Titian (active about 1506; died 1576), Diana and Actaeon, 1556-59, Bought jointly by the National Gallery and National Galleries of Scotland with contributions from the Scottish Government, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Monument Trust, The Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and through public appeal, 2009. Photo © The National Gallery, London.

National Gallery Observes Olympics with Metamorphosis: Titian 2012

Titian (active about 1506; died 1576), The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75, Oil on canvas, 178.8 x 197.8 cm, Bought with a special grant and contributions from The Art Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and through public appeal, 1972.Photo © The National Gallery, London.

Titian (active about 1506; died 1576), Diana and Callisto, 1556-59, Oil on canvas, Bought jointly by the National Gallery and National Galleries of Scotland with contributions from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, The Monument Trust and through private appeal and bequests, 2012.

Metamorphosis: Titian, 2012, Photograph: Chris Nash. Image concept: Dewynters in collaboration with the National Gallery. Design: The National Gallery.


National Gallery
Trafalger Square
+ 44 (0)20 7747 2885
Sainsbury Wing
Metamorphosis: Titian 2012
July 11-September 23, 2012

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 includes a range of contemporary artists — choreographers, composers, poets and visual artists respond to paintings by Renaissance master Titian. Their work is displayed at the National Gallery and performed at the Royal Opera House by The Royal Ballet.

At the heart of this collaboration are three of the greatest masterpieces by Titian in the United Kingdom —Diana and Actaeon, Death of Actaeon, and Diana and Callisto, shown in the exhibition at The National Gallery. The aim of the project is to demonstrate how masterpieces by Titian continue to inspire living artists today.

Three British contemporary artists: Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger create settings for new ballets at The Royal Opera House that respond to the Titian paintings. Their work is shown as an exhibition at the National Gallery, sponsored by Credit Suisse, in which the process of their response to Titian and the evolution of their own independent work of art is demonstrated. Each artist has a room in the exhibition space to show both preparatory studies for the ballets, along with new pieces created for the project.

Seven choreographers collaborate with the artists to create an evening of three new works, in response to three great paintings by Titian and original music commissioned from leading British composers. Wayne McGregor will work with Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup, and Christopher Wheeldon will work alongside Alastair Marriott with Will Tuckett, Jonathan Watkins and Liam Scarlett.

Original music for the ballets has been commissioned from Mark-Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Dove and Nico Muhly. The performances is the last body of work under Monica Mason as Director of the Royal Ballet and a performance on July 16, 2012 will also be relayed live on a big screen in Trafalgar Square.

The National Gallery will also oversee a New Poetry Project. The Project commissions a range of poets to write new work inspired by the Diana series, re-examining the Ovid text and its influence on Titian.

The poets represent the quality and range of writing in Britain today including poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage — winner of the Keats Shelley Poetry Prize 2010. Their work will be published in the accompanying catalogue.

The three Titian paintings are inspired by Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The paintings depict the fatal consequences of a mortal tragically caught up in the affairs of the gods. They are remarkable for their powerful dramatization of extremes in human emotion, with their rich array of colour, contrasting textures and atmospheric effects. As Titian took inspiration from Ovid, this program celebrates artistic creativity and, like the Olympics, link to ancient Greece.

Mark Wallinger, © Charlie Hopkins.

Chris Ofili, © Courtesy of the Victoria Miro Gallery.

Conrad Shawcross, © Courtesy of the Victoria Miro Gallery.