A lost 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 (estimate 1-1.5 million euros).
The Penitent Magdalen was the most successful and frequently requested subject by Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (1485/90-1576). 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 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 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 of Orléans. 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.
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