TIZIANO Vecellio
(b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia)

Madonna and Child with Sts Dorothy and George

Oil on panel, 86 x 130 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

In the relaxed and confident painting Titian brings the charms of the family circle to the well-tried formula of the Sacra Conversazione. St Dorothy's indulgent smile is that of a visiting relative while the noble St George irresistibly recalls the avuncular bore, always right, taking himself very seriously, and full of the best and dullest advice. The green curtain bracketing the brighter colours of the figures supports this mood of secure domesticity.

X-rays show that both the child and St George originally faced outwards, which would have made the picture more old-fashioned and more formal.