Venus Rising from the Sea by Titian is an early sixteenth-century painting by a major Italian Renaissance artist. In order to highlight the National Galleries of Scotland’s acquisition of this masterpiece and make it accessible to a wide audience, a comprehensive gallery education programme was devised. This programme experimented with new methods of presenting Renaissance art to the public, enabling people to engage with Titian’s painting in a variety of ways. It also, more generally, helped to develop new audiences for the national art collection.
As part of the programme’s main learning objectives, visitors were encouraged to foster a critical appreciation of how the female form has been treated over time by male artists. This, in turn, can be applied to works other than Titian’s Venus, thereby developing an awareness of an artist’s sources of inspiration. By enhancing their knowledge and understanding of this specific major work of Italian Renaissance art, members of the public were able to optimise their enjoyment of it at the same time as honing their ability to interpret and express opinions about art in general.
The project had four distinct outcomes, ranging from a thematic touring exhibition to a creative writing programme, a CD-ROM learning resource for schools and an eTour ‘virtual consultation’ project.