"I am so glad that the National Galleries of Scotland fought so hard to get this painting. For Scotland to have paintings of this quality and magnitude says much about our confidence and cultural ambitions. I believe we will reap huge rewards on many levels for this investment. Titian clearly adored the female form, something many of us today have forgotten how to do. Women are encouraged to starve, pummel and cut bits off our bodies to achieve an idealised shape which, as this painting so beautifully demonstrates, we were never meant to have. I love it!"
Elaine C Smith, actress
While out hunting, Actaeon accidentally discovered the secret bathing place of Diana, goddess of the moon and hunt. Titian explored the dramatic impact of this intrusion through a dynamic arrangement of figures, sparkling light, intense colour and animated brushwork.The stag's skull on the plinth foretells Actaeon's fate, for the outraged goddess transformed him into a stag to be devoured by his own hounds. The picture is one of a series of famous mythological paintings Titian called 'poesie', made for King Phillip II of Spain. The subjects were based on the ancient Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses. Titian planned the canvases as pairs, making 'Diana and Callisto' the partner to this work.
Titian made a greater impact on European painting than any other artist from Venice. His use of colour and development of a 'painterly' style of lively brush work has influenced generations of artists. He excelled in all types of painting, including altarpieces, religious subjects for private devotion, themes from classical mythology, allegorical works and portraits. The bright clear colours and smooth appearance of his early paintings are quite different from the more dramatic tonal contrasts and broken brushwork of his later work. He received public and private commissions from within Venice and from eminent patrons elsewhere. Titian painted many of his most celebrated pictures for King Philip II of Spain.