a variety of attributions were posited, including not only early Titian, but also Bernardino Licinio (c. 1489–c. 1565), Giovanni Cariani (c. 1490–1547), and Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480–1556).

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