Diana and Her Nymphs Bathing
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Jean-François de Troy
French, 1722 - 1724
Oil on canvas
29 1/4 x 36 1/4 in.

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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.