This is among the earliest devotional paintings of the Madonna and Child by Titian, dating to about 1508. Technical study has revealed that the artist first posed the figures sitting erect and in the center of the canvas, a composition closer to those by Giovanni Bellini. The final pose is more informal and suggests a tender rapport between the mother and child. The picture has been strongly cleaned in the past and has lost much of its delicacy of definition.
Jean de Jullienne, Paris (by about 1756–d. 1766; his estate sale, Remy & Julliot, Paris, March 30–May 22, 1767, no. 41, as by Titian, for 330.19 livres to ?Langley); Brownlow Cecil, 9th Earl of Exeter, Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire (until d. 1793); his nephew, Henry Cecil, 1st Marquess of Exeter, Burghley House (1793–d. 1804); Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Exeter, Burghley House (1804–d. 1867); William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter, Burghley House (1867–88; his sale, Christie's, London, June 9, 1888, no. 303, as by Titian, for £110.5 or £110 to Benson); Robert H. and Evelyn Benson, London (1888–1927; cat., 1914, no. 90, as Ascribed to Titian; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, London and New York, 1927–28; sold to Mellon]; Andrew W. Mellon, Washington (1928); [Duveen, New York, 1928; sold for $275,000 to Bache]; Jules S. Bache, New York (1928–d. 1944; his estate, 1944–49; cats., 1929, unnumbered; 1937, no. 16; 1943, no. 15)
London. New Gallery. "Venetian Art," 1894–95, no. 1 (as Ascribed by C. and C. to Titian, lent by Mrs. R. H. Benson).
London. Burlington Fine Arts Club. "A Collection of Pictures, Drawings, Cloisonné Enamels, Decorative Furniture and Other Works of Art," 1905, no. 44 (as Assigned by Crowe and Cavalcaselle to Titian, lent by Robert H. Benson).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January 3–March 12, 1910, no. 57 (as Ascribed to Titian, lent by R. H. Benson).
London. Burlington Fine Arts Club. "The Venetian School: Pictures by Titian and his Contemporaries," May–July 1914, no. 26 (as by Titian or a contemporary, lent by R. H. Benson).
City of Manchester Art Gallery. "Loan Exhibition of the Benson Collection of Old Italian Masters," April 27–July 30, 1927, no. 31 (as Attributed to Titian).
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Sixth Loan Exhibition of Old Masters: Paintings by Titian," February 1–15, 1928, no. 1 (lent by Hon. Andrew W. Mellon, Washington, D.C.).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bache Collection," June 16–September 30, 1943, no. 15 (as by Titian).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
Denver Art Museum. "Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance," October 2, 2016–February 12, 2017, no. 41.
Raleigh. North Carolina Museum of Art. "Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance," March 4–June 18, 2017, no. 41.
Catalogue des tableaux de Mr. de Jullienne. [ca. 1756], pp. 51–52, no. 93, ill. [Morgan Library & Museum, New York; see Ref. Tillerot 2010].
Pierre Jean Mariette. handwritten annotations to his copy of the Jullienne sale catalogue.  [National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; published in Edouard Kopp and Jennifer Tonkovich, ed. "Appendix." Jean de Jullienne: Collector & Connoisseur. Exh. cat., Wallace Collection, London, 2011, p. 136], writes that "C'est payer cher un fort mediocre tableau & presque tout repeint".
[Thomas Blore]. A Guide to Burghley House, Northamptonshire. Stamford, 1815, p. 117, lists it as Virgin and Child by Titian, in the green dressing room.
G[iovanni].-B[attista]. Cavalcaselle and J[oseph].-A[rcher]. Crowe. Tiziano, la sua vita e i suoi tempi. Vol. 1, repr., 1974. Florence, 1877, p. 90 [English ed., "The Life and Times of Titian," London, 1881, vol. 1, p. 111], attribute it to Titian, mentioning it in connection with the Madonna and Child with Saints Bridget and Ulfo (Museo del Prado, Madrid).
