13 September 2021
Titian, The Rape of Europa, 1559–1562
Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Women, Myth & Power
An exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston until 2 Jan. 2022
With Chris Boïcos
Titian (c. 1488-1576) transformed Western Art. Employed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Princes, two Popes and his native city of Venice he forged a peerless international reputation as Europe’s leading portraitist and master of mythological subjects in the 16th century. In 1896 the great Boston collector, Isabella Stewart Gardner, bought Titian’s Rape of Europa which became the most famous Renaissance artwork in America. This exhibition brings together the five companions of the painting, re-uniting a legendary series of six mythological paintings – “poesie” – commissioned by King Philip II of Spain in the 1550s.
The exhibition explores each paintings’ story, drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and focusses on the works’ drama, emotion and symbolism as well as the topics of gender, power and sexual exploitation as viewed in the Renaissance and of course from the perspective of today’s “Me Too” movement.
Titian, Perseus and Andromeda, c. 1554–1556
London, The Wallace Collection
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