(or Danaë and the Shower of Gold
) is a series of at least six versions of the same composition by Italian painter Titian
and his workshop made between about 1544 and the 1560s. The scene is based on the mythological
, as -very briefly- recounted by the Roman poet Ovid
, and at greater length by Boccaccio
. She was isolated in a bronze tower following a prophecy that her firstborn would eventually kill her father. Although aware of the consequences, Danaë was seduced and became pregnant by Zeus
(in Roman mythology Jupiter
), who, inflamed by lust, descended from Mount Olympus
to seduce her in the form of a shower of gold.
Titian and his workshop produced at least six versions of the painting, which vary to degrees. The major surviving versions are in Naples, London, Madrid, Vienna, Chicago, and St. Petersburg. The voluptuous figure of Danaë, with legs half spread, hardly changes, and was probably traced from a studio drawing or version. Her bed and its hangings are another constant. Other elements vary considerably; the first version, now in Naples, was painted between 1544–46, and is the only one with a figure of Cupid
at the right, rather than an old woman catching the shower of gold. She is a different figure at each appearance, though the pose in the Hermitage follows the Prado version. The small dog resting at Danaë's side in the Prado
and Chicago versions is generally absent. Read more...