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Saint Margaret
Tiziano, Vecellio di Gregorio
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Tiziano, Vecellio di Gregorio

Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Véneto, 1490 - Venecia, 1576

Miniatura autor

Saint Margaret

Ca. 1565. Oil on canvas, 209 x 183 cm.

Philip II owned two pictures of this saint painted by Titian. The first can be identified with the portrait of Saint Margaret mentioned by the painter in a letter sent to the then Prince Philip on II October 1552. This painting came to the Escorial in 1574 and remains there. The version in the Museo del Prado is later and of better quality. It probably belonged to Mary of Hungary. While it is not mentioned in her inventories, an engraving by Luca Bertelli of Saint Margaret bears the inscription, Titiani Vecelei aequitis Cae Reginae Mariae Imp. Caroli V. Sororis Opus. As with other paintings belonging to Mary, it passed after her death to Philip II, although the first subsequent reference is provided by Francisco Pacheco in his Arte de la pintura (1649), who mentions it as being in the church of San Jeronimo in Madrid, a royal institution. Pacheco criticised Titian for having shown the saint with the leg almost completely nude to above the knee, a statement which he copied from Lodovico Dolce, according to Wethey.

The story of Saint Margaret, a third-century Antioch virgin martyred by Diocletian, was recounted in Jacopo de Voragine´s Golden Legend. According to Voragine, while the saint was in prison, she asked God to be able to see her enemy, at which point a dragon appeared with the intention of devouring her, but disappeared when she made the sign of the cross. Titian does not represent this passage, but rather another which even Voragine stated to be a legend, in which the dragon swallows the saint, who then makes the sign of the cross at which point the dragon bursts and she emerges unharmed. Despite the Council of Trent´s ban on the representation of such unhistorical events, Titian placed pictorial tradition over ecclesiastical admonitions. His debt here to Raphael´s Saint Margaret is evident, a painting brought to Venice in the early sixteenth century by Cardinal Grimani. In both works a rock acts as the backdrop to the action while the saint emerges from the dragon in graceful contrapposto. The manner in which the saint reveals her forward leg in a similar way to Raphael´s figure, recalls Giorgione´s Judith (Saint Petersburg, Hermitage). Elements such as the burning city, the cross held by the saint and the skull in the lower right corner are not normally found in the iconography of Saint Margaret, and were attributed by Panofsky to a confusion with the story of Saint Martha and Saint George.

Titian painted in very diluted oil on a prepared ground of calcium carbonate which would explain the thinness of the paint layer, allowing us to see the weave of the canvas. There is a formal dissociation evident between the figures and the landscape found in his works of the 1550s. Saint Margaret is more highly finished, her head and arms outlined with a black line comparable to the woman seen from behind in The Glory, who also wears the same green colour. In the landscape, however, the forms loose their precision, creating an effective illusionistic interplay with the view of Venice burning in the background and the moon glimmering on the lagoon with a small boat on its waters.

Saint Margaret was enormously successful, to judge from surviving and documented copies. The collection Heinz Kisters (Kreuzlingen) has one such which some scholars have accepted as autograph, formerly in the collection of Charles I of England where it is recorded in 1639. Given its origins and inferior quality, it is likely to be by Michael Cross, whom Vicente Carducho states to have copied works by Titian in the Spanish royal collection for the then Prince Charles. Saint Margaret was listed in inventories of 1666 and 1734 in the Madrid Alcazar. In 1746 it was in the Buen Retiro, then the Palacio Real Nuevo. It entered the Museo del Prado in 1821 (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Tiziano, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2003, pp. 398-399).


Technical data

Inventory number
Tiziano, Vecellio di Gregorio
Saint Margaret
Ca. 1565
High/Height: 209 cm.; Width: 183 cm.
Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, "pinturas recogidas de las Casas Arzobispales", 1747, no. 59; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "paso de tribuna y trascuartos", 1772, no. 59; Royal Palace, Madrid, "pieza azul", 1814-1818?).

