16th Century Oil Painting After From the Workshop of Titian – Entitled “The Concert” (“Concerto Interrupted”)

Extraordinary 16th Century Oil Painting after / from the School of the great renaissance old master painter Titian (TIZIANO Vecellio) (b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia) | Circa 1510

Additional information
  • Extraordinary 16th Century Oil Painting after / from the Workshop of the great renaissance old master painter Titian (TIZIANO Vecellio) (b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia) | Circa 1510 | This painting may be an earlier or later version of Titian’s (as attributed by Morelli in 1880 and generally accepted) | The Concert now displayed at the Galleria Palatina within the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy (See also W. Eller, Giorgione, Petersberg 2007, pp. 44–46, cat. no. 13, reproduced p. 45 that attributes the painting to Giorgione) | The two paintings have exactly the same dimensions | Dimensions: 87.4 by 116.6 cm.; 34 3/8 by 45 7/8 in.

    Condition Report: The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby’s: The canvas appears to be unlined. There is a slightly raised pattern of craquelure visible throughout the composition. There are a few very small paint losses. The varnish layers are uneven with some surface scratches. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows a very thick and opaque varnish layer making it difficult to see if there are any retouchings beneath these layers. A few small spots of retouching are visible. Overall the painting is in good condition. The work is framed.


    Owned by the 10th Earl of Dalhousie (1847), passed by descent to Colin Broun-Lindsay (d. 1989), Colstoun, Scotland, Sold via private auction conducted by Sotheby’s in 1990 to private owner (At Colstoun House Mansion, near Haddington, Scottland) “Last week Sotheby’s set up their big top in glorious parkland just south of Haddington. The object of the exercise was to auction off the contents of the soon-to-be-demolished Victorian wing of Colstoun House. The rest of the mansion is to be restored to its original sixteenth/seventeenth century appearance. This painting is drawn from the estate of the late Colin Broun-Lindsay, a descendant of Dalhousie, the ‘Furniture, Paintings, Watercolours and Prints, Ceramics and Glass, Indian Arms and Armour and Trophies” all had to go.” “According to the [auction] catalogue the Brouns (rather disconcertedly pronounced ”The Broons”) have been at Colstoun since the twelfth century.” The Scottland Herald, Auction addicts and narcotic lure of the Big House sales, May 24, 1990 (Article attached as photo), then sold by Sotheby’s (London) to the current owner.

    “Cardinal Leopoldo bought this picture in 1654 as a Giorgione and for centuries it has been assigned to him. It was at the end of the nineteenth century that Morelli proposed the attribution to Titian, which, in spite of a recent return to giving it to Giorgione, is generally accepted as the more persuasive, naturally placing it in Titian’s Giorgionesque period, that is to say his early years.  This painting has been considered a work by the young Titian only since it was last restored in 1976. The faces of the figures at the sides are badly damaged. Only the centre figure and the garment of the figure on the right display his masterful use of colour. Pictures of musicians were frequently painted in the 16th century. However, it was very rare for such an intimate relationship between the musicians to be depicted. The youth on the left draws the observer into the scene, thus including him in the web of glances and touches. The conception and the pictorial rendering appear too full and expansive to allow one to think of Giorgione. Giorgione is considered as the inspirer of the picture, but here there is a greater force than is found in him and a style of painting which is in a certain sense broader. The episode represented (a mere excuse for the presentation of the three ages of man) might well be entitled “Musical Moment”. While the elegant youth is absent and distracted, while the old monk seems as it were to placate us with his slow gesture and his intense look in which there is a pitiful sense of comprehension, the young monk in the centre in all his fullness of life “assumes to us the most sublime personification of music and of its bewildering emotions… The figures in the picture are three but such is the intensity of life in the monk who plays than the others seem far away from us – the weakened echoes of great warm voice of passion. (Adolfo Venturi)” The colour is warm and deep; it constructs, it illumines – the living expression of a security of modelling and design which is present and necessary but is subjugated to the poetry of colour.”

    Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (pronounced [titˈtsjaːno veˈtʃɛlljo]; c. 1488/1490– 27 August 1576), known in English as Titian /ˈtɪʃən/, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto, Republic of Venice). During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.  Recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars” (recalling the famous final line of Dante’s Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.  During the course of his long life, Titian’s artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting [Wikipedia Biography].

    Biography of Titian

    The greatest painter of the Venetian School. The evidence for his birthdate is contradictory, but he was certainly very old when he died. He was probably a pupil of Giovanni Bellini, and in his early work he came under the spell of Giorgione, with whom he had a close relationship. In 1508 he assisted him with the external fresco decoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice, and after Giorgione’s early death in 1510 it fell to Titian to complete a number of his unfinished paintings. The authorship of certain works (some of them famous) is still disputed between them.

