Titiaan ‘De dood van Actaeon’ 1565-76


Seamus Heaney

High burdened brow, the antlers that astound,
Arms that end now in two hardened feet,
His nifty haunches, pointed ears and fleet
Four-legged run… In the pool he saw a crowned
Stag’s head and heard something that groaned
When he tried to speak. And it was no human sweat
That steamed of him: he was like a beast in heat,
As if he’d prowled and stalked until he found

The grove, the grotto and the bathing place
Of the goddess and her nymphs, as if he’d sought
That virgin nook deliberately, as if
His desires were hounds that had quickened pace
On Diana’s scent before his own pack wrought
Her vengeance on him, at bay beneath the leaf-

lit woodland. There his branchy antlers caught
When he faced the hounds
That couldn’t know him as they bayed and fought
And tore out mouthfuls of hide and flesh and blood
From what he was, while his companions stood
Impatient for the kill, assessing wounds.


Ter gelegenheid van de Olympische spelen toont de National Gallery in Londen drie schilderijen van Titiaan uit zijn reeks ‘metamorfosen’.
Het betreft de volgende schilderijen:

·         Diana en Actaeon 1556-9
Olieverf op canvas 184 x 202 cm

·         De dood van Actaeon 1565-76
Olieverf op canvas 178 x 198 cm

·         Diana en Callisto 1556-9
Olieverf op canvas 187 x 204 cm

Ter gelegenheid van deze expositie zijn veertien dichters verzocht te reflecteren op deze schilderijen. Het bovenstaande gedicht is een van deze veertien gedichten, de anderen zijn:

Patience Agbabi, Simon Armitage, Wendy Cope, Carol Ann Duffy, Lavinia Greenlaw, Tony Harrison, Frances Leviston, Sinéad Morressey,  Don Paterson, Christopher Reid, Jo Shapcott, George Szirtes, Hugo Williams.

In mijn KunstKolom over de doorwerking van de metamorfosen in de beeldende kunst kunt u meer lezen over deze expositie,  de metamorfosen, Titiaan e.v.a..