Tiziano Vecellio, detto Tiziano
Oil on canvas
the fascinating and sensual myth of Danae, daughter of Acrisio, king of Argos, whose oracle had predicted death at the hands of a nephew, is narrated. To make it unreachable and thus prevent his daughter from procreating, Acrisio had chosen to close it in a bronze tower. But Jupiter, transformed into a golden shower, joined the woman and from the union was born Perseus, the mythical killer of the Medusa. The myth of Danae becomes for Titian a pretext to create one of the most natural female figures of the sixteenth century. The young woman, whose face is probably portrayed Angela, the cardinal's lover, softly lying on a white sheet, placidly welcomes the golden cloud that materializes in a shower of coins, an allusion perhaps to the profession of courtesan. The rarefied atmosphere makes the white meats of Danae and Cupid even more natural, with the shadows soaked in color that turn on the bodies in gentle and gradual chiaroscuro transitions. Titian, having started the painting in Venice, probably finished it in his Roman studio at the Palazzo del Belvedere in the Vatican where, in 1545, Michelangelo saw him who, on this occasion, praised his extraordinary "coloring", complaining, however, of the lack of drawing . Destined for the private rooms of Cardinal Alessandro, the painting, once in Naples, was struck by censorship in 1815, when it was decided to assign it to the so-called "Cabinet of obscene paintings" of the Royal Bourbon Museum, where the works of "inconvenient subject" were exhibited ".