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Thaw Conservation Center

St. Theodore | Actaeon | What does it all mean? | About the imaging process

Titian's Heroes: A Forensic Analysis

Detail of Titian drawing under normal light Detail of Titian drawing under infrared light Detail of Titian painting Detail of Titian painting under inrared light

Two young heroes—St. Theodore and Actaeon—stride forward with one arm raised. One approaches a fallen dragon, the other a bathing goddess. One holds a lance; the other holds nothing. But their poses are strikingly similar. What is the link between the two? Is Titian's pen-and-ink drawing of St. Theodore related to the oil rendering of Actaeon in his celebrated painting Diana and Actaeon? Conservators in the Thaw Conservation Center partnered with international colleagues to analyze these two sixteenth-century Venetian works using imaging techniques much like those employed by forensic investigators. Use this guide to explore the issues and analyze the evidence.

This web feature is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Renaissance Venice: Drawings from the Morgan, organized by Rhoda Eitel-Porter.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the Alex Gordon Fund for Exhibitions.

Generous support is provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and by Robert B. Loper, with additional assistance from members of the Visiting Committee to the Department of Drawings and Prints.

The authors of this research, Margaret Holben Ellis and Eliza Spaulding, gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Silvia Centeno, Vincent Ducourau, Rhoda Eitel-Porter, Nica Rieppi, Marco Leona, Charles Noble, Mary Oey, Justine Pokoik, Gianluca Poldi, Reba Snyder, Lesley Stevenson, Frank Trujillo, Peter Tytell, Nancy Yocco and the Mariposa Foundation.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.