E[sic, for Georg]. Gronau. "L'art vénitien à Londres, à propos de l'exposition de la New Gallery (troisième et dernier article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 13 (May 1895), p. 432, notes that after long being considered a work of Titian's youth, it is now unattributed; finds that the Child resembles the late work of Giovanni Bellini and the Madonna vaguely recalls the women of Palma Vecchio; adds that the painting is definitely not an early work.
Bernhard Berenson. The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance. 3rd ed. New York, 1897, p. 90, lists it tentatively as an early work by Domenico Caprioli.
Claude Phillips. Titian: A Study of his Life and Work. London, 1898, pp. 25–26, attributes it to "some at present anonymous Venetian of the second order, standing midway between the young Giorgione and the young Titian".
Herbert Cook. Giorgione. London, 1900, pp. 97, 101–2, 128, ill. opp. p. 100, attributes it to Giorgione, along with the "Gypsy Madonna" (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) and a Madonna in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.
Salomon Reinach. Répertoire de peintures du moyen age et de la renaissance (1280–1580). Vol. 1, Paris, 1905, p. 115, ill. (engraving).
Lionel Cust. "La collection de M. R.-H. Benson." Les arts 6 (October 1907), pp. 12, 14, ill. p. 27, attributes it to Titian.
C[ostanza]. J[ocelyn]. Ffoulkes. "Corrieri." L'arte 13, no. 39 (1910), p. 305, notes the proposed attributions to Titian and to Domenico Caprioli, but finds that no certain decision can be made.
Tancred Borenius. "Some Venetian Pictures in the Burlington House Exhibition." Burlington Magazine 16 (March 1910), p. 347, accepts the attribution to Domenico Caprioli, also noting connections to both Giorgione and Lotto.
Charles Ricketts. Titian. London, 1910, pp. 29, 177, pl. III, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1504–6; relates it to the Madonna in Vienna, which he dates slightly earlier.
Catalogue of Italian Pictures at 16, South Street, Park Lane, London and Buckhurst in Sussex collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson. London, 1914, pp. 181–82, no. 90, ill. opp. p. 181, as Ascribed to Titian; dates it 1500–1510; states that "if not an early work of Titian, it must be by some contemporary under the strong influence of Giorgione";.
Frank E. Washburn Freund. "Die Sammlung Benson." Der Cicerone 19, no. 16 (1927), pp. 497, 502, ill. p. 500, attributes it to Titian.
Frank E. Washburn Freund. "Leih-Ausstellungen in Amerikanischen Museen." Der Cicerone 20 (1928), p. 258, notes that Duveen sold it to Mellon.
Fritz Heinemann. Tizian: Die zwei ersten Jahrzehnte seiner künstlerischen Entwicklung. PhD diss., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Munich, 1928, pp. 43, 72, includes it as two different works, one in the collection of the Marquess of Exeter and one in the collection of Andrew Mellon; attributes the Mellon picture to an anonymous artist from Titian's studio whom he calls the Master of the Benson Madonna and to whom he also gives a Holy Family (Bridgewater House, London), a portrait of a man (Frick Collection, New York), and a head of a young man (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt).
Bernard Berenson. "The Missing Head of the Glasgow 'Christ and Adulteress'." Art in America 16 (June 1928), pp. 153–54, fig. 7, attributes it to Titian.
Walter Heil. "The Jules Bache Collection." Art News 27 (April 27, 1929), pp. 3–4, ill. p. 33 (color).
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Collection of Jules S. Bache. New York, 1929, unpaginated, ill., as by Titian.
Esther Singleton. Old World Masters in New World Collections. New York, 1929, pp. 140–43, ill.
August L. Mayer. "Die Sammlung Jules Bache in New-York." Pantheon 6 (December 1930), p. 542, attributes it to Titian and calls it very early.
Georg Gronau inUnknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. Ed. Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Vol. 1, London, 1930, unpaginated, no. 22, ill.
Lionello Venturi. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931, unpaginated, pl. CCCLXXV.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 573, lists it as an early work by Titian.
