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Augustus Saint-Gaudens | Diana | 1985.353

Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire). Diana, 1893–94, cast 1894 or after. Bronze. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1985 (1985.353).

For his only female nude, Saint-Gaudens selected Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon, artfully aiming her bow and arrow. Poised on tiptoe, she is fleetingly static, depicted in a split-second moment of physical and narrative suspense. The figure's graceful, simplified lines, and elongated proportions reward from all angles, a nod to her original public function as a rotating weathervane for the tower of Madison Square Garden (demolished 1925), one of New York's most popular landmarks. The first, eighteen-foot-tall sculpture proved too large and was replaced in 1894 by a streamlined version, five feet shorter; this gilt cast is a half-size version of the second model.

"From this angle more than any other, I could imagine her flying."

—Bill T. Jones, choreographer and director

"She would've been a powerful sight as a weather vane: her body would follow the wind."

—Emmanuel von Schack, educator and ASL user

"There's a very pleasing amalgamation of lines and forms in this piece."

—Thayer Tolles, curator

All voices: Thayer Tolles, curator; Bill T. Jones, choreographer; Emmanuel von Schack, educator and ASL user

Transcripts: A Goddess Takes Aim (Video), Her Body in Motion (Video), A Timeless Replica (Video)