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Oil painting - The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (after Titian)
  • The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (after Titian)
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (after Titian)

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 - 1875 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (artist)
    Titian (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:

    212-1881

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The sculptor and designer Alfred George Stevens was born in Blandford Forum on 31st December 1817. He spent nine formative years in Italy, travelling there in 1833 at the age of sixteen. There he studied Renaissance painting, copying frescoes in Florence and the works of Andrea del Sarto at Naples, and sketching at Pompeii. He received some formal training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Later, in 1841-2, he worked in Rome as an assistant to the major neo-classical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. In 1845, following his return to England, he was appointed as an instructor in painting and ornament at the Government School of Design at Somerset House, where he taught architectural drawing, perspective, modelling and ornamental painting. He remained in this post for just over two years, when he resigned, being, as he put it, ‘heartily sick of it.’ In 1850 he became chief designer to a Sheffield firm, Messrs. Hoole and Robson, who specialised in metalwork and won renown for metalwork exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1856 Stevens received two major commissions that would occupy him until his death in 1875. The first was to conceive a decorative scheme for the dining room of Dorchester House in London for Robert Stayner Holford and the second was to design and execute a monument to the Duke of Wellington which was to have a permanent place in St Paul’s Cathedral. The major piece that was executed (although never finished) by Stevens for Dorchester House’s dining room was the chimneypiece. This was finished after Stevens’ death by his former pupil James Gamble and is now in the Gamble Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Wellington Monument was worked on by Stephens until A. S. Ayrton, the first commissioner of works, ended his contract in 1870. This unresolved situation and Stevens’ sudden death on 1st May 1875 meant that he never finished the monument. His pupil Hugh Stannus completed the majority of the work, but it was only finally finished in 1912 after several petitions from prominent artists including Frederic Leighton, and after further work had been carried out by John Tweed.

This painting of the Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple is a scaled down replica of Titian’s original, at the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice. It depicts a scene not from the New Testament but the apocryphal Gospel of James in which Mary, Mother of Jesus is brought to the Temple of Jerusalem by her parents in thanks to God for having gifted them a child. Stevens travelled and worked in Italy from 1833 until his return to England in 1842 during which time he would likely have seen Titian’s original. This painting was acquired by the museum in 1881 as an example of the work of the Old Masters for art students of the time. The V&A’s collection includes other nineteenth century replicas such as Godfrey Sykes’ copies of Velasquez’s Adoration of the Shepherds, Raphael’s Judgement of Solomon and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.

Date

ca. 1840 - 1875 (painted)

Artist/maker

Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (artist)
Titian (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 22.875 in estimate, Width: 50 in estimate

Object history note

Purchased, 1881

Descriptive line

Oil painting on canvas, Copy of Titian's 'The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple', Alfred Stevens, ca. 1840 - 1875

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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