Titian’s ‘poesie’ paintings

Titian’s ‘poesie’ paintings

‘Poesie’ is a term Titian used to describe the ambitious series of large-scale mythological paintings he began producing for Philip II of Spain in 1551. Inspired by the Roman poet Ovid’s epic poem ‘Metamorphoses’, Titian considered the works as visual equivalents of poetry.

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Titian was already known for his mythological paintings that set animated groups of figures within idyllic landscapes. His first works in this genre were the dazzling set of pictures he made for Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, which included Bacchus and Ariadne now in the National Gallery.

Next: ‘Poesie’ for Philip II

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