Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800

Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, is famously chaste and modest, but Diaz de la Peña depicts her half-nude, with a retinue of beautiful women and a young arrow-bearer who resembles Cupid, the god of love. Bright illumination and draperies emphasize the physicality of the goddess, while her companions are cast in shadow. The soft brushwork and warm colors reflect the artist’s admiration for earlier Italian and French painting. Diaz specialized in this type of idealized, romantic imagery, but he also earned a considerable reputation as a painter of naturalistic landscapes.

Diana, Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña (French, Bordeaux 1808–1876 Menton), Oil on canvas

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