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Titian masterpieces to be displayed together in major traveling exhibition

Titian’s series of large-scale mythological paintings, also known as the “poesie,” will be brought together for the time since 1704.

Five of the six Renaissance paintings will be on show at London’s National Gallery next year, as part of the exhibition “Titian: Love, Desire, Desire”.

"Rape of Europa" painting
Titian’s “Rape of Europa” (1562). Image: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston via AFP Relaxnews


Among them are “Danaë” from the Wellington Collection at Apsley House, “Venus and Adonis” from the Prado museum in Madrid and “Rape of Europa” from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

“Diana and Actaeon” and “Diana and Callisto”, which are jointly owned by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland, will also be on show.

The sixth canvas of the series, “Perseus and Andromeda”, will be displayed at the Wallace Collection.

The show is the result of a partnership between galleries in London, Edinburgh, Boston and Madrid, which was announced on Thursday, May 16.

Matthias Wivel, the National Gallery’s curator of 16th century Italian paintings, told The Guardian that showing Titian’s masterpieces in a sole exhibition had long been considered impossible.

Titian’s canvases, painted between about 1551 and 1562, depict stories from classical myths of love, temptation and punishment — primarily taken from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.

Originally commissioned by Philip II of Spain, the paintings remained in the Spanish royal collection until 1704 before being added to the famous art collection of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. They were then dispersed after the outbreak of the French Revolution.

The exhibition “Titian: Love, Desire, Desire” will be on show at the National Gallery from March 16 to Jun. 14, 2020. The series will then travel to the National Gallery in Edinburgh, the Prado museum in Madrid and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Additional information about the exhibition is available on the website of London’s National Gallery. HM/JB


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