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Cross-curricular ideas: Creative approaches

Explore the characters, setting and meaning of 'Diana and Actaeon'

National Gallery Educator Rachel Dow offers ways of looking at the painting 'Diana and Actaeon', to kick start creative projects. 

A good place to start is to look at the setting of Titian's Diana and Actaeon.

The setting

Questions to explore with your class include:

  • Where is the story taking place? Decide which details are crucial to the story and which are there purely for decoration.
  • Why has Titian chosen these elements?
  • What changes would you make to the painting? What would you add to the painting that would help to tell the story and blend in with Titian's setting?

Now think of something you could add to the painting that would change the story completely. What would this new story be?

The characters

Look at the characters in the painting. What can you tell about them from the way they are depicted? Think about their body language and expression. You might choose to focus on the two main characters, Diana and Actaeon. Some of Diana's attendants are also full of personality.

And then there are the two dogs. Actaeon's powerful hound on the left contrasts with Diana's small, lap-dog on the right. What do they say about their owners? 

What happened next