Pygmalion, by Gerome, 1881

Pygmalion, by Gerome, 1881.


Cesare Lucchini

Realist Painter Dean Larsen

artwork: Dean Larson -  "Dance Rehearsal III", 2011 - Oil on Canvas - 40" x 52". Image © the artist, courtesy of the John Pence Gallery.

Metamorphosis Performance & Rehearsals

Marianela Nunez and The Royal Ballet in Diana and Actaeon. Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/Johan Persson, 2012.

Melissa Hamilton and The Royal Ballet in Trespass, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/Johan Persson, 2012


Edward Watson and Tamara Rojo in Machina, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/Johan Persson, 2012.


Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in rehearsals for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/The Ballet Bag


Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in rehearsals for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/The Ballet Bag



Titian & The Royal Ballet

Three different creative teams formed by a contemporary artist, a composer plus a pair or a trio of choreographers have produced three brand new dance pieces in response to the Titian paintings currently on display at the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing: Diana and Callisto depicting the moment where the chaste goddess is shocked to discover the pregnancy of the most beautiful of her nymphs, Callisto, Diana and Actaeon in which the young hunter intrudes upon the bathing Diana, and The Death of Actaeon where the hunter – turned into a stag by the revengeful goddess – is torn to pieces by his own hounds.

Considered among Titian’s greatest works, these large canvasses are the painter’s own creative response to Ovid’s poems, Metamorphoses, and they are the best starting point in order to understand what now motivates each of these three creative teams:


The first work by Wayne McGregor and Kim Brandstrup, Machina, eschews narrative in favour of suggestion and minimalism. Extreme angular shapes by the dancers, a baroque-influenced score by Nico Muhly and a high-tech concept by artist Conrad Shawcross. Known for his structural and mechanical montages, Shawcross has distilled the essence of Titian’s main character in his “Diana-robot”. The machine takes centre stage, sometimes vulnerable, but mostly dominant: Diana as a huntress on the look out for her next target.


In Trespass we see the symbols from Titian’s paintings come to life. Mark Wallinger has put his artistic focus on the crescent moon headdress worn by Diana in two of the paintings, as well as on the peculiar juxtaposition of Diana/Actaeon across Titian’s canvasses. Diana is goddess of the hunt but also of the moon, thus the idea of celestial bodies, the suggestion of man exploring and trespassing, with a nod to the Apollo mission. With a thrilling score by Mark-Anthony Turnage and a set that provides a 180-degree viewpoint for audiences (thanks to Wallinger’s giant curved mirror), Alastair Marriott and Christopher Wheeldon have created for dancers Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Nehemiah Kish and Melissa Hamilton solos and duos of exquisite shapes (spot the crescent moon-shaped lift) that often recall antique sculpture.


Dance is an ideal medium for fleshing out emotion. While in Titian’s paintings we can only imagine Diana’s outrage at being discovered naked by the hunter Actaeon, on stage choreographers can attempt to translate those feelings into steps. Against the exotic and colourful landscape designed by Chris Ofili, Will Tuckett, Liam Scarlett and Jonathan Watkins examine the focal narrative point in Titian’s  work and explore this encounter between “Diana and Actaeon” from three different angles: surprise, outrage, anger, fear, threat and desire are suggested in the three pas de deux danced by Royal Ballet principals Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli.

These three works, brimming with creativity and personality have much to offer to art lovers.Machina might appeal to those who admire contemporary dance, Trespass has a distinctive neoclassical flavour, while Diana and Actaeon will appeal to story-ballet lovers. All in all, this is a wonderful opportunity to see a cross-collaborative project come alive, a unique event in the London 2012 Festival calendar.

Titian's 'Diana and Actaeon' (1556-59)Titian’s ‘Diana and Actaeon’ (1556-59

Titian's 'Diana and Callisto' (1556-59)Titian’s ‘Diana and Callisto’ (1556-59)

'The Death of Actaeon' (1559-75) by Titian

‘The Death of Actaeon’ (1559-75) by Titian

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 


Landscape discovered in Raphael painting X-ray discovery may rewrite an important page in the history of art

Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael, 1483-1520), ‘Granduca’ Madonna
Palazzo Pitti, Florence

(Corriere della Sera, 23rd December 2010):

Could a dark, almost black background surrounding the figures of one of Raphael’s most famous paintings, the Granduca Madonna in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, change the story of a painter and the way he is researched? And it is possible that an analysis of the panel recently conducted by the OPD (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) in Florence could give a definitive answer to a question that has divided three generations of art historians between two theories: has the black background always existed, or was it added later? Here is the answer in a few words from Marco Ciatti: “The parts painted over the black background are successive retouchings.” Is this an opinion? No, it is a certainty, because the X-ray fluorescence analysis, in practice a radiographic procedure that analyses the chemical components of the pigment, shows that the parts painted over the black background and the background itself are not original, but were added later than the Madonna and Child.

Paper and Ink Prayer Mat



Drawings by France Belleville-Van Stone

 A portrait done during lunch after a photo by Gunnar Salvarsson.  

I started out with the intention of turning these pen portraits into pencil portraits later but of course, the latter never materialize.  I love drawing with a pen.  It is so unmerciful — you can’t help but let go of aiming for perfection.  

Pigma Micron in sketchbook.

 Boy by Gunnisal with Pigma Micron


Camille Claudel

“Il y a toujours quelque chose d’absent qui me tourmente.”

“There is always something missing that torments me.”

― Camille Claudel

Auguste Rodin

AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)

Rodin was a prolific draughtsman, producing some 10,000 drawings, over 7,000 of which are now in the Musée Rodin, Paris. His drawings were seldom used as studies or projects for a sculpture or monument. The draughtsman’s oeuvre developed in tandem with the sculptor’s. Although the works on paper can only be shown periodically, owing to their fragility, the role they played in Rodin’s art was by no means minor. As the sculptor himself said at the end of his life, “It’s very simple. My drawings are the key to my work,” (Benjamin, 1910).

Pol Marsan Dornac - Rodin devant le monumRodin devant le monument à Sarmiento, les mains dans les poches, outils posés sur une planche





H. 25.7 cm ; W. 15 cm ; D. 17.7 cm


When Camille Claudel first joined Rodin’s studio, she was only 20 years old. From the outset, her face captivated the sculptor, who made several portraits of the young woman, very probably that same year: Camille Claudel with Short HairCamille Claudel with a BonnetMask of Camille Claudel. The version with a bonnet was executed in various materials, from terracotta, the first stage, to bronze and glass paste,much later, in 1911.


Her face, which shows “the triumphant glow of beauty and genius”, a “superb” forehead, “magnificent eyes” and a “large mouth more proud than sensual” (Paul Claudel, 1951), nonetheless also reveals a sense of estrangement. By leaving traces of his working method visible – tiny drops of clay in the corner of her eyes like tears, traces of seams from the mould, like so many scars, Rodin used the very medium of his sculpture to bring out an underlying sadness, the emotional distance the sitter had put between them, her gaze far away.


As he had done with Rose Beuret and Mrs Russell, Rodin used the young woman’s features in allegorical portraits such as Aurora, circa 1895-97  and France (circa 1902-03), or in compositions that modified their meaning: Mask of Camille Claudel with the Left Hand of Pierre de Wissant, circa 1895 , or Farewell, circa 1898 , also known as The Convalescent (1906-07/1914).

Auguste Rodin<br>T&ecirc;te de Camille Claudel coiff&eacute;e d'un bonnet<br>&copy; Mus&eacute;e Rodin - Photo : Christian Baraja