Inventory number
P00425
Author
Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
Title
Danaë receiving the Golden Rain
Chronology
1553
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 myth of Danaë tells how Acrisius, King of Argos and father of Danaë, consulted an oracle who foretold his death at the hands of his grandson. In order to avoid this, he locked Danaëin a tower, which failed to prevent Zeus from possessing her in the form of golden rain.

Titian had approached this subject years earlier (Naples, Capodimonte Museum), and the similarities between the two paintings are obvious, but so are the differences. The Prado Museum's Danaë, with its less clear profiles and looser brushstrokes, surpasses the Neapolitan work in sensuality.

For Felipe II, Titian painted a series of works known as Poesie based on classical texts, mainly Ovid's Metamorphoses. Two of them —Danaë and Venus and Adonis (P00422)— are in the Prado Museum. Other works in this series include Diana and Acteon, Diana and Calixto (both at the National Gallery in Edinburgh), The Rape of Europe (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston) and Perseus and Andromeda (The Wallace Collection, London). Titian himself chose the subject matter for these works, which he called Poesie and, beyond symbolic or moral interpretations, they were conceived as paintings to delight the senses.

The Poesie paintings appear in the inventories of Madrid's Alcázar Palace beginning in 1623. They entered the Prado Museum collection in 1827.

 
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