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All catalogue entries by Jill Dunkerton and Marika Spring, with contributions from Rachel Billinge, Kamilla Kalinina, Rachel Morrison, Gabriella Macaro, David Peggie and Ashok Roy
Technical Bulletin Volume 34, 2013


Volume 34 of the National Gallery Technical Bulletin is dedicated to the evolution of Titian’s technique in the first part of his career, up to around 1540. The results of technical examination over many years of the nine canvases in the National Gallery from the first half of Titian’s career are assembled in the catalogue entries. They have been re-evaluated and updated, with new analyses of paint samples using the more sophisticated techniques now available. In addition, several paintings from outside the collection are also described. Collaboration with the Laboratory for Technical Analysis at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, has allowed their 'Flight into Egypt', widely accepted as Titian’s first surviving large-scale work, to be included. In addition, it has been possible to include material on two other very early works, 'Christ and the Adulteress' (Glasgow Art Gallery) and 'Rest on the Flight into Egypt' (Longleat House). X-radiography has been carried out on all the paintings, and the majority were examined by digital infrared reflectography. Paint samples have been investigated from all but one work. The paint binding medium has been analysed by GC–MS when suitable samples were available, and the dyestuffs in red lake pigments have been identified by high performance liquid chromatography. Most importantly for the study of Titian’s technique, the materials and layer structure in paint cross-sections have been studied by optical microscopy, supplemented by energy-dispersive X-ray analysis in the scanning electron microscope, transmission FTIR analysis and attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopic imaging.


Titian, Venice, painting technique, canvas, pigments, underdrawing, X-radiograph, pentimenti, imprimitura, zinc sulphate, ultramarine, vermilion, red lake, kermes, madder, cochineal, azurite, lead-tin yellow, verdigris, yellow earth, orpiment, realgar, walnut oil, linseed oil

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Cat. 1: The Flight into Egypt, c.1507. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Cat. 2: Christ and the Adulteress and Head of a Man, c.1508–10. Glasgow Museums
Cat. 3: Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c.1508–9. The Most Hon. the Marquess of Bath, Longleat House, Warminster, Wiltshire
Cat. 4: The Holy Family with a Shepherd, c.1510 (NG 4)
Cat. 5: Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo (‘The Man with a Quilted Sleeve’), c.1510 (NG 1944)
Cat. 6: Portrait of a Lady (‘La Schiavona’), c.1510–12 (NG 5385)
Cat. 7: Noli me Tangere, c.1514 (NG 270)

Download cats 1-7 (PDF 12.4MB)

Cat. 8: Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520–3 (NG 35)
Cat. 9: Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro, c.1528 (NG 3949)
Cat. 10: A Boy with a Bird, probably late 1520s (NG 933)
Cat. 11: The Virgin and Child with the Infant Saint John and a Female Saint or Donor (‘The Aldobrandini Madonna’), c.1532 (NG 635)
Cat. 12: The Music Lesson, c.1535 (NG 3)
Cat. 13: The Triumph of Love, c.1544–6. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Download cats 8-13 (PDF 23.4MB)

Download notes and bibliography (PDF 3.3MB)

To cite this article we suggest using

Dunkerton, J. and Spring, M., with contributions from Billinge, R., Kalinina, K., Morrison, R., Macaro, G., Peggie, D. and Roy, A., ‘Catalogue’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol. 34, 2013, pp. 32–105.

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