There is You: Titian’s Diana and Callisto

Gain a new perspective on Titian’s Diana and Callisto through the poetry of Visiting Curator of Performing Arts, Helga Davis.

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As part of the interpretation process for the exhibition Titian: Women, Myth & Power, the Gardner Museum worked with six collaborators who brought their individual perspectives to this exhibition. Each person chose a different Titian painting, crafted a response, and recorded their contribution. Those audio recordings are available both in the exhibition gallery and online. One of our authors, Visiting Curator of Performing Arts, Helga Davis, shares her response to Diana and Callisto.

Diana and Callisto by Titian.

Titian (Italian, about 1488–1576), Diana and Callisto, 1556–1559. Oil on canvas, 187 x 204.5 cm (73 5/8 x 80 1/2 in.)
The National Gallery, London and National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh (NG6616/NG2844). See it in the special exhibition “Titian: Women, Myth & Power,” August 12, 2021 - January 2, 2022.

There Is You


There! There is you

in the many, in the powerful

in the absent, in the few

in the question in the answer in the clue

in the step in the run in the pride before the Fall

in the lips in the promise in the writing on the wall

where I see but am blind

words uttered and unkind

That’s where I find You.


By the water, at its 


underneath hides the broken pledge 

in a hurry in a bind just about to lose my mind

when I’m tired when I’m bored feelin’ virgin smellin’ whore

when got ground up, turned to fodder fell asleep and didn’t bother


Didn’t notice didn’t worry didn’t run didn’t hurry…


Turned it all ‘round in my head 

then forgot all that you said

looking for you in the valley ‘long the mountain in the alley

don’t know where all this is goin’, heaven help me what it’s showing

no more honor no more tasks no more sorrow no more mask

I’ll remember all I forgot, let go of all I’m not


Now uncovered, now discovered 

Cast in doubt, now

Cast, now out,

Now, out,




*This post is taken from the text of our online Gallery Guide.

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