Diana And Actaeon Essay

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“Diana and Actaeon;” The Similarities and Differences between the Original Ovidian Episode and Titian’s Painting

When one mentions the story of “Diana and Actaeon,” one’s mind most commonly recalls the transition story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where Actaeon accidentally stumbles upon the goddess Diana naked in the woods while on a hunting trip, and she metamorphoses him into a deer, therefore his hunting dogs devour him (Ovid 55). This is a very well-known episode from the Metamorphoses, because it is where Ovid first delves into the discussion of whether the gods are just in the punishments; for this reason, “Diana and Actaeon” has inspired numerous visual translations depicting different scenes from the episode. The famous Italian artist
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In order to present this information in a logical way that viewers would understand, Titian could not just paint exactly what Ovid wrote in “Diana and Actaeon,” because there is too much information in an entire episode of the Metamorphoses for Titian to include in a single work of art. Due to this issue, Titian had to pick and choose which objects and scenes to include in his work “Diana and Actaeon” in order to convey the most material from the episode while still making the painting comprehensible to someone who has never read “Diana and Actaeon.” For example, for Titian to include every element of Actaeon’s transformation into a deer, he would have to progress the metamorphosis across the page, almost as if a time-lapse was happening going across the entire painting. While this method of painting would incorporate all of the elements of the transformation, it would leave out main parts of the story, including Actaeon originally stumbling upon Diana bathing, or Actaeon getting devoured by his hunting dogs after they notice him as a

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