The subject of this painting approximately follows Ovid's account in the 'Metamorphoses'. In revenge for surprising her as she bathed naked in the woods, the goddess Diana transformed Actaeon into a stag and his own hounds attacked and killed him.
This is probably the picture referred to by Titian in a letter of June 1559 to Philip II of Spain, in which he says he hopes to finish two paintings he has already started, one of which is described as 'Actaeon mauled by his hounds'. In fact most of the work may date from the mid-1560s.
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The Death of Actaeon Print
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