Museo Nacional del Prado
Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23,
+34 91 330 2800
Through February 10th,
Saint John the Baptist is the only work by Titian in the Prado not to have originally been in the Spanish royal collections. Rather, it came via the Museo de la Trinidad, entering the Museum in 1872 as by an “anonymous Madrid School artist of the seventeenth century”. As such it was sent fourteen years later to the parish church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Cantoria in the province of Almeria.
In the catalogue of the exhibition Titian, held at the Prado in 2003, Miguel Falomir, Head of the Department of Italian and French Painting (up to 1700) at the Museum and the exhibition’s curator, proposed that the present painting could be a copy of a now lost Baptist by Titian. In the light of this suggestion in 2007 the Museum embarked on a study of the work, reaching the conclusion that it was not a copy but an original by Titian. Technical characteristics such as the preparatory layer of white lead with added calcium carbonate as well as the similarity between the landscape and those found in other works by the artist of the early 1550s allowed for its date to be established.