Titian Masterpiece set to attract thousands to gallery


27 May 2010

Titian's Diana and Actaeon, one of the great masterpieces of Western art, will go on show on Friday 28 May at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoollhill.

To mark the first anniversary of the nation's acquisition of Diana and Actaeon the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the National Gallery in London decided that the painting would go on tour and, that Aberdeen Art Gallery would be the first of three venues in Scotland to display the painting.

This year Aberdeen Art Gallery celebrates its 125th anniversary of bringing art to the people so it is fitting that such a prestigious painting owned by the nation will be on display for local residents to see on their own doorstep until Sunday 27 June 2010.

A high profile exhibition such as this will bring huge benefits to the local economies too because many people are expected to travel to Aberdeen to see it.

Diana and Actaeon is one of six large-scale mythologies inspired by the Roman poet Ovid that Titian painted for King Philip II of Spain. Titian began the picture and its companion Diana and Callisto in 1556, the year of Philip's coronation. Spurred on by the prestige of royal patronage, he unleashed all his creativity to produce works of unprecedented beauty and inventiveness.

Titian worked for three years to perfect these masterpieces, which were shipped to Spain in 1559. He claimed their lengthy genesis was due to the relentless pains he took to make sumptuous works of art worthy of the King.

Diana and Actaeon was acquired for the nation by the NGS and the National Gallery in London in February 2009, following a large scale public and private fundraising campaign. The painting was bought for £50 million from the Duke of Sutherland with generous contributions from private and public donations, Scottish Government, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Monument Trust and The Art Fund, along with National Gallery, London and NGS funds.

Christine Rew, manager of Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums said: "We are delighted to be the first gallery to host this impressive painting on its summer tour. It is a wonderful opportunity for local people to appreciate Titian's exceptional masterpiece in Aberdeen and I am sure it will attract many new visitors to the Art Gallery."

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: "The successful campaign to acquire Titian's Diana and Actaeon brought one of the great masterpieces of Western art into public ownership.

"This painting has not been on public view outside London or Edinburgh for several centuries and we are thrilled that the first stop in this tour of Scotland is Aberdeen where the public will now have an opportunity to experience the power and magic of this great painting at first hand."

Aberdeen City Council's Vice Convener for Education, Culture and Sport Martin Greig said: "I am truly delighted that this magnificent work by Titian will be coming to Aberdeen. The national collection is for everyone to enjoy so local people should have improved access to the treasures which are bought and owned on behalf of the public. There is a great appetite for culture in the city and throughout the region and I am sure that this exhibition will be a huge success for Aberdeen Art Gallery."

From Aberdeen the touring exhibition will go to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow from Thursday 01 July to Sunday 01 August then move onto the McManus Galleries, Dundee from Friday 06 August to Sunday 05 September.

If you have any queries regarding this, or any other news story, please contact Aberdeen City Council on: 08456 080910.


Jason Williamson, Exhibitions Manager, discusses Titian's Diana and Actaeon with STV.