Diana and Actaeon

Diana and Actaeon

Titian c.1485/90 – 1576
oil on canvas 188 x 204.5cm
National Gallery of Scotland

After a discussion at the 30th anniversary meeting of the South West Old North Londoners Association, my friend Marion Weaver, historian and artist, wonders how Titian would have got on in my Creative Arts course. A loaded and thought-provoking question. As he had been apprenticed to paint throughout his teens, the admissions officer might well have suggested fine art more suitable for Titian. Known for his use of colour, he rejected some of the formalities he had been taught, and was thought to be part of “arte moderna”. I think he would have loved the breadth of the modern course, and been chastised for painting all the time. At the end of his days he apparently said that he was finally beginning to learn how to paint.

Her postcard also reminded me that my knowledge of classical myth is patchy; Diana yes, but Actaeon? A mock Haiku using only seventeen words makes me describe concisely.

Naked bathing goddess unwittingly surprised; her splash transforms Actaeon to stag, later killed by his hunter friends.

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