Diana and Actaeon (Diana Surprised in Her Bath)

Camille Corot French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 957

From its imposing size to its refined execution, this painting is elegant testimony to Corot’s ingenuity: the landscape appears surprisingly natural, yet it is painstakingly composed. The narrative, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, recounts the fate of a young hunter Actaeon as he encounters the naked figure of the goddess Diana and her nymphs enjoying a woodland bath. Diana, in a fit of embarrassed fury, splashes water on the unwitting hunter, transforming him into a deer.
There is a marked difference between the general tight handling of paint and tonal contrasts, and the background on the left, which is sketchy and silvery in tone, typical of Corot’s late style. A year before the artist died, he was asked to repaint this passage as a courtesy to the picture’s new owner.

#4770. Diana and Actaeon (Diana Surprised in Her Bath)

Diana and Actaeon (Diana Surprised in Her Bath), Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris), Oil on canvas

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