In the Metamorphoses, the Roman poet Ovid described how nymphs bathed Diana, the goddess of the hunt, in a stream of clear water. Jean-François de Troy portrayed the moment after the bath when the nymphs are drying Diana's body and refastening her tunic. To the left, a nymph attempts to shield Diana's nudity from a lecherous river god's sight. De Troy's choice of subject matter and the description of the women's flesh--creamy white with a pink blush tint--give this painting an erotic charge. The river god, watching the scene voyeuristically from the side, becomes a stand-in for the viewer.
De Troy used a warm palette of autumnal and pastel colors to describe the surrounding foliage and sky. Layers of glazes intensify the glowing tones.