Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titian: Diana and Actaeon, 1556-59. © National Gallery, London

Visitors to National Museum Cardiff have a unique opportunity to see one of the most important paintings of the Italian Renaissance this springtime. Titian’s famous painting ‘Diana and Actaeon’ will be coming to Cardiff on a tour from the National Gallery, London and will be displayed from 19 April – 17 June 2012.

The painting is one of the artist’s finest creations – remarkable for its ambitious scale, masterful unity of colour, subject matter and excellent condition. 'Diana and Actaeon' is one of six large-scale mythologies inspired by the Roman poet Ovid, which Titian painted for King Philip II of Spain. Titian began the picture and its companion ‘Diana and Callisto’ (which was last month purchased for the nation after a £45m deal was agreed with owner the Duke of Sutherland) in 1556, the year of Philip’s coronation. Spurred on by the prestige of royal patronage, he unleashed all his creativity to produce works of unprecedented beauty and inventiveness. Titian worked for three years to perfect these masterpieces, which were shipped to Spain in 1559. He claimed their lengthy genesis was due to the relentless pains he took to make sumptuous works of art worthy of the king.