Titiaan ‘De dood van Actaeon’ 1565-76

Woodland burial

Frances Leviston

Thrown water touched him and where it touched it said
his body was the same brownness leaves turn
when autumn is upon us, a swept-up heap
trembling where it stood,
that when the huntress concentrated
trees, tree-shadows, underbrush and blushes made a wood
and it was ever thus, that nothing can be other than as known
by a god, no truth a lie, no death long sleep.

Poised with springly longbow drawn
and back to the sun, the one who had revealed her form
from landscape or eyes
independent as a streak of white paint on a mirror
held him on her gaze
and held the torn canopy of clouds on the water
how she might have kept a spoonful of honey in the warm
fold of her tongue before it dissipated.

Not the greatest possible harm,
which needs to be known and named as such
to achieve its end, not what he fled, but the unofficial crime,
the moment she let her attention crop
those deep recursive avenues of beech to a backdrop
he broke against, confused,
so nothing in the landscape escaped his touch
and nothing left of him was in the picture she composed.


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, Seamus Heaney, 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..