Vienna-based auction house Dorotheum will soon offer a lost Titian painting once owned by Europe’s kings and queens. The available work, titled The Penitent Magdalen, is offered with an estimate of EUR 1 million to €1.5 million (USD 1.1 million – $1.6 million). Dorotheum tracked its provenance back to Christina, Queen of Sweden, though it was also likely owned by Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor in the late 16th century. The auction house noted in a press release that this formerly lost Titian painting will appear at auction for the first time in 150 years. Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (Pieve di Cadore, circa 1485/90–1576 Venice), The Penitent Magdalen, oil on canvas, 115 x 96.7 cm, framed, Auction 11 May 2022, estimate 1 – 1.5 million euros. © DorotheumThe image of the penitent Mary Magdalene has a respected place in Western art history, as well as in Titian’s own body of work. The motif shows up again and again in his oeuvre. This can be partially attributed to Renaissance fashions. Centuries prior, artists began to associate the Biblical figure of Mary Magdalene with an unnamed woman who falls to her knees before Christ, repents her sins, and bathes his feet in oil. This association gave the penitent Magdalene distinct characteristics: long hair, a jar of ointment, and occasionally a human skull or other memento mori object. Mary Magdalene became a recognizable and appealing subject for commissioned paintings.Early Renaissance-era collectors requested countless depictions of Mary Magdalene. Her figure was increasingly humanized and sexualized starting in the 16th century, which may have contributed to the rise of the penitent Magdalene theme. Artists started to show her as shapely but suffering, free but despairing. Titian understood this appeal. He made variations on the penitent Magdalene image throughout his career, adding slight variations to each commission.