About this artwork

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.

This artwork is owned jointly, and exhibited in turn, with the National Gallery, London, where it is on display now.

Updated before 2020

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  • artist:
    Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (about 1485/90 - 1576) Italian
  • title:
    Diana and Actaeon
  • date created:
    1556 - 1559
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    184.50 x 202.20 cm; Framed: 237.50 x 255.70 x 15.70 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased jointly by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London, with contributions from The Scottish Government, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Monument Trust, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), Artemis Investment Management Ltd, Binks Trust, Mr Busson on behalf of EIM Group, Dunard Fund, The Fuserna Foundation, Gordon Getty, The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, John Dodd, Northwood Charitable Trust, The Rothschild Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement and through public appeal, 2009
  • accession number:
    NG 2839
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
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Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

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