Ashmolean makes first Titian acquisition

picture The Ashmolean Museum has purchased the Portrait of Giacomo Doria (pictured left) by Titian (1477–1576) for £2,423,750, a record price for a Titian portrait sold at auction.

The portrait was purchased with funds from the Heritage Lottery fund, the National Art Collections Fund, and the Friends of the Ashmolean. It was bought in memory of Professor Francis Haskell, Professor of History of Art at the University and a long-serving Trustee of the Ashmolean, who died earlier this year.

The portrait is believed to have been painted in the early 1530s and is a half-length painting of Giacomo di Agostino Doria, a Genoese merchant who lived in Venice during the 1530s. Throughout his life, Titian achieved distinction amongst fellow artists, kings, popes, and noblemen who all courted his skills on canvas, and his influence on subsequent artists, particularly in the grand manner of portrait painting, is immeasurable.

Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, said: `We are thrilled to acquire this major portrait by one of the greatest of all Western painters. Although we already have an important group of Venetian sixteenth-century paintings, there has been nothing to date by Titian, the most important of them all. We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, the Friends of the Ashmolean, and other individuals who have generously donated towards the purchase.'

The painting will go on show in mid-August to celebrate the reopening of the Italian Renaissance Gallery, Fox-Strangways Room.

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