London, May 19: Art historians have shed light on an intriguing new detail noticed in one of Titian’s grisliest paintings ever – The Martyrdom of St Lawrence.
It is a macabre scene showing St Lawrence being slowly burnt to death over a blazing fire.
However, it has emerged that Renaissance artist Titian may have painted himself into the grim scene.
Experts restoring his 15ft-high ‘The Martyrdom of St Lawrence’ have uncovered a man in a turban in the bottom corner, the Daily Mail reported.
The man’s face, tilted upwards and looking towards the burning saint, bears a striking resemblance to the artist himself.
Titian completed the work in the late 1550s – but the apparent self-portrait has gone undetected for more than 450 years, the Daily Telegraph reported.t Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of Ancient Rome, was martyred in 258 for his beliefs.
Professor Lionello Puppi, a Titian expert, insisted that the man’s face in the corner looked incredibly like that of the artist.
“The similarity with the profile, and particularly the long, slightly hooked nose, is very striking,” he said.
“We believe it may very well be a self-portrait by Titian. It is still to be verified and we are studying the archives to see if there are any other clues which might back it up.
“The key question of course is why he would have included himself in the painting,” Puppi added.
Titian, who was born in around 1488 and named Tiziano Vecellio, completed the painting completed over more than a decade between 1546 and 1558s.
Titian would have been aged in his late 50s or 60s at the time – nearly the same age as the man who appears in the bottom left hand corner of the portrait.
The work, estimated to be worth 40 million pounds, has undergone a year-long restoration programme.
The work is exhibited in Alba, north-east Italy, until August when it will return to Venice and the Church of the Jesuits. (ANI)