Oil on canvas
Framed: 261 x 225 x 11 cm (102 3/4 x 88 9/16 x 4 5/16 in.); Unframed: 216 x 178.7 cm (85 1/16 x 70 3/8 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1959.190
Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, wears a crescent on her forehead, also identifying her as the moon goddess. Diana lived apart from men, accompanied by a group of nymphs; she often represented unattainable beauty or chastity. With a nymph at left fending off a lustful satyr, Rubens refers to a struggle between vice and virtue, combining a sensual display of female bodies with a moral undertone. To bring the viewer more fully into the narrative, Rubens pulls the full-bodied figures to the front of the picture plane, and Diana steps forward, activating the space between viewer and subject. The nymph at the right has the features of Isabella Brant, the artist’s wife, and can be compared with Rubens’s portrait of her, also in the museum's collection.
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