Titian Paints "Diana and Actaeon"

Diana and Actaeon is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian, finished in 1556-1559, and is considered amongst Titian's greatest works.

It portrays the moment in which the goddess Diana meets Actaeon. In 2008-2009, the National Gallery, London and National Gallery of Scotland successfully campaigned to acquire the painting from the Bridgewater Collection for £50m. As a result, Diana and Actaeon will remain on display in the UK, and will alternate between the two galleries on 5-year terms.

A grotto in the forest, leafy, dense and dark. Behind is the bright blue and light of a cloud-scudded sky. In the grotto is a fountain and pool, at which the huntress Diana and her nymphs disport themselves, naked. The girls are washing the goddess: she has her foot balanced, in a pose that is ever so slightly undignified, on the edge of the fountain. One of the nymphs rubs her calf with a cloth. Into this intensely intimate and feminine scene blunders Actaeon, a hunter, a prince of the house of Cadmus. He pushes aside an improvised curtain and sees them, in all their fleshy glory. A terrible sin for a man to see a goddess like this - let alone the strict and chaste Diana.