Here is Titian’s magnificent portrayal of the fable in which Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos, was locked up in a tower by her father. He wanted to prevent her from having children, because the Oracle had told him that he would be killed by his grandson. However, Zeus fell in love with Danae, and possessed her by turning into a shower of golden rain. From their union Perseus was born - the hero who killed the Medusa and saved Andromeda. When taking part in the Olympic Games, he accidentally killed Acrisius when he threw a javelin, thereby fulfilling the Oracle’s prophesy.
The painting is composed of a superb female nude, seen from the front. Titian sent it to King Philip II along with another picture, Venus and Adonis, which also hangs in this room, in which the female nude is seen from behind.
The shower falls upon Danae in wonderful shades of gold. On the right of the picture, we can see an old woman, a kind of matchmaker, who is trying to collect some of the golden droplets. Perhaps the artist was trying to refer to love paid for in gold… The little lapdog was a common feature shown next to models, and typically belonged to courtesans.
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns
The MUSMon audiguide to visit the National Prado Museum reveals to you the secrets of great masters and works, such as Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, Titian, Ribera, etc. It explains the main artistic and historical elements and tells you anecdotes and curiosities about a representative selection of works and authors present in the Madrid museum.
Why is there a clothed and a nude maja? Was Vulcano a crippled god? Who is the person that is reflected in the mirror? Is Rubens painted in his work Adoration of the Magi? We give you the answers to these and many other questions. +info