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The Virgin and Child with Saints Dorothy and George
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
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Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Veneto (Italy), 1490 - Venice (Italy), 1576

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) See author's file

The Virgin and Child with Saints Dorothy and George

1515 - 1518. Oil on panel. Room 042

The authorship, dating and iconography of this work are all controversial. It was described as being by Titian in the Libro de entregas of the Escorial in 1593, an opinion maintained by Sigüenza but not by Cassiano dal Pozzo, who attributed it in 1626 to Giorgione, and it was described as such in 1839 when it entered the Museo del Prado. However, since Crowe and Cavalcaselle, it has been attributed almost unanimously to Titian. The dating of the work has varied between 1505 and 1520. Gronau suggested the former based on the undoubted similarity of Saint George with the Saint Roch in the Saint Mark Enthroned (Venice, Santa Maria della Salute), which he believed to have been painted in 1505 but which is now dated to 1511-12. Most scholars have, however, opted for a later date: Wethey located it around 1515, Pallucchini in 1516-18, and Joannides to as late as 1520. Nor is there complete agreement on the work´s iconography. The male saint is usually identified as Saint George, although Saint Hulfo, husband of Saint Bridget, has also been suggested. The female saint has been identified as Saint Catherine or Saint Dorothy, the latter being more likely due to the basket of fruit and roses which she offers the Christ Child, her normal iconographic attribute.

Once the attribution to Titian is accepted and the saints assumed to be George and Dorothy, the dating remains to be established. While the painting has links to works executed prior to 1515, such as the similarity with Saint George in the Salute altarpiece mentioned above, and the use of the same female model for Saint Dorothy and the Saint Catherine in The Virgin and Child with Saints and a Donor in the Fondazione Magnani Rocca, dated 1511-12, overall the work reveals a complexity that makes a later date more probable. This is evident in the monumentality of the figures (the half-length format which Titian started to use from 1516 onwards), and the luminosity of the colouring, which looks forward to the Assumption in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (1516-18). The present composition is also more dynamic and complex than other earlier ones. Here Titian has abandoned the axial layout of the sacra conversazioni and the traditional arrangement of the figures in a frieze, locating instead the Virgin and Child in the foreground turning to the right, with the saints behind approaching them from the left. A double curtain leaves a section of sky visible in the centre, giving movement to the whole and conveying the feeling that the saints have entered the space occupied by the mother and child.

The Virgin and Child with Saint Dorothy and Saint George was the earliest work by Titian owned by Philip II, who had it sent to the Escorial. It is not known how the monarch acquired it, but at the end of Titian´s life, when the decline in his artistic powers was evident, certain clients began to take an interest in his early works. This was the case with the Marquis of Ayamonte, Governor of Milan between 1573 and 1580, and his example was probably also followed by other members of the Spanish court. The painting entered the Museo del Prado in 1839.

Falomir Faus, Miguel, Tiziano, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2003, p.156


Technical data

Related artworks

Inventory number
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
The Virgin and Child with Saints Dorothy and George
1515 - 1518
Height: 86 cm.; Width: 130 cm.
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España, I, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1776, pp. 82.

Siguenza, Jose De, Historia Primitiva y Exacta del Monasterio de el Escorial, M.Tello, Madrid, 1881, pp. 482.

Berenson, Bernard1865-1959, The Venetian painters of the Renaissance: with an index to their works, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Nueva York.Londres, 1894, pp. 142.

Ricketts, C.S., The Prado and It's Masterpieces, Archibald Constable and Company, Westminster, 1903, pp. 120.

Gronau, Georg, Titian, Duckworth and Co.Charles Scribners, Londres-Nueva York, 1911, pp. 14.

Caro-Delvaille, H., Titien, Felix Alcan, Paris, 1913.

Beroqui, Pedro, Tiziano en el Museo del Prado, Boletin de la Sociedad española de excursiones, 33, 1925, pp. 137.

Cust, Lionel, Titian at Hampton Court Palace, Apollo, 7, 1928.

Suida, W., Giorgione: nouvelles attributiones, Gazette des Beaux-Arts: La Chronique des Arts, 13/14, 1935, pp. 75.

Suida, W, Le Titien, Weber, Paris, 1935, pp. lám. 41.

Beroqui, P, Tiziano en el Museo del Prado, Hauser y Menet, Madrid, 1946, pp. 8.

Wethey, Harold E., The paintings of Titian, Phaidon, Londres, 1969, pp. 109.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo, Tiziano, I, G.C. Sansoni, Florencia, 1969.

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

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Wilde, Johannes, Venetian Art From Bellini To Titian, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1974, pp. 119.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Gredos, Madrid, 1979, pp. 129-130.

Martineau, J., The genius of Venice: 1500-1600, Royal Academy of Arts, Londres, 1983, pp. 194.

Sutton, Deys, Venetian art at the Royal Academy, Apollo, 1984, pp. 86/ lám. 6.

Garrido, Mª del Carmen, La Virgen y el Niño con san Jorge y santa Catalina de Tiziano: estudio técnico y restauración, Boletín del Museo del Prado, VI, 1985, pp. 138.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 705.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Une vision nouvelle de la peinture espagnole du siècle d'Or, Revue de l'Art, 70, 1985, pp. 55/ lám. 4.

Brown, Jonathan, Velázquez: pintor y cortesano, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1986, pp. 236/ lám. 279.

Wilde, Johannes, La pintura veneciana: de Bellini a Ticiano, Nerea, Madrid, 1988, pp. 132.

Rylands, Philip, Palma Il Vecchio : l'opera completa, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Milan, 1988, pp. 88, 274.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº792.

Vosters, Simon A., Rubens y España: estudio artístico-literario sobre la estética del Barroco, Cátedra, Madrid, 1990, pp. 26.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 156; 245, n. 1.

Tiziano: amor sacro e amor profano, Electa, Milano, 1995, pp. 158.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds Mercator Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 231.

Checa Cremades, F, Un príncipe del Renacimiento: Felipe II, un monarca y su ép..., Sociedad Estatal para la Commemoración de los cent..., Madrid, 1998, pp. 499.

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Simposium Internacional, Tiziano. Técnicas y Restauraciones, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 59.

Joannides, Paul, Titian To 1518. The Assumption of Genius, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2001.

Falomir Faus, Miguel, Tiziano, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2003, pp. 156.

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Checa Cremades, Fernando, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2013, pp. 235.

García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorialo, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2013, pp. 35-51 [42].

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Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 792.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 792.
Giorgione. / 792. Asunto mistico. / El niño Jesus en brazos de la Virgen recibe de santa Brigida el ofrecimiento de unas flores. Hulfo, marido de la santa, esta a su lado vestido de armadura. (medias figuras.) (E.) (tabla.) / Alto 3 pies, 1 pulg; ancho 4 pies, 8 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 236.



Exhibitions +

10.06.2003 - 07.09.2003

Location +

Room 042 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Lances / Spears

Update date: 11-05-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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