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Metamorphosis: Titian 2012

Issued: April 2012

11 July–23 September 2012
Sainsbury Wing
Admission Free

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 will see a range of contemporary artists – including choreographers, composers, poets and visual artists respond to paintings by Renaissance master Titian. Their work will be displayed at the National Gallery and performed at the Royal Opera House by The Royal Ballet.

At the heart of this collaboration will be three of the greatest masterpieces by Titian in the United Kingdom – Diana and Actaeon, Death of Actaeon and Diana and Callisto, which will be shown in the exhibition at The National Gallery. The aim of the project will be to demonstrate how masterpieces by Titian continue to inspire living artists today.

Three British contemporary artists: Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger will create settings for new ballets at The Royal Opera House that will respond to the Titian paintings. Their work will be shown as an exhibition at the National Gallery, sponsored by Credit Suisse, in which the process of their response to Titian and the evolution of their own independent work of art will be demonstrated. Each artist will have a room in the exhibition space to show both preparatory studies for the ballets, along with new pieces created for the project.

Seven choreographers will collaborate with the artists to create an evening of three new works, in response to three great paintings by Titian and original music commissioned from leading British composers. Wayne McGregor will work with the Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup, and Christopher Wheeldon will work alongside Alastair Marriott with Will Tuckett, Jonathan Watkins and Liam Scarlett.

Original music for the ballets has been commissioned from Mark-Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Dove and Nico Muhly. The performances will be the last body of work under Monica Mason as Director of the Royal Ballet and a performance on 16 July 2012 will also be relayed live on a big screen in Trafalgar Square.

The National Gallery will also run a New Poetry Project. The Project will commission a range of poets to write new work inspired by the Diana series, re-examining the Ovid text and its influence on Titian.

The poets represent the quality and range of writing in Britain today which include poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage - winner of the Keats Shelley Poetry Prize 2010. Their work will be published in the accompanying catalogue.

The three Titian paintings are inspired by Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The paintings depict the fatal consequences of a mortal tragically caught up in the affairs of the gods. They are remarkable for their powerful dramatisation of extremes in human emotion, with their rich array of colour, contrasting textures and atmospheric effects. As Titian took inspiration from Ovid, this programme will celebrate artistic creativity and, like the Olympics, link to ancient Greece.

Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse in the United Kingdom and Ireland James Leigh-Pemberton says:

“We are excited to support this innovative National Gallery exhibition, which clearly demonstrates how Old Master paintings continue to inspire living artists.”

For further press information please contact Michelle Gonsalves at / 020 7747 2512

For public information, please contact 020 7747 2885 or

Notes to Editors

Publicity images can be obtained from To obtain a username please contact the National Gallery Press Office on 020 7747 2865 or e-mail

'Metamorphosis: Titian 2012' is curated by Minna Moore-Ede at the National Gallery. This exhibition is sponsored by Credit Suisse.

Press view

Monday 9 July 2012

Dates and opening hours

Open to public: 11 July 2012
Daily 10am–6pm (last admission 5pm)
Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm (last admission 9pm)
Sunday 10am-7pm (last admission 6pm)