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Inscription

lower right on wood block held by sitter: T. VECELLIVS P./ AET.LXXXIV. / ANNO MDLXI.

Provenance

Possibly Cavaliere Francesco Fontana, Venice, by 1676 (as by Titian).[1] Paolo Paolini, Rome, 1894;[2] (his sale, American Art Association, New York, 10-11 December 1924, no. 116, as by Titian); purchased by R. M. Catts (as by Titian).[3] (Van Diemen Galleries, New York), by 1928 (as by Titian);[4] William Robert Timken [1866-1949] and Lillian Guyer Timken [1881-1959], Croton-on-Hudson, New York, by 1931,[5] and following Mr. Timken's death, New York City;[6] bequest 1960 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1929
Van Diemen Galleries, New York, 1929, as by Titian.
1939
Masterpieces of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300-1800, New York World's Fair, 1939, no. 387, as by Titian.
1967
The Art of Venice: An Exhibition of Five Works of Venetian Masters on extended loan from The Lending Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Tampa Bay Art Center, University of Tampa, Florida, 1967-1969, p. 2-3, repro.
1969
Loan for display with permanent collection, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, 1969.
2007
Tiziano: l'ultimo atto, Palazzo Crepadona, Belluno, 2007-2008, no. 8, repro.
Bibliography
1929
"Notes of the Month." International Studio 93 (1929): 56-58, repro., as Self-Portrait by Titian.
1929
Washburn-Freund, Frank E. "Altmeister-Austellung in New York." Der Cicerone 21 (1929): 190-192, repro., as Self-Portrait by Titian.
1931
Richter, George Martin. "Two Titian Self-Portraits." The Burlington Magazine 58 (1931): 137, as Self-Portrait by Titian.
1931
Venturi, Lionello. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931. Translated as Italian Paintings in America. 3 vols. New York and Milan, 1933: pl. 389, as Self-Portrait by Titian.
1938
Mather, Frank Jewett, Jr. "When was Titian Born?" The Art Bulletin 20, no. 1 (March 1938): 20. As Self-Portrait by Titian.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 131, as Self-Portrait, Attributed to Titian.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 118, repro., as Self-Portrait, Attributed to Titian.
1969
Wethey, Harold. The Paintings of Titian. 3 vols. London, 1969-1975: 2(1971):179-180, no. X-93, pl. 273, as a 17th century forgery.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 203, as by Follower of Titian.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 348, repro., as Self-Portrait, Attributed to Titian.
1976
Rosand, David, and Michelangelo Muraro. Titian and the Venetian Woodcut. Washington, D.C., 1976-1977: 202 (doubts attribution to Titian).
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:518-521, II:pl. 362, 362A, as Self Portrait of Titian, Attributed to Pietro della Vecchia.
1980
Tiziano e Venezia. Convegno internazionale di studi. Venezia, 1976. Vicenza, 1980: 299, as 17th century.
1981
Pallucchini, Rodolfo. La pittura veneziana del seicento. 2 vols. Milan, 1981: 1:174; 2:fig. 515, as by Pietro della Vecchia.
1983
Bernabei, Franco. "Il problema dell'identificazione stilistica in Marco Boschini." Arte Veneta 115 (1983): fig. 4, 118, as by Pietro della Vecchia.
1984
Aikema, Bernard. "Pietro della Vecchia: A Profile." Saggi e Memorie di Storia dell'Arte 14 (1984): 92, as by Pietro della Vecchia.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 398, repro., as Self-Portrait, Attributed to Titian.
1990
Aikema, Bernard. Pietro della Vecchi and the Heritage of the Renaissance in Venice. Florence, 1990: 142, cat. 173, fig. 57, as by Pietro della Vecchia.
1996
De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 328-333, repro. 331.
Technical Summary

The support is a plain-weave, medium-weight fabric. X-radiographs reveal another composition under the surface layer. At the center a female figure turns to the left with her breasts bared and her right arm drawn across her waist. A fist holding a dagger is visible at the right edge of the support. The shadow in the upper-left quadrant of the x-radiographs suggests the presence of another figure, and a layer of pink is visible with a stereomicroscope. Examination also reveals an overall warm dark red layer, but it cannot be determined if this is the ground or an intermediate layer between the compositions. X-radiographs also reveal that the sitter's left pupil was moved slightly to the right. The paint was applied thinly except in lighter passages.

There is cusping along all four of the fabric edges. The paint is abraded and has scattered losses throughout, especially in the sitter's head, beard, and hands, and the statue in the background. The discolored varnish is thinner over the lighter areas, exaggerating the contrast between the light and dark areas. The painting, which was lined at an unknown date, has not been treated since acquisition.