Image of Titian drawing About the drawing (left). The drawing depicts a popular legend: St. Theodore's domination of a menacing dragon. Here he is dressed as a Roman soldier wielding a tall lance, the dragon lying before him in abject surrender. The scene is dominated by a landscape—one of the few that Titian produced—featuring a castle upon a hill, reminiscent of the town of Pieve di Cadore, the artist's birthplace in the Veneto.

Titian. Landscape with St. Theodore Overcoming the Dragon. Mid-16th century. Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk, on paper. 19.8 x 29.6 cm. The Morgan Library & Museum; gift of Janos Scholz, accession no. 1977.46. Zoom drawing »

The figure of Theodore (below left). A close look at the figure of St. Theodore suggests that the original drawing (in fine brown ink) has been reinforced crudely in another hand with a denser, darker ink. Who drew over the figure? When? Why? Did someone other than the masterful Titian—perhaps an artist in his workshop or a later restorer—draw over the figure?

Infrared image of Theodore (below right). Conservators made a series of images of the figure using reflected infrared digital photography with a series of filters. As more and more light in the visible spectrum was filtered out, some lines (such as the background composition and Theodore's armband and hanging scabbard) gradually disappeared. But other lines (the bulk of Theodore's body) remained strong. What do these results tell us? First, they confirm that there are two inks present, and that they most likely have different chemical compositions because they respond differently to infrared illumination. Second, they show clearly which lines were made with the first layer of ink (those that disappear) and which were gone over later in a different hand (those that remain strong). But because both types of ink were available in Titian's day and for a long time afterwards, these results alone do not tell us when, or by whom, the second layer of lines was drawn.

Detail of Titian drawing under normal light Detail of Titian drawing under infrared light