Diana and Actaeon

7:00 AM

Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1566-69

Titian's works are some of my favorite we have studied this year. His paintings based off the stories from Ovid are a refreshing change from the usual Resurrections, Annunciations, and Crucifixions. Tiziano Vecellio started his training in the workshop of Sebastiano Zuccato, then briefly joined Gentile Bellini's workshop, then joined his brother Giovani Bellini, the most important painter of the time. Titian later adopted his style from Giorgione. You can see this style in Diana and Actaeon with his rich, dark colors.

This painting was composed for King Phillip II of Spain. Titian painted six large paintings based off Ovid's Metamorphesis. In this painting, Actaeon, son of a herdsmen, accidentally stumbles upon the secret bathing spot of the goddess of the hunt, Diana. You can tell by the animal skull on the pillar, and the animal skins draped around the grotto that there is little hope for poor Actaeon. His arms and stance tell us that he knows his fate.

The lightest part of the painting is the light cast upon the women, which draws attention away from the rest of the painting. The women create a triangle, and the painting is cut diagonally down the middle with the sky stretching from corner to corner on the top half. The red drapery creates a barrier between Actaeon and the bathing women.

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