Campaign for the Titians: 'Diana and Actaeon'

This event was held from 22 October 2008 to 14 December 2008

Date and time

22 October – 14 December 2008

Room 1

Admission free


For the first time in two centuries, this display reunited Titian’s Diana and Actaeon with its sequel, the National Gallery’s Death of Actaeon.

The display was put on in support of the campaign by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland to secure ‘Diana and Actaeon’ for the nation.

Titian’s ‘Diana and Actaeon’ is one of six large-scale mythological works inspired by the Roman poet Ovid. These works were painted for Philip II of Spain. Titian called his lyrical compositions ‘poesie’, the visual equivalents of poetry. Nothing he ever painted was more inventive in beauty and power.

Shortly after finishing ‘Diana and Actaeon’, Titian embarked on ‘The Death of Actaeon’ showing the story’s tragic conclusion. Although the artist conceived this picture for Philip, he seems never to have resolved it to his satisfaction, keeping it in his studio until his death.

Titian: 'Diana and Actaeon'
about 1559-75
Titian: 'The Death of Actaeon'

Image above: Detail from Titian, 'Diana and Actaeon', 1556-1559 © The National Gallery London / The National Galleries of Scotland