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.