Portrait of Constance-Gabrielle-Magdeleine Bonnier de la Mosson as Diana
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Jean-Marc Nattier
French, 1742
Oil on canvas
50 3/4 x 38 in.

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Madame Bonnier de la Mosson, a member of Parisian society whose literary salon was a popular meeting place for the most noted people of her day, appears as Diana, goddess of the moon, the forest, and the hunt. Jean-Marc Nattier depicted her seated in front of a dramatic sky and barren landscape, delicately holding a bow and arrow, wearing a revealing white chemise low on her shoulders, and wrapped in an exotic leopard skin.

In eighteenth-century France it was fashionable for aristocratic women to have their likenesses made in the guise of mythological or historical roles. Nattier, one of the leading portraitists of his day, specialized in these flattering allegorical portraits. During his career, he painted portraits of most of the circle of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour in either traditional or allegorical guise.

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