Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Titian claim over doge portrait

16th Century Venetian Doge atMuseum of Western and Eastern Art.
The doge was painted in Venice in the 16th Century

A portrait of a Venetian doge at a Ukrainian museum is a previously unidentified work by Titian, the museum's director has claimed.

The portrait is among the collection at the Museum of Western and Eastern Art, in Odessa.

Director Vladimir Ostrovsky said analysis by Russia's State Hermitage Museum had proved Titian's authorship.

But Sergei Androsov, of the Hermitage, said it was still "impossible to judge" if it was a Titian.

Mr Androsov, of the museum's department of western European art, said: "The analysis shows that the canvas matches Titian's historical period, that the paint used matches his paint, that certain technical attributes match up.

"But based on that it is impossible to judge whether the painting is a Titian. That is the work of art historians, not technical experts."

'Terrible loss'

Alexander Kosolapov, the State Hermitage Museum's head of scientific and technical examination, said: "We know it is a 16th Century Venetian painting, most likely either by Titian or Tintoretto.

"But right now it is not fully clear."

Thieves made off with Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ - also known as Judas' Kiss - from the Museum of Western and Eastern Art in July last year, and has yet to be found.

Referring to the doge portrait, Mr Ostrovsky said: "Now we are nearly 100% certain that God has compensated us for the terrible loss that we suffered last year."

Mr Ostrovsky said the museum had invited art scholars from Moscow to further analyse the work.

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