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Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, 16th century

Italian, c.1487/90-1576
Oil on canvas
34 x 29 in. (86.4 x 73.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on view

This painting is first documented in the 1603 inventory of the prestigious Roman collection of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, alongside another painting of the same subject and by the same artist: Tiziano Vecellio. Both paintings passed by inheritance into the Doria Pamphilij Gallery, but whereas the better version remained in the collection (and still resides there today), the Simon painting was sold by the Doria family in the late eighteenth century. It has been called the best workshop replica of the Doria original. Why two paintings of the same style and subject came to be owned by the same family for almost two hundred years has never been established.

Titian was known to have a large, bustling workshop, where students duplicated a number of his most popular compositions; some paintings were finished or corrected by Titian himself, allowing them to be sold as the work of the master. In this case, at least four versions of the Doria original (which was executed around 1515) are known to have been made.

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