The Rubens House welcomes a masterpiece by Titian

Preparations are already under way for “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires” in the Rubens House. To mark this occasion, the Antwerp museum recently received another long-term loan, namely a masterpiece by the Venetian master Titian.

A Venetian master

After the “Hidden van Dyck” (the portrait of a bearded Brussels magistrate) and David Bowie’s Tintoretto (St. Catharine), the Rubens House is now also exhibiting a work by the Venetian master Titian (b. 1485/90 – d. 1576). The remarkable “unfinished” double portrait depicts a patrician mother and daughter. With this loan, the Rubens House can finally also show a work by one of the greatest Italian Renaissance painters. The works of Italian masters are relatively rare in Flemish collections and as such, the painting fills a major gap in the museum’s permanent exhibition. In addition to Bowie’s Tintoretto, it is just one of the many works that inspired Rubens.

Rubens and van Dyck both admired Titian, studying the master’s work at length as well as copying and collecting it. On the social level, the Venetian painter was also an important role model for Rubens and van Dyck.

Double portrait of a patrician mother and daughter

The portrait is both monumental and tender. What makes this painting so unique is the gaze which the young girl directs at her mother. To date, the identity of the young mother and her daughter remains shrouded in mystery. There has often been speculation that Titian portrayed his mistress and her illegitimate daughter here. This tantalising biographical detail may explain why the work was painted over shortly after the master’s death. In 1948, the canvas was x-rayed, revealing the existence of a second painting beneath. The restoration finally commenced in 1983 and would take twenty years.

Rubens' Return

On the occasion of “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires”, the Rubens House’s collection will be further supplemented with a dozen unique masterpieces, including loans of works by Italian masters who inspired Rubens, works by some of his most talented apprentices and masterpieces by Rubens himself, which will return to the location for which they were originally painted for the very first time since their departure.

Time to (re-)visit the Rubens House in other words!

Titian’s double portrait is already on display in the Rubens House.

Further information about “Rubens' Return” at the Rubens House during “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires”.



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