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Workshop of Jacopo Tintoretto (Italian, 1519-1594), A double portrait of Venetian senators. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2011

oil on canvas, 32½ x 35¾ in. (82.5 x 90.8 cm.). Estimate $15,000 - $20,000. Price Realized $20,000

Provenance: with Blakeslee Gallery, New York.

Notes: This striking double portrait appears to be a fragment excised from a much larger group portrait produced in the workshop of Tintoretto, a large-scale work that would have been comparable, for example, to the group portrait of the confraternity members of the Scuola dei Mercanti (Accademia, Venice), which is generally attributed to Jacopo's talented son, Domenico Tintoretto.

Paola Rossi, Frederick Ilchman and Robert Echols (all of whom examined the painting in photographs only) and Keith Christiansen (who studied the painting in person) concur that it was produced in Jacopo Tintoretto's workshop and Ilchman and Echols date the canvas circa 1570-1590; however, there is no consensus as to whether the picture might reasonably be attributed to Domenico or to another assistant in Jacopo's studio. 'Domenico's portraiture, as we understand it, is much more detailed and generally smoother than this, with little bravura brushwork in the faces (think of the Scuola dei Mercanti group portraits of circa 1591 in the Accademia),' noted Ilchman. 'Thus we think the forcefulness of the strokes in your picture is closer to Jacopo than Domenico, and indeed it is very imitative of Jacopo's style' (written communication, 16 April 2010).

Christie's, 8 - 9 February 2011, New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com