This winter Dresden's Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister will lend Titian's Lady in White (c. 1561) to the Norton Simon Museum. Titian referred to the unknown sitter as the "absolute mistress of my soul," leading to speculation that she was an actual mistress—the artist would have been about 72—or one of the artist's two daughters. The elder daughter, Lavinia, died in childbirth in 1561, about the time of the painting. Whoever the subject is, she wears enough pearls and jewelry to have flouted Venice's sumptuary laws. Yet today the painting is most admired for its understatement, a Whistlerian symphony in white and brown. The "flag" the woman holds is a so-called weathervane fan (ventulo).
"Lady in White will be on view Dec. 19–Mar. 25, 2019.