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A painting by the Italian master Tiziano Vecellio (circa 1488/1490-1576), who is known in English as Titian, was recently discovered in London’s National Gallery. Located in Trafalgar Square, the museum houses the country’s collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries.

The portrait by Titian, a pivotal member of the 16th century Venetian school of painters, depicts Girolamo Fracastoro, a well-respected doctor at the time, draped in lynx fur. The National Gallery has owned the portrait of Fracastoro since 1924 but until recently attribution has been uncertain. The Fracastoro portrait underwent thorough restoration, revealing new information about the canvas and technique, prompting scholars and curators to uphold the attribution.

The painting is now being displayed as part of the National Gallery’s main collection. The portrait of Fracastoro is the third Titian painting to join the museum’s holdings since 2009 making the National Gallery’s Titian collection one of the finest in the world.

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The fate of Berlin’s collection of Old Masters painting has been a source of controversy for nearly a year. While museum space in the city dwindles, the works are currently being held in the Gemäldegalerie, a museum devoted to European art from the 13th to 18th centuries, fueling concerns that the paintings may soon be banished to a storage facility.

German culture minister Bernd Neumann attempted to nix fears by reassuring the public that a new institution will be built to house the collection within five to six years. However, there is still some concern as to where the collection, which boasts masterworks by Rembrandt (1606-1669), Sandro Boticelli (1445-1510), Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), and Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), will be exhibited until then.

Initial plans had the Old Masters collection going to the Bode Museum while the new Museum of 20th Century and Modern Art took over the Gemäldegalerie. However, Neumann has suggested a number of other options. One of the plans has the Old Masters remaining in the Gemäldegalerie and building an entirely new modern art museum. Another one of Neumann’s strategies has the Bode Museum swapping out its sculpture collection in exchange for the Old Masters paintings.

Neumann’s various plans will be proposed to the Prussian Foundation and a decision will be reached this spring.

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