    Titian’s first major independent commission was for three frescoes on the life of St Antony of Padua in the Scuola del Santo, Padua (1511), noble and dignified paintings suggesting an almost central Italian firmness and monumentality. When he returned to Venice, Giorgione having died and Sebastiano having gone to Rome, the aged Bellini alone stood between him and supremacy, and that only until 1516 when Bellini died and Titian became official painter to the Republic. He maintained his position as the leading painter in the city until his death sixty years later.

    In the second decade of the century Titian broke free from the stylistic domination of Giorgione and developed a manner of his own. Something of a fusion between Titian’s worldliness and Giorgione’s poetry is seen in the enigmatic allegory known as Sacred and Profane Love (Borghese Gallery, Rome, c. 1515), but his style soon became much more dynamic. This work inaugurated a brilliant period in Titian’s creative career during which he produced splendid religious, mythological, and portrait paintings, original in conception and vivid with colour and movement.

    The work that more than any other established his reputation is the huge altarpiece of The Assumption of the Virgin (Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice, 1516-18). It is the largest picture he ever painted and one of the greatest, matching the achievements of his most illustrious contemporaries in Rome in grandeur of form and surpassing them in splendour of colour. The soaring movement of the Virgin, rising from the tempestuous group of Apostles towards the hovering figure of God the Father looks forward to the Baroque. Similar qualities are seen in his two most famous altarpieces of the 1520s: the Pesaro altarpiece (Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice, 1519-26), a bold diagonal composition of great magnificence, and The Death of St Peter Martyr (completed 1530), which he painted for the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, having defeated Palma Vecchio and Pordenone in competition for the commission. The painting was destroyed by fire in 1867, but it is known through copies and engraving; trees and figures together form a violent centrifugal composition suited to the action, and Vasari described it as ‘the most celebrated, the greatest work… that Titian has ever done’.

    Titian had important secular as well as ecclesiastical patrons in this energetic period of his career, one of his most important commissions being three mythological pictures (1518-23) for Alfonso d’Este – the Worship of Venus, the Bacchanal (both in the Prado, Madrid), and the Bacchus and Ariadne (National Gallery, London). Outstanding among his portraits of the time is the exquisite Man with a Glove (Louvre, Paris, c. 1520).

    About 1530, the year in which his wife died, a change in Titian’s manner becomes apparent. The vivacity of former years gave way to a more restrained and meditative art. He now began to use related rather than contrasting colours in juxtaposition, yellows and pale shades rather than the strong blues and reds of his previous work. In composition too he became less adventurous and used schemes which, compared with some of his earlier works, appear almost archaic. Thus his large Presentation of the Virgin (Accademia, Venice, 1534-38) makes use of the relief-like frieze composition dear to the quattrocento. During the 1530s Titian’s fame spread throughout Europe. In 1530 he first met the emperor Charles V (in Bologna, where he was crowned in that year) and in 1533 he painted a famous portrait of him (Prado) based on a portrait by the Austrian Seisenegger. Charles was so pleased with it that he appointed Titian court painter and elevated him to the rank of Count Palatine and Knight of the Golden Spur – an unprecedented honour for a painter. At the same time his works were increasingly sought after by Italian princes, as with the celebrated Venus of Urbino (Uffizi, Florence, c. 1538), named after its owner, Guidobaldo, Duke of Camerino, who later became Duke of Urbino. The pose is based on Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden), but Titian substitutes a direct sensual appeal for Giorgione’s idyllic remoteness.

    Early in the 1540s Titian came under the influence of central and north Italian Mannerism, and in 1545-46 he made his first and only journey to Rome. There he was deeply impressed not only by modern works such as Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, but also by the remains of antiquity. His own paintings during this visit aroused much interest, his Danae (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples) being praised for its handling and colour and (according to Vasari) criticized for its inexact drawing by Michelangelo. Titian also painted in Rome the famous portrait of Pope Paul III and his Nephews (Museo di Capodimonte). The decade closed with further imperial commissions. In 1548 the emperor summoned Titian to Augsburg, where he painted both a formal equestrian portrait (Charles V at the Battle of Muhlberg, Prado) and a more intimate one showing him seated in an armchair (Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

    He travelled to Augsburg again in 1550 and this time painted portraits of Charles’s son, the future Philip II of Spain, who was to be the greatest patron of his later career. Titian’s work for Philip included a series of seven erotic mythological subjects (c. 1550 – c. 1562): Danae and Venus and Adonis (Prado), Perseus and Andromeda (Wallace Collection, London), The Rape of Europa (Gardner Museum, Boston), Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto (National Gallery of Scotland), and The Death of Actaeon (National Gallery, London). Titian referred to these pictures as ‘poesie’, and they are indeed highly poetic visions of distant worlds, quite different from the sensual realities of his earlier mythological paintings.