Bibliography +

Inventario de Pinturas. Alcázar de Madrid., Madrid, 1666.

Inventario Palacio Real de Madrid., Madrid, 1686, pp. 35.

Inventario Real Palacio de Madrid, Madrid, 1734.

Inventario Nuevo Palacio Real, Madrid, 1772.

Palacio Nuevo (Madrid), Madrid, 1794.

Inventario. Real Palacio de Madrid., Madrid, 1814.

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del R, Madrid [s.n, 1834, pp. 43.

Cavalcaselle, Giovanni Battista, Tiziano, la sua vita e i suoi tempi con alcune notizie della, Florencia successori Le Monnier, 1877.

Siguenza, Jose De, Historia Primitiva y Exacta del Monasterio de el Escorial, Madrid M.Tello, 1881, pp. 481.

Ricketts, C.S., The Prado and Its Masterpieces, Westminster Archibald Constable and Company, 1903, pp. 146.

Gronau, Georg, Titian, Londres-Nueva York Duckworth and Co.Charles Scribners, 1911, pp. 186.

Beroqui, P., Tiziano en el Museo del Prado CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES, 1927, pp. 97.

Suida, Wilhelm, Le Titien, Paris Weber, 1935, pp. lám. 262.

Beroqui, Pedro (m. 1958)), Tiziano en el Museo del Prado., Madrid Hauser y Menet,, 1946, pp. 130.

Lorente, M., La santa Margarita de Tiziano en El Escorial DPTO. Hº ARTE DIEGO VELAZQUEZ, 1951, pp. 67.

Tüngel, Richard, 400 Jahre Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte im Prado, Zurich Schweizer Verlagshaus, 1964, pp. lám. 40.

Ceán Bermúdez, Juan Agustín1749-1829, Diccionario histórico de los más ilustres profesores de las, Madrid Reales Academias de Bellas Artes de San Fernando y, 1965, pp. 40.

Wethey, Harold E.1902-1984, The paintings of Titian, Londres Phaidon, 1969.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo, Tiziano. Vol. I, Florencia G.C.Sansoni, 1969, pp. lám. 498.

Panofsky, Erwin1892-1968, Problems in Titian. Mostly Iconographic, Londres-Nueva York PhaidonInstitute of Fine Arts, 1969, pp. lám. 56.

Cagli, Corrado, La obra pictórica completa de Tiziano, Barcelona Noguer, 1971.

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España, Madrid, 1972, pp. 38.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Madrid Museo del Prado, 1972.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, Madrid Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, 1975, pp. 25.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., Presencia de Tiziano en la España del Siglo de Oro FUNDACION LAZARO GALDIANO, 1976, pp. 140-160.

Rizzatti, Maria Luisa, Tiziano, Barcelona Editorial Marin, 1977, pp. 74.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo, Profilo Di Tiziano, Florencia Aldo Martello, 1977, pp. lám. LII.

Sutton, Denys, Charles Ricketts e Titian APOLLO MAGAZINE, 1978, pp. 430.

Rosand, David, Titian, Nueva York Harrry N.Abrams, 1978, pp. 39/lám. 50.

Freedberg, S.J., Pintura en Italia: 1500-1600, Madrid Cátedra, 1978, pp. 513.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Madrid Gredos, 1979, pp. 184-186.

Bettini, S., Tiziano e Venezia, Vicenza Neri Pozza, 1980, pp. lám. 368.

Hope, Charles, Titian, London Jupiter Book, 1980, pp. lám. XXIV.

Jacobo de VorágineBeato, La leyenda dorada, Madrid Alianza, 1982, pp. 376.

Jacobo de VorágineBeato, La leyenda dorada, Madrid Alianza, 1982, pp. 653.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, Madrid Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, 1985, pp. 424.

Museo Nacional del Prado., Museo del Prado : catálogo de las pinturas /, Madrid Museo del Prado,, 1985.

