“Love is the force that leaves you colorless,” writes the Roman poet Ovid in his magnum opus, Metamorphoses. For a 1550 commission from King Philip II of Spain, Titian, inspired by stories from Ovid, began what he would call his “poesie” paintings: six large-scale works exploring classical myths of love, temptation, and punishment. They were completed during the years 1551 to 1562. In this spectacular show the six paintings have been brought together for the first time in over three centuries. Originally presented in London in 2020, at the National Gallery, the exhibition was titled “Titian: Love, Desire, Death.” The Gardner museum—its collection the life’s work of the intrepid “Donna Isabella,” as she was sometimes called—has given the show a feminist inflection, reflected in the title change. —J.V.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, USA Get Directions »