Titian’s Diana and Callisto, acquired for the nation in 2012, will be the subject of an exciting new National Gallery venture. Visitors to arts festivals this summer can step inside a mobile cinema truck, sit under a star-studded canopy and watch a short film that approaches Titian’s work from a 21st-century perspective. They can learn about the goddess Diana and the nymph Callisto, and discover how the painting remains a powerful source of inspiration for a wide range of people today – including poets, artists, schoolchildren and curators.
Three Titian paintings are reproduced on the side of the truck as if on a gallery wall, with the images in 3D frames. Supported by the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, The Titian Experience truck will appear at Hay, Grassington, Buxton and Latitude festivals between May and July 2013. The project supports the National Gallery’s aim to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible.
Dr Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, says: “In 2012, when we acquired Titian’s masterpiece Diana and Callisto to sit alongside Diana and Actaeon, I said that no greater pair of Old Master paintings could possibly be secured for the public. Last year, in celebration of these acquisitions, Diana and Actaeon went on tour to a number of venues around England and this cinema truck is another accessible and enjoyable opportunity for festival goers to learn more about these major acquisitions for the Nation.”
Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, says: “Mesmerising in conception and execution, Titian’s Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto are two of the most beautiful and important acquisitions ever made by a public collection. We are delighted to be supporting the National Gallery’s Titian Experience, and hope that festival-goers around the UK will have fun learning more about these great works of art.”
Diana and Callisto was acquired for the public in 2012 for £45 million by the National Gallery, London, and National Galleries of Scotland. This acquisition was made possible with the generous charitable support of individuals and trusts, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Art Fund and the Monument Trust. Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon were painted for King Philip II of Spain between 1556 and 1559 and belong to a group of large-scale mythologies inspired by the Roman poet Ovid’sMetamorphoses. At the same time, Titian began another painting associated with this pair, the Death of Actaeon, also in the National Gallery. For some reason, Titian never sent this painting to the king and it remained in his studio unfinished at his death.