Tityus, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Charcoal and black chalk on paper, 33 x 19 cm, 1532, London, Royal Collection Trust / ©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Before 1548, when Titian began to paint the “Furias”, the only important earlier depiction of Tityus was the drawing that Michelangelo gave to Tommaso de’Cavalieri in 1532. On the reverse, Michelangelo transformed the mythological figure of Tityus into a Risen Christ.

Michelangelo believed that only classical sculpture offered a formal repertoire appropriate for recreating the myths of antiquity and his principal source of inspiration was the Laocoön, which became a key reference for any painter depicting the Furies from this date onwards.

Beatrizet’s engraving resulted in the immediate dissemination of Michelangelo’s composition. Gregorio Martínez produced an original version of it, placing innovative importance on the giant’s suffering face and adding a cloth to cover the figure’s genitals. This is one of the very few Spanish Renaissance mythological paintings.


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