Jupiter, in the Guise of Diana, and Callisto

François Boucher French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 539

This painting, shown with its pendant at the Salon of 1765, epitomizes Boucher’s treatment of the so-called "Loves of the Gods," based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses (completed A.D. 8). Jupiter (symbolically represented as an eagle) has transformed himself into the goddess Diana (identified by the small crescent moon on her forehead) in order to seduce Diana’s maiden follower, Callisto. The disguise and sapphic conceit allowed Boucher to depict not one, but two scantily clad women. Bodies bisecting the oval format, the clouds, and the elaborate rush of draperies contribute to create a deliberately unstable depiction of space.

Jupiter, in the Guise of Diana, and Callisto, François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris), Oil on canvas

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