The Wallace Collection
Thu 19 Oct 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
The Trouble with Titian’s ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ image

Few works of art have achieved the iconic status of Titian’s Perseus and Andromeda. Created for King Philip II of Spain in 1554-6, this painting stands as Titian’s idiosyncratic take on a passage from Ovid’s epic poem, ‘Metamorphoses’. Perseus and Andromeda is widely regarded as one of the greatest artworks ever created, but there are troubling aspects to the work. Its portrayal of human sacrifice, manifest sexism, and explicit racial bias are not just observed but palpably felt. The painting reflects its time – a period when such themes and imagery weren’t anomalies but norms, deeply embedded in Renaissance society’s psyche. 
Art appreciation, much like society’s value systems, has changed over time and today, they are both characterised by enlightenment and inclusivity. To mark Black History Month 2023, join Michael Ohajuru as he addresses the inescapable question:
should Perseus and Andromeda, with its troubling undertones, still be revered as a masterpiece? 
About the speaker: Michael Ohajuru is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2022), Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (2017) and holds Honours degrees in Physics (1974) and Art History (2008). He blogs, writes and speaks regularly on the Black presence in Renaissance Europe, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and in London at the National Gallery, Tate Britain, British Library, National Archives and the V&A. He is the founder of the Image of the Black in London Galleries gallery tours, and the Project Director and Chief Evangelist of The John Blanke Project – an art and archive project celebrating John Blanke, the Black trumpeter to courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII.
Michael is also co-convener of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies’ What’s Happening in Black British History series of workshops, and founder member of the Black Presence in British Portraiture network.
Take part at the Museum: No ticket required, drop in on the day. Join us in the Theatre for this special talk.
Watch Online: This talk will also be broadcast live from the museum. Book a free ticket online to receive a Zoom link. Ticketholders will also receive a link to view a recording of the talk, which will be available for two weeks only.