Lionello Venturi. Italian Paintings in America. Vol. 3, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century. New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 506, attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1510.
Wilhelm Suida. Tizian. Zürich, 1933, pp. 25, 158, pl. LXXV, attributes it to Titian and dates it slightly earlier than the Madonna in Madrid.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 493.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. under revision. New York, 1937, unpaginated, no. 16, ill.
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 152, ill., as by Titian, about 1510.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. rev. ed. New York, 1943, unpaginated, no. 15, ill.
Roberto Longhi. Viatico per cinque secoli di pittura veneziana. Florence, 1946, p. 64, pl. 109 (detail), attributes it to Titian and dates it before 1510.
Ferdinando Bologna. "La Sacra Conversazione di Monaco: argomenti per la restituzione di un Tiziano." Paragone 2 (May 1951), pp. 23, 28, attributes it to Titian and dates it before 1511.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano: Lezioni tenute alla Facoltà di Lettere dell'Università di Bologna durante l'Anno 1953–54. Bologna, [1953–54], vol. 1, p. 51, attributes it to Titian.
Gian Alberto Dell'Acqua. Tiziano. Milan, 1955, pp. 52, 105, pl. 3, calls it an early work by Titian.
P. G[uth]. "Les collectionneurs." Connaissance des arts no. 50 (April 1956), p. 65, ill. opp. p. 65 (color), identifies this picture with one illustrated in a wall elevation from a sketchbook, attributed to the workshop of Boucher and tentatively dated about 1756, and depicting paintings in the collection of Jean de Jullienne.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 189; vol. 2, pl. 948, dates it about 1510.
Francesco Valcanover. Tutta la pittura di Tiziano. Milan, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 15, 46, pl. 13 [English ed., "All the Paintings of Titian," New York, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 17, 49, pl. 13], attributes it to Titian and relates it to the Circumcision in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.
Francesco Valcanover inL'opera completa di Tiziano. repr., 1978. Milan, 1969, p. 92, no. 20, ill., dates it about 1510.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. Tiziano. Florence, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 12, 37, 240; vol. 2, pl. 59, dates it about 1511.
Harold E. Wethey. The Paintings of Titian. Vol. 1, The Religious Paintings. London, 1969, pp. 98–99, no. 48, pl. 5, tentatively attributes it to Titian, about 1511, stating that "the poor condition makes judgment difficult".
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy: 1500 to 1600. Harmondsworth, England, 1971, p. 478 n. 40, includes it "with reserve" among pictures he attributes to Titian, and dates it 1509–10.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 202, 337, 608.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, pp. 79–81, pl. 94, date it about 1510 or earlier; note that the figure of the Child is damaged by old restorations, and that the removal of added strips during recent cleaning has returned the panel to its original dimensions.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 247, 250, fig. 444 (color).
Alessandro Ballarin. "Tiziano prima del fondaco dei tedeschi." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, p. 495 n. 5.
Jean Rudel. "Quelques remarque sur la technique de la composition chez Titien: schemes et structures plastiques." Tiziano e Venezia. Vicenza, 1980, p. 197 n. 19, dates it 1510.
David Alan Brown inTitian: Prince of Painters. Exh. cat., Palazzo Ducale. Venice, 1990, p. 66 n. 19, rejects the attribution to Titian, ascribing it instead to Domenico Mancini.
Alessandro Ballarin inLe siècle de Titien: L'âge d'or de la peinture à Venise. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1993, pp. 319–20, 322, ill. p. 306 [2nd ed., rev. and corr., 1993, pp. 370–71, 374, ill. p. 358], dates it about 1506–7.
Michel Laclotte inLe siècle de Titien: L'âge d'or de la peinture à Venise. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1993, p. 269 [2nd ed., rev. and corr., 1993, p. 269], accepts the attribution to Titian.
