Titian, Diana and Callisto, 1556-9. Copyright: The National Gallery, London.
Titian’s interpretations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses – Diana and Callisto, Diana and Actaeon and The Death of Actaeon – have fascinated and inspired generations artists, from the Titian’s contemporaries to Lucien Freud, as well as choreographers, poets and observers. In conjunction with an exhibition at the National Gallery and celebrations that include a ballet and newly commissioned paintings, a host of poets, including Jo Shapcott, George Szirtes, Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage, Don Paterson, Carol Ann Duffy and Lavinia Greenlaw, have given us their own interpretations of these unsettling and sumptuous mythological scenes. Here Jo Shapcott reads her poem ‘Callisto’s Song’ and talks to online editor Ted Hodgkinson about what drew her to render Callisto’s tragic transformation and George Szirtes explains why he was compelled by Actaeon’s wayward gaze.
Tomorrow poems inspired by Titian by Jo Shapcott, George Szirtes, Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage, Don Paterson, Carol Ann Duffy and Lavinia Greenlaw will be published on granta.com
You can visit the National Gallery’s website for readings and more information about the ‘Titian: Metamorphosis’ celebrations.
Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9. Copyright: The National Gallery, London.
Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75. Copyright: The National Gallery, London.