Jacopo Pesaro being presented by Pope Alexander VI to Saint Peter
|Type||oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||145 cm × 183 cm (57 in × 72 in)|
|Location||Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp|
It was commissioned by Jacopo Pesaro as an ex-voto for the Venetian naval victory at the battle of Santa Maura against the Ottoman Turks on 28 June 1502, part of the Ottoman–Venetian War (1499–1503). Pesaro was member of the Pesaro family and bishop of Paphos, then a Venetian territory.
Traditionally dated to 1508–1512, recent research has redated it to 1503–1506, which would make it the earliest surviving work by the artist, then only twenty years old. That redating is backed by Cavalcaselle, Adolfo Venturi and Gronau and opposed by Pallucchini, Roberto Longhi and Morassi. Hourticq dates it to 1515 (assuming an official intervention by Giovanni Bellini) and Suida to between 1512 and 1520. X-rays, however, have revealed a uniform colour texture, contradicting hypotheses that it was a draft expanded over time by several hands. It must have been commissioned in the immediate aftermath of the battle and before 1503, since the militaristic pope Alexander VI died that year and from then on he was banned from official representations, in a kind of damnatio memoriae. However, it did not have to be completed until 1506, when Pesaro got back to Venice. Aged little more than twenty, Titian had thus won a prestigious commission in Venice.
It was originally intended for an unknown Venetian church, where van Dyck drew a copy of it. It is recorded as having been in the collection of Charles I of England, from which it was bought by the Spanish royal collection after his execution, which loaned it to the convent of San Pasquale in Madrid. In 1823, it was in the collection of William I of the Netherlands, who gave it to its present owner.
- (Italian) Pietro Selvatico, Vincenzo Lazari, Guida artistica e storica di Venezia e delle isole circonvicine, P. Ripamonti Carpano, 1852, p. 181.
- (Italian) Francesco Valcanover, L'opera completa di Tiziano, Rizzoli, Milano 1969, p. 91.
- (Italian) Augusto Gentili, Tiziano, collana Dossier d'art, Firenze, Giunti, 1990, p. 6.
- (Italian) Cecilia Gibellini (ed.), Tiziano, I Classici dell'arte, Milano, Rizzoli, 2003, p. 20.