Arthur Steinberg. "Blurred Boundaries, Opulent Nature, and Sensuous Flesh: Changing Technological Styles in Venetian Painting, 1480–1520." Titian 500. Washington, 1993, pp. 205, 219 n. 30, fig. 6 (infrared reflectogram, detail), dates it about 1507; reports that infrared reflectographs of the picture show that Titian first sketched the figures—originally with both heads in different positions, then repositioned them, and finally painted them in.
Paul Joannides. "Two Topics in the Early Work of Titian." Apollo 140 (October 1994), pp. 24–27, colorpl. I, figs. 13, 15 (infrared reflectographs, details), 14, 16 (x-radiographs, overall and detail), attributes it to Titian, finding it most similar to the Holy Family in the National Gallery, London, and dating both works about 1512.
Francesco Valcanover. Tiziano: i suoi pennelli sempre partorirono espressioni di vita. Florence, 1999, p. 261, dates it about 1507.
Filippo Pedrocco. Titian. New York, 2001, pp. 22, 70–71, 77–78, no. 3, ill. (color), attributes it to Titian and dates it about 1507–8, finding it especially similar to the Madonna and Child in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.
Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, p. 493, comments that although it is still attributed to Titian by the MMA, "present opinion is that the painting has suffered from damage and extensive restoration and the attribution to Titian is doubtful".
Patricia Meilman inThe Cambridge Companion to Titian. Ed. Patricia Meilman. Cambridge, 2004, pp. 9, 59, dates it about 1506.
Andrea Bayer. "North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Venice and the Veneto." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Summer 2005), pp. 6–7, figs. 4 (color), 5 (infrared reflectogram).
Paul Hills. "Titian's Veils." Art History 29 (November 2006), pp. 777–79, pl. 1.7.
Isabelle Tillerot. Jean de Jullienne et les collectionneurs de son temps: un regard singulier sur le tableau. Paris, 2010, pp. 218, 433–34, no. 492, fig. 66, colorpl. XXI, illustrates plate 19 of the 1756 Jullienne catalogue showing the "2ème Cabinet de M[onsieur]. Côté de la cheminée".
Jennifer Tonkovich in Christoph Martin Vogtherr and Jennifer Tonkovich. Jean de Jullienne: Collector & Connoisseur. Exh. cat., Wallace Collection. London, 2011, ill. p. 65, illustrates plate 19 from the 1756 Jullienne collection catalogue showing the elevation of the "2ème Cabinet de M[onsieur]", including this work at middle right.
Irina Artemieva. "New Light on Titian's 'Flight into Egypt' in the Hermitage." Burlington Magazine 154 (January 2012), p. 10, finds the figure of Mary similar to those in the "Flight into Egypt" (Hermitage, St. Petersburg) and the "Rest on the Flight into Egypt" (Marquess of Bath, Longleat), and to that of a Madonna in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.
Rochelle Ziskin. Sheltering Art: Collecting and Social Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris. University Park, Pa., 2012, p. 196.
Renaissance. Christie's, New York. January 29, 2014, p. 36, under no. 111.
Old Master & British Paintings: Day Sale. Christie's, London. December 3, 2014, p. 74, under no. 164, mentions it in the entry for a painting with a similar composition by Girolamo Romanino dated to the 1540s.
Michel Hochmann. Colorito: La technique des peintres vénitiens à la Renaissance. Turnhout, 2015, pp. 48, 50, 286, fig. 30 (infrared reflectogram).
Angelica Daneo inGlory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance. Ed. Angelica Daneo. Exh. cat., Denver Art Museum. Denver, 2016, pp. 104–5, no. 41, ill. pp. 102, 105 (color, overall and detail).
Karen Serres. "Duveen's Italian Framemaker, Ferruccio Vannoni." Burlington Magazine 159 (May 2017), p. 374, fig. 19 (color, framed).
Artist: Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice)Date: ca. 1505–10Medium: Pen and brown ink, highlighted with white gouache on fine, off-white laid paperAccession: 1999.28On view in:Not on view
Artist: Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice)Date: 1485/90–1576Medium: Pen and brown ink, traces of gray printer's ink at lower right, on beige paperAccession: 08.227.38On view in:Not on view