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Inspired by Titian: Nudes and ballet at London’s National Gallery

Published time: July 11, 2012 12:08
Edited time: July 11, 2012 16:08
Titian's Diana and Actaeon (Photo from

Titian's Diana and Actaeon (Photo from

London’s National Gallery is displaying an ambitious project called Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. Modern artists have been invited to present their take to the three great Titian paintings centred in the display.

The project aims to connect contemporary art with Titian’s timeless masterpieces. British choreographers, dancers, artists and poets were invited to find inspiration in the three Titian works and create art of their own.

The trio of paintings  – “Diana and Actaeon,” “Diana and Callisto” and “The Death of Actaeon” are on display together for the first time since the 18th century, the museum said. The three scenes depict stories from Ovid's epic poem “Metamorphoses.” The paintings are placed at the entrance to the exhibition.

Contemporary British artists are displaying their work in rooms alongside.

Mark Wallinger has accommodated nude women in the gallery in response to Titian’s sublime depiction of women’s bodies. Wallinger’s work titled “Diana” is a live installation featuring eight women bathing in turn in a bath installed in the center of a hall. One can observe the bathing women but only through a keyhole, a blinded window or through other small holes between the observer and the “art behind the wall.”

The National Gallery also invited Leading British poets to take part in the project. Seamus Heaney, Tony Harrison, Christopher Reid, Carol Ann Duffy, Wendy Cope and Simon Armitage have written their poems in response to three Titian masterpieces.

The museum is also displaying sets and costumes from ballets dedicated to “Metamorphoses” and Titian. The Royal Ballet has place videos of the ballets in the museum. They will also be premiered live at the Royal Opera House starting from July 14 though July 20.

The is part of London 2012 Festival, which is linked to this summer’s Olympics in London.