A Goddess Takes Aim

"From this angle more than any other, I could imagine her flying."—Bill T. Jones, choreographer and director

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

How does the sculpted body communicate? Hear from Met experts, leading authorities, and rising stars, each with a unique viewpoint on the language of gesture, facial expression, and pose.

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Bill T. Jones: I chose this Diana because there is something almost an in-joke about her being on demi-pointe. It says a lot about how the artist, and maybe people in general, think of dance. I don't imagine it's advisable, when you are really shooting a bow and arrow that you should go up to your toe; I imagine you should stay as grounded as possible. But because she's a goddess, she can do anything she wants to do—and she's literally standing on the globe.

And I think it's probably often said that she is aloof, which is what attracts me to her. She has this just-pubescent-enough body to be androgynous.

From this angle more than any other, I could imagine her flying. There's a very strong axis coming straight out of the floor, up through the hip, and the head twists against it. She's really breathing, as she does this impossible arabesque and aims at the target, which you're sure she's going to make. There's no question about it; yet she's also not an athlete.

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