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Painting by Titian of Doctor Who Named “Syphilis” Rediscovered

Into the light: a detail from the Titian portrait, which has just been rediscovered. Photograph: The National Gallery. [UK Guardian]

ANYONE WHO savors art, especially the more erotically sensual varieties as the paintings of Titian (Tiziano Vecellio as he’s known by Italians), will appreciate this piece in the UK Guardian.

The rediscovered painting above is of Girolamo Fracastoro, the doctor who coined the name for the virulent sexually transmitted disease that hit Venice back in the day’s of Titian its name.

A visitor to Titian’s studio by the Grand Canal in the 1520s claimed the painter was exhausted from sleeping with his models — a claim that seems to fit the sheer enthusiasm of his paintings of women. But now his name can be linked with another, more painful aspect of sexuality in Renaissance Italy.

Glaring back proudly from a portrait newly attributed to Titian stands a famous doctor who gave the most terrifying sexually transmitted disease of those times the name “syphilis”.

[...] Is it just possible that Titian paid for a syphilis cure with a portrait? If so, it would not be the only astonishing thing about this painting, which has just been rediscovered in the basement of the National Gallery.

Venice is a feast for art lovers, one I’ve had the pleasure to see for myself. Titian is a painter that is one of the very greatest of all time.

I’m only an enthusiast, no art historian or expert, but Jonathan Jones of the UK Guardian has it right, in my opinion. The National Gallery has “the greatest collection on earth of Titian’s paintings.”

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