Skip to main content

Diana, the strong, beautiful goddess of hunting is a subject Titian chose for more than one painting in the ‘poesie’ series; not least because she embodies two of Philip II’s favourite pursuits, women and hunting.

 

This is a YouTube video player. Below the video are the title, view time and description. Below that is a carousel of video thumbnails. Clicking a thumbnail will load and play that video.

1 video

Slide number: 1
View time: 3:01

Bringing Diana to life

For each composition, Titian picks the key moment of action; the inciting incident when the victims’ fate is sealed.

Both situations relate to sight: something that should be secret being seen. Actaeon unwittingly catches Diana plus entourage bathing, while Diana spies the supposedly chaste Callisto’s pregnancy.

In both cases, Diana shows no mercy; changing Actaeon into a stag which his hounds devour and throwing poor Callisto out.

 

Diana and Actaeon

The way Titian has painted these scenes adds to the drama with loose and free swishes of paint, suggestions of trees, and dashes of white light.

Energetic brushstrokes match the rough movements of yanking clothing in the case of Callisto and Actaeon’s awkward stumble backwards.

Acting as a pair, the paintings would have hung next to each other as we can see from the glistening stream that flows from one to another.

Diana and Callisto

You might also like

X
/
Y

Titian: Love, Desire, Death

16 March 2020 — 17 January 2021

Find out more