Museo Nacional del Prado., Museo del Prado : catálogo de las pinturas /, Madrid Museo del Prado,, 1985, pp. 708-709.

Anatra, Bruno, Venezia e la Spagna, Milan Electa, 1988, pp. 67/lám. 69.

Fernandez Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales. Carlos III. 1789-1790. Vol. I, Madrid Patrimonio Nacional, 1988, pp. 36.

Réau, Louis1881-1961, Iconographie de L'Art Chretien. T. I. Introduction Generale, Millwood Kraus Reprint, 1988.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Madrid Museo del PradoEspasa Calpe, 1990.

Walther, Angelo, Tizian, Leipzig E.A.Seemann Verlag, 1990, pp. lám. 83.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, Catálogo de las colecciones históricas de pintura veneciana, Madrid Editorial Patrimonio Nacional, 1991, pp. 53.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Felipe II: mecenas de las artes, Madrid Nerea, 1992, pp. 243.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pin, Madrid Nerea, 1994, pp. 256-257, n. 22.

Goffen, Rona, Titian's Women, New Haven; London : Yale University Press, 1997, pp. 176 / lám. 98.

Un principe del renacimiento: Felipe II, un monarca y su épo, Madrid Sociedad Estatal para la Commemoración de los cent, 1998, pp. 494.

Simposium Internacional.1999.Madrid, Tiziano. Tecnicas y Restauraciones. Actas del Simposium Inte, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 1999, pp. 67.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura italiana del Renacimiento: guía, Madrid Museo del PradoAldeasa, 1999, pp. 174.

Falomir Faus, Miguel1966-, Tiziano, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2003, pp. 258.

Puttfarken, Thomas, Titian & Tragic Painting : Aristotle's Poetics and the Rise, New Haven Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 123.

Der späte Tizian : und die Sinnlichkeit der Malerei : Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 2007, pp. 290.

Le botteghe di Tiziano : Alinari 24 ORE, 2009, pp. 258.

Arroyo Esteban, S., 'Tenedo pratica di Poeti, e d' huomini dotti' sobre Lodovico Dolce y Tiziano : Editorial de la Universidad Compl, 2011, pp. 41-56 [48].

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y las cortes del Renacimiento Marcial Pons Historia, 2013, pp. 463 f.64.

Falomir Faus, Miguel, 'Tiziano, María de Hungría y la alegoría.' En:, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2013, pp. 25-62 [57].

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe V, Buen Retiro, 1747. Núm. 59.
PINTURAS ENTREGADAS en dichas Casas Arzobispales a don Santiago de Bonavia [...] {11292} 59 / Otro [lienzo] de tres varas de alto y vn poco mas de dos de largo de santa Margarita original del Ticiano en nueve mil reales

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 59.
Paso de Tribuna y Trascuartos [...] {12699} 59 / Otro [quadro] de santa Margarita original de Ticiano de tres varas de alto y poco menos de dos y quarta de largo

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. ¿s. n.?.
Pieza Azul / Techo el Tiempo y la Fama [...] {21483} Santa Margarita con el dragon = Ticiano

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 851.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 851.
Tiziano. / 851. Santa Margarita. / Inmediato a los pies de la santa se ve muerto el dragon que la engullo viva, y del cual salio sin lesion haciendo la señal de la cruz. A la derecha del espectador una calavera indica cual era el alimento del monstruo. En el fondo se divisa una ciudad ardiendo. Tiene la santa una túnica verde que dibuja sus formas, dejando descubiertos sus brazos y una pierna. / Alto 8 pies, 8 pulg; ancho 6 pies, 6 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 469.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 445.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 445.

Exhibitions +

Tiziano maduro y la sensualidad de la pintura
01.02.2008 - 04.05.2008

Tiziano maduro y la sensualidad de la pintura
17.10.2007 - 06.01.2008

10.06.2003 - 07.09.2003

10.06.2003 - 07.09.2003

Location +

Room 025 (On Display)

Update date: 12-02-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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