    Titian ran a busy studio, his assistants including his brother Francesco Vecellio (c. 1490-1559/60), his son Orazio, and his cousin Cesare. Of these only Francesco seems to have had any individual substance as a painter, but his oeuvre is not well defined. During the last twenty years of his life Titian’s personal works, as opposed to those produced under his supervision and with his intervention, showed an increasing looseness in the handling and a sensitive merging of subdued colours, so that outlines disappear and the forms become more immaterial. With this went a growing emphasis on intimate pathos rather than external drama. About 1550-55 he had painted a powerful Martyrdom of St Lawrence (Gesuiti, Venice), which had affinities with Mannerism in the types and movements of the figures. In 1564-67 he repeated the picture (Escorial, Madrid), but now the light, which played a dramatic part in the first version, became the chief feature, creating and dissolving forms.

    His interest in new pictorial conceptions waned but his powers remained undimmed until the end, his career closing with the awe-inspiring Pietŕ (Accademia, Venice, 1573-76), intended for his own tomb and finished after his death by Palma Giovane.

    Titian was recognized as a towering genius in his own time (Lomazzo described him as the ‘sun amidst small stars not only among the Italians but all the painters of the world’) and his reputation as one of the giants of art has never been seriously questioned. He was supreme in every branch of painting and his achievements were so varied – ranging from the joyous evocation of pagan antiquity in his early mythologies to the depths of tragedy in his late religious paintings — that he has been an inspiration to artists of very different character. Poussin, Rubens, and Velázquez are among the painters who have particularly revered him. In many subjects, above all in portraiture, he set patterns that were followed by generations of artists. His free and expressive brushwork revolutionized the oil technique: Vasari wrote that his late works ‘are executed with bold, sweeping strokes, and in patches of colour, with the result that they cannot be viewed from near by, but appear perfect at a distance… The method he used is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, for it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but it conceals the labour that has gone into them.’ His greatness as an artist, it appears, was not matched by his character, for he was notoriously avaricious. In spite of his wealth and status, he claimed he was impoverished, and his exaggerations about his age (by which he hoped to pull at the heartstrings of patrons) are one of the sources of confusion about his birthdate. Jacopo Bassano caricatured him as a moneylender in his Purification of the Temple (National Gallery, London). Titian, however, was lavish in his hospitality towards his friends, who included the poet Pietro Aretino and the sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino. These three were so close that they were known in Venice as the triumvirate, and they used their influence with their respective patrons to further each other’s careers.

    Workshop of Titian

    In August 1530 Titian moved his two boys and infant daughter to a new home, and convinced his sister Orsa to come from Cadore and take charge of the household. The mansion, difficult to find now, is in the Biri Grande, then a fashionable suburb, at the extreme end of Venice, on the sea, with beautiful gardens and a view towards Murano. In about 1526 he had become acquainted, and soon close friends, with Pietro Aretino, the influential and audacious figure who features so strangely in the chronicles of the time. Titian sent a portrait of him to Gonzaga, duke of Mantua.  Several other artists of the Vecelli family followed in the wake of Titian. Francesco Vecellio, his older brother, was introduced to painting by Titian (it is said at the age of twelve, but chronology will hardly admit of this), and painted in the church of S. Vito in Cadore a picture of the titular saint armed. This was a noteworthy performance, of which Titian (the usual story) became jealous; so Francesco was diverted from painting to soldiering, and afterwards to mercantile life. Marco Vecellio, called Marco di Tiziano, Titian’s nephew, born in 1545, was constantly with the master in his old age, and learned his methods of work. He has left some able productions in the ducal palace, the Meeting of Charles V. and Clement VII. in 1529; in S. Giacomo di Rialto, an Annunciation; in SS. Giovani e Paolo, Christ Fulminant. A son of Marco, named Tiziano (or Tizianello), painted early in the 17th century.  From a different branch of the family came Fabrizio di Ettore, a painter who died in 1580. His brother Cesare, who also left some pictures, is well known by his book of engraved costumes, Abiti antichi e moderni. Tommaso Vecelli, also a painter, died in 1620. There was another relative, Girolamo Dante, who, being a scholar and assistant of Titian, was called Girolamo di Tiziano. Various pictures of his were touched up by the master, and are difficult to distinguish from originals.  Few of the pupils and assistants of Titian became well known in their own right; for some being his assistant was probably a lifetime career. Paris Bordone and Bonifazio Veronese were his assistants during at some point in their careers. Giulio Clovio said Titian employed El Greco (or Dominikos Theotokopoulos) in his last years. Polidoro da Lanciano is said to have been a follower or pupil of Titian. Other followers were Nadalino da Murano and Damiano Mazza.

  • Date

    16th Century








    XL (greater than 40 in.)