Lot 172
  • 172


80,000 - 120,000 USD
275,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Danaë
  • oil on canvas


Possibly Gonzaga Castle at Novellara;
Acquired by Francois Raymond, agent of Napolean's army in Italy, in 1796-1797;
Princess Galitzine (this and the above according to Suida 1935, p. 17), by 1885;
Possibly Russian Corporation, New York, 1920;
Lucerne Art trade, 1935;
Ernst Plancha, Lucerne, 1962;
Acquired by the family of the present owner circa 1970. 


Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, 1877 (according to Suida 1935, p. 175).


W. Suida, Le Titien, Paris 1935, pp. 117-118, 175, reproduced, plate 211 (as Titian);
H. Wethey, The Paintings of Titian, vol. III, London 1975, p. 210, cat. no. X-11. 

Catalogue Note

This grand Danaë takes as its departure point Titian’s famous original, datable to 1544, painted for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese during the artist's brief and only visit to Rome (1544-5). It was to remain in the Palazzo Farnese, Rome, until the mid 17th century (see H. Wethey 1975, cat. no. 5) and is now in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Titian later revisited the subject. The Danaë in the Wellington collection at Apsley House is now considered to be the version painted by Titian for Philip II in circa 1549–53, as the first in his great set of six mythological paintings (the ‘poesie’), while the celebrated picture of the same subject at the Prado, now dated 1565, was acquired in Italy by Velázquez, entering the Spanish Royal Collection in 1634. With these two groundbreaking canvases, Titian ushered in a taste for sensuous female nudes that perfectly encapsulated the Venetian tradition for warm color, soft contours, and a celebration of dynamic paint application. It comes as little surprise then that this particular composition found great demand on the open market, and numerous sixteenth century versions or variants executed by the Titian workshop and his immediate circle are recorded. The present example is a particularly impressive example, which in this case follows most closely the Naples original, while omitting Cupid.