In the sale list of these eighty-eight paintings it is probably identifiable with the following entry:
1 XPO coronato di spine in tavola di Tiziano
This description bears no resemblance to any entry in subsequent Schulenburg records of the 1720s and 1730s so that it seems very likely that it refers to the present work. In 1736 it is listed amongst the first group of pictures sent by Schulenburg from Venice to Berlin:
1. Pordenon Quadro rapta Christo alla colonna. Costo: 20. Stima de Professori: 150
Subsequently it is part of a French list of Schulenburg's pictures compiled circa 1750, after his death:
39 Titian ou Pordinon. 1. Tableau en planche, représ. Jesus Christ à la colonne en demi figure
This latter corresponds with the inscription and old inventory number 39 on the verso of this panel, and formerly on the recto, lower left (removed sometime after 1984 (see Provenance). The inscription on the reverse reads:
Ticiano.P./ Unveräusserliches Eigentum des Gräflich Schulenburgscha.../ Hauses Hehlen in Hehlen oD W./ No. 39.
The painting thus seems to have been acquired with an attribution to Titian, spent a few decades as by Pordenone, before reverting back to Titian. The painting finally left the Schulenburg collection in 1984 when sold at Sotheby's London (see Provenance).
Johann Matthias settled in Venice in 1718. He had served the Serenissima as Fieldmarshal in their campaigns against the Ottoman Empire and, having driven their armies away from the island of Corfu, he was declared the saviour of the Republic, was commemorated by a statue, and was awarded a pension of 5,000 ducats a year. From 1724 he put together one of the great collections of his time and he was also perhaps the most prolific patron of Venetian painters of the eighteenth century, employing artists such as Piazzetta (who also compiled his 1739 inventory of pictures at the Palazzo Loredan, his residence in Venice), both Francesco and Gian Antonio Guardi, Canaletto and many others. His ultimate aim was to amass the largest and greatest collection of pictures in Germany, at the palace in Berlin built by his nephew Adolph Friedrich, and he thus sent many shipments north from Venice in the years 1736–40, the first of which included the present work.
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