Titian Love, Desire, Death Matthias Wivel, Paul Hills, Jill Dunkerton, Beverly Louise Brown, Aidan Weston-Lewis, Javier Portus, Lelia Packer, Nathaniel Silver

Publication date:
24 Mar 2020
National Gallery London
232 pages: 279 x 229mm
165 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A celebration of one of the most important groups of Renaissance paintings

Titian (active 1506–1576) produced a masterful group of paintings for Philip II of Spain, celebrating the loves of gods, goddesses, and mortals. Depicting scenes from Ovid’s narrative poem Metamorphoses, Titian named them “poesie” and considered the works as visual equivalents of poetry. This volume presents a detailed study of the complete series—Danaë, Venus and Adonis, Perseus and Andromeda, Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto, and The Rape of Europa, as well as The Death of Actaeon—lavishly illustrated with details of these emotionally charged paintings. The book explores Titian’s creative process and technique, in addition to his use of literary and visual sources and his correspondence with Philip II. The artistic legacy of the series for later European painting is also examined in the works of artists such as Rubens, Velázquez, and Rembrandt. Offering the most comprehensive overview of these remarkable works, Titian: Love, Desire, Death is an indispensable resource for scholars and admirers of Renaissance painting.

Matthias Wivel is curator of 16th-century Italian paintings at the National Gallery, London.

National Gallery, London
(March 16–June 14, 2020)

National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
(July 11–September 27, 2020)

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
(February 11–May 9, 2021)

“The catalogue to the National Gallery’s superlative show of Titian’s magnificent poesie cycle of paintings explores the stories of the seven canvases that were brought together for this year to be seen, possibly for the first time, as the painter originally intended.”—Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times ‘Best Art Books of the Year 2020’