In the winter of 1550 the most famous painter in Europe came face to face with the most powerful man on earth. What emerged from this encounter between Prince Philip of Spain and the Renaissance master Titian is seen as one of the most extraordinary commissions in all of Western art history.
Given almost total creative freedom, Titian was free to explore any subject he pleased. He returned with a set of increasingly dark and explicit images about sexual pursuit, assault and violence. Known as The Poesie, these pictures are admired for their groundbreaking brushwork and innovative composition – yet they remain Titian’s most disturbing and puzzling creations.
Now, coinciding with the National Gallery’s exhibition, which brought the paintings together for the first time in 300 years, we ask why this illusive, dark and often disturbing set of paintings has come to be seen as Titian’s greatest work.
This film includes scenes showing Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, closing the exhibition shortly after opening due to COVID-19.
First aired on 4 April 2020, the documentary is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days. Click here to watch.
You are cordially invited to self-guided tours of Artemisia and Titian. ARTES members will be able to access both exhibitions free of charge during the event (7 spaces are available).
Entry via the Sainsbury Wing to the Artemisia exhibition (accessible via the Sainsbury Wing Entrance, to the far left of the main portico on Trafalgar Square, and descend to level -2). Names will be checked off a security list.
10:00 – 10:30 am
Coffee break at the National Gallery café.
10:30 – 11:30 am
Meet at the Titian exhibition entrance (via room 5) where exhibition curator Matthias Wivel will provide a brief introduction before the members’ self-guided tour.
Attendees may check their belongings into one of the Gallery’s cloakrooms. Large bags and suitcases may not be brought into the Gallery. Please note that this event is by invitation only. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.