Titian: Love, Desire, Death

Thursday, 26th March 2020


See Titian's extraordinary series of mythological masterpieces reunited for the first time in over four hundred years. This historic exhibition will bring together works owned by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland with The Rape of Europa from Boston, Venus and Adonis from the Prado Museum and exceptionally, thanks to a new landmark decision allowing its works to be lent for the very first time, Perseus and Andromeda from The Wallace Collection.

Titian’s meeting with the future King of Spain, Philip II, resulted in one of the greatest commissions of the 16th century, a series of mythological ‘poesie’ as Titian described  them, in other words paintings that would be the visual equivalents of poetry. What was required was something grand on a classical theme but also something which would also appeal to the personal tastes of the King and his predilection for sensual subject matter. Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto, Danaë, Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Europa and Perseus and Andromeda were a perfect choice since they drew on classical literary sources, emphasizing the patron’s erudition, but also addressed themes of seduction, love, violence and drama.

Our introductory lecture is given by National Gallery lecturer and Renaissance specialist Siân Walters. Siân will examine the works' genesis and evolution, discussing Titian's radical technique and approach to story-telling. We will learn how the series was eventually dispersed and how the paintings became the property of a number of illustrious collectors, including the Queen of Sweden, the Duke of Orleans, Richard Wallace and Anthony van Dyck. We also learn how these masterpieces continued to exert a powerful force on generations of painters, from Rubens and Velázquez to Rembrandt and Lucian Freud.



Please meet at The Linnean Society (on the left hand side of the courtyard as you come into Burlington House) in advance of our lecture which will begin at 11.30. Doors will open at 11.00 - we recommend allowing time to sign in and collect your tickets before the talk begins.

Our introductory talk given by Siân Walters will take place in the ground floor Meeting Room (opposite the main entrance as you come in).  You may like to have a coffee in the RA before the talk begins (please note, there are no refreshment facilties at The Linnean Society although we will provide complimentary juice and biscuits on your arrival).

After lunch (optional) we have timed entry tickets in the early afternoon to the National Gallery exhibition (just a 5-minute walk from the restaurant). Lecturing is not permitted in the exhibition but your lecturer will be on hand to answer questions. The day will finish at about 4.00. The fee will be £35.00 per person and includes an introductory lecture and timed entry tickets.

Please see below for study day reductions


Please let us know if you would like to join us for lunch - we will eat at a very reasonably-priced Italian restaurant near the National Gallery. Payment (in cash) can be made on the day.

Please let us know on the booking form if you have any food intolerances, allergies or dietary requirements.

Further Study Day Information

Location and Directions

The Linnean Society
Burlington House
London W1J 0BF
Tel : 020 7434 4479

To view a map of the venue location click here

Travel Information:
Burlington House is situated on Piccadilly, approximately half-way between Green Park and Piccadilly underground stations. Bus services 9, 14, 19, 22 and 38 pass the entrance.

We then go by foot to the National Gallery where the exhibition will take place. The address is Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

National Gallery members receive a discount of £6.00 - please inform us when booking, thank you. Please deduct this if paying by cheque, or if booking online we will refund you shortly after the study day has taken place. This will be actioned via Paypal (please let us know if you do not have a Paypal account and we will send you a refund by cheque).

However, members must book their own timed entry slot in advance - we regret that the gallery does not allow us to do this for you. Members can log in using their password to the members' website, and select a convenient timed entry slot. We would recommend doing this well in advance, to guarantee entry at your required time. For those joining the group for lunch, we would recommend that you book a timed entry slot no earlier than 2.30pm.

We are afraid that we are unable to offer discounts if we are informed about passes after bookings have been made. Thank you. We regret that other reductions are not available for this study day.

If you would like to join us please fill in the online booking form. If you would prefer to send a booking form by post please download a copy here.

Once your booking has been accepted, we will notify you by email. If you have not received an email confirmation, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders. If you have not received a confirmation please do contact us to ensure that we have received your booking.

Normally we will not need to send you any further information, so please just bring the study day details and email confirmation with you on the day. We regret we are unable to offer refunds on unused tickets, but tickets may be transferred to someone else for the event you have booked. Please give us 48 hours notice if you wish to do so.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event.

Image - Titian, The Rape of Europa © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

My friend and I enjoyed the day immensely. The lecture put everything in context and made the exhibition more meaningful. Thank you”

Mrs Pauline Scott

Read more testimonials and comments


Below are the other dates for this study day:


  • One of the highlights of this year's exhibition calendar
  • Introductory presentation by National Gallery lecturer
  • Timed entry tickets included
  • Delicious lunch arranged
  • Reductions available



Booking is now closed.

If you have any questions regarding the study day or booking please send us an email or
call on +44 (0)1932 267322

Recommended Reading

Visit the AHF bookstore for a list of recommended books and products to accompany this study day.


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