About this artwork

The pregnancy of Callisto, an attendant nymph of Diana, goddess of the moon, hunting and chastity, is cruelly revealed. Banished by Diana, Callisto was later transformed by Jupiter her seducer, into the constellation of the Great Bear. The powerful gestures and varied poses of Diana and her nymphs complement those in the composition of the companion painting Diana and Actaeon. These large so-called 'poesie' reveal Titian's mastery of the idealised human figure and of colour and light to convey contrasting textures. As late works, they also indicate the remarkable physical energy he expended using his fingers as much as his brushes to apply paint.

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  • title:
    Diana and Callisto
  • accession number:
    NG 2844
  • artist:
    Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (about 1485/90 - 1576)
  • depicted:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1556 - 1559
  • measurements:
    187.50 x 205.00 cm (framed: 239.00 x 257.00 x 15.50 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased jointly by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London, with contributions from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), The Monument Trust, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Mr and Mrs James Kirkman, Sarah and David Kowitz, Chris Rokos, The Rothschild Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement and through private appeal and bequests 2012

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

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.

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