A Rare Treat: Renaissance Master Titian’s Painting on Display at Miami High School

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School hosts an exhibition featuring a newly attributed painting by Titian, offering a unique opportunity for students and art enthusiasts alike.

The Italian Renaissance painter Titian is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists in history. With his innovative use of color and mastery of technique, he left an indelible mark on the art world. While many of his works have been preserved and celebrated, the discovery of a new Titian painting is a rare and exciting event. In an unexpected twist, a recently attributed painting by Titian is now on display at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami. This prestigious exhibition showcases not only the newly discovered artwork but also a collection of European paintings from different artistic eras.

A High School with a Rich History

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, originally founded in Havana in the nineteenth century, relocated to Miami in 1961 after the Cuban revolution. This private boys-only school has a strong commitment to arts education and boasts its own gallery. While the school has hosted previous exhibitions, none have been as prestigious as this one, which spans three artistic eras: medieval, Renaissance, and baroque. Art history teacher Sylvie Daubar-San Juan expresses her excitement, stating that the school is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to showcase the caliber of artists represented in this exhibition.

Miami’s Art Scene Expands

Miami has gained recognition as an international art destination, primarily due to the annual Art Basel fair and the presence of private museums focusing on contemporary art. However, the exhibition at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School introduces a new dimension to the Miami art scene—old masters. The collection, curated by Federico Gandolfi Vannini, a fourth-generation art dealer from Florence now residing in Miami, includes works by renowned artists such as Rubens, Tintoretto, and the recently attributed painting by Titian.

The Mystery of the Newly Attributed Titian

The focal point of the exhibition is the newly attributed painting by Titian, which adds to the intrigue and excitement surrounding the event. The painting, a depiction of Saint Sebastian, had long been attributed to an unknown artist until Vannini had it restored. The removal of an old varnish revealed a high-quality painting with visible corrections made by the artist, known as “pentimenti.” These corrections, along with other clues such as X-ray images and a fragment of canvas bearing the letters “A-N,” suggest that the painting could indeed be the work of Titian.

Expert Opinions and Controversy

To validate the authenticity of the painting, Vannini sent it to London for evaluation by one of the foremost Titian scholars, Paul Joannides, professor emeritus at Cambridge University. Joannides concluded that the painting is at least partially the work of Titian, based on the repositioning of Saint Sebastian’s head and the quality of the execution. However, Maria H. Loh, a professor of art history at the Institute for Advanced Study, highlights the complexity of attributing paintings to old masters like Titian, citing the existence of workshops that produced multiple versions of the artist’s work. The controversy surrounding attributions to Titian underscores the delicate and contentious nature of the process.


The exhibition at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School offers a rare opportunity for students and art enthusiasts to view a newly attributed painting by the renowned Renaissance master Titian. While the authenticity of the painting is subject to ongoing debate, its presence in Miami’s art scene has sparked excitement and curiosity. The exhibition not only showcases the newly discovered artwork but also provides a glimpse into different artistic eras through a collection of European paintings. As visitors explore the exhibition, they are invited to form their own opinions about the authenticity of the painting and appreciate the rich history and beauty of these masterpieces.






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