Titian painting ‘Danae’ to go on display at National Gallery of Art


“Danae” depicts a beautiful maiden in bed, awaiting Jupiter, king of the gods. (Courtesy of Capodimonte Museum, Naples via National Gallery of Art))

Titian’s “Danae,” an Italian Renaissance painting noted for its sensuality, will be on display at the National Gallery of Art from July 1 through Nov. 2.

The painting by the master of the Venetian school, on loan from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, will help celebrate the beginning of Italy’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which runs July 1 through Dec. 31. Two other examples of Titian’s work in this genre, “Venus With a Mirror” and “Venus and Adonis,” from the Gallery’s permanent collection, are also on view in the West Building.

Titian, born in the Italian Alps around 1490, moved to Venice when he was young to study art and, in a seven-decade career, emerged as perhaps the greatest force in Venetian Renaissance painting. He mastered all the painted genres, producing portraits, madonnas, mythological creatures, nudes and meditative religious works.

“Danae,” commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a famed womanizer, depicts a beautiful maiden in bed, awaiting Jupiter, king of the gods. Looted by German troops during World War II, the painting was discovered in an Austrian salt mine at Altaussee in 1945 by the storied Monuments Men, subject of the movie of the same name starring George Clooney, and later returned to Italy.

“The richness of the Gallery’s collection of Venetian 16th-century painting includes the largest holdings in the United States of works by Titian and his studio, with 13 paintings, eight prints, and two drawings,” NGA Director Earl A. Powell III said in a statement. We “are pleased to present Danaë in such close proximity to other related works by Titian, celebrating the genius and legacy of one of the world’s most influential painters.”

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