"There's a very pleasing amalgamation of lines and forms in this piece."—Thayer Tolles, curator
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.
Thayer Tolles: This is Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The original model was conceived for Madison Square Garden, which was designed by Saint-Gaudens's great friend Stanford White. The original eighteen-foot Diana was erected in 1891.
Narrator: When the original, which was designed as a weather vane, was found to be too large for the tower, a smaller version was created. The piece here is a half-size model of that version.
Thayer Tolles: When you look at the figure as it's presented today, you have to think about the fact that the artist modeled the original piece for a tower and was 347 feet above ground. So, there are interesting issues of proportion to consider: that, for instance, maybe here her left arm seems unnaturally elongated. But no matter how you look at this piece, the lines are beautiful—they're lithe, streamlined, they're suggestive of agility, of athleticism, of power. Distinct verticals, the distinct horizontality of the arms, which is echoed in the arrow; and then also the curvilinearity of the bow, which is echoed in her legs, in her breasts, in her buttocks. There's just a very pleasing amalgamation of lines and forms in this piece.