Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 89



86
Titian’s paintings of the Salvator Mundi and Temptation of Christ and their patrons
Fig. 4 / X-ray image
of Fig. 2.
The subject of the Salvator Mundi, of course, had
famously been painted by Leonardo, whose recently
rediscovered panel, generally dated ca. 1505 and showing
a transfigured Saviour supporting a crystal orb in His
left hand (fig. 5), was both copied and reinterpreted by
his followers.11 Titian’s ‘Darnley’ painting could be seen
as a further eddy in the Milanese current that flows
through his single-figure compositions. But versions of
the Salvator Mundi had been painted earlier in Venice, as
Carpaccio’s 1480s panel demonstrates (fig. 6), although
in that the Saviour is not isolated.12 Giovanni Bellini
probably painted the subject: the high-quality studio
piece, the Blessing Christ in the Galleria Nazionale could,
minimally extended, have made a potent Salvator Mundi.13
Titian’s paintings of the Salvator Mundi and Temptation of Christ and their patrons
It also seems likely that Dürer’s treatment of the Salvator
Mundi (fig. 7), generally dated just before his second
Italian sojourn, was inspired by what he had seen a
decade earlier in Venice where the subject continued to
find favour.14 Among other examples is one by Francesco
Bissolo, in which the clearly demarcated colour areas of
the blue outer, and red inner, garment (fig. 8) foreshadow
or parallel those in Titian’s paintings. Andrea Previtali’s
painting of 1519 in the National Gallery (fig. 9) is similar
in design.15 A variant, in which Christ’s right hand is
placed before the sphere while His left hand rests upon it,
was painted by Jacopo Palma ca. 1520; of this panel, in
the Musée des Beaux-Arts Strasbourg, several, possibly
studio, copies are known.16
Fig. 5 / Leonardo da Vinci, Christ
as Salvator Mundi, ca. 1505?, oil
on wood, 67 x 45 cm, Private
Collection.
Fig. 6 / Vittore Carpaccio, Christ
as Salvator Mundi with Four
Saints, oil on wood, 70 x 69 cm,
Private Collection.
Fig. 7 / Albrecht Dürer, Christ as
Salvator Mundi, ca. 1504, oil on
wood, 57 x 47 cm, New York, The
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
87

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