Inventory number
P00425
Author
Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
Title
Danaë receiving the Golden Rain
Chronology
1560-1565
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
129,8 cm x 181,2 cm
School
Italian
Theme
Mythology
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, tercera pieza de la Furriera, 1747, nº 158; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 36; Casa de Rebeque, Madrid, 1794, nº 158; Academia, Madrid, Sala Reservada, 1827, nº 51).

The first Poesie presented to Prince Philip were Danaë (1553, The Wellington Collection) and Venus and Adonis (1554, Museo del Prado, P422), versions of other previous works, but endowed with all the prestige of the commissioning party. In turn, these works became models for numerous replicas (Danaë receiving the Golden Rain, 1560-65, Museo del Prado, P425).
Danaë depicts the moment in which Jupiter possesses the princess in the form of golden rain. Titian painted his first Danaë in Rome in 1544-45 for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, in reference to the Cardinal's love affair with a courtesan. This Danaë was the model for the version created for Philip II, in which Cupid was replaced by an old nursemaid, whose inclusion enriched the painting by creating a series of sophisticated counterpoints: youth versus old age; beauty versus loyalty; a nude figure versus a dressed figure.
Philip II received this work (Danaë, The Wellington Collection) in 1553 and it was kept in the Spanish Royal Collection, first at the Alcázar and, subsequently, at the Buen Retiro Palace, until Ferdinand VII presented the work to the Duke of Wellington following the Peninsula War. Its original size was similar to that of Venus and Adonis, but at the end of the 18th century, the upper third of the painting was removed for reasons of preservation. Historical descriptions and a Flemish copy reveal that the upper section included Jupiter's face and an eagle with bolts of lightning, both attributes of this particular god.
A few years later, in 1565, Titian painted the Danaë that belongs to the Museo del Prado, a work featuring a looser execution and an extraordinary quality, the result of the high price that must have been paid by the commissioning party, possibly Francesco Vrins, a Flemish merchant resident in Venice. Velasquez purchased this work during his first trip to Italy and he sold it to Philip IV so that it could be placed in the Palace of El Buen Retiro. However, later on, in 1666, it replaced Philip II's Danaë in the "Bóvedas de Tiziano" Halls at the Real Alcázar, being paired with Venus and Adonis.

 
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