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Diana Returning from the Hunt

Inventory of Foreign Art 164

Oil on canvas

231 x 238 x 0 cm

Not For Sale

Rubens designed the theme of “Diana Returning from the Hunt” as an idyllic scene celebrating abundance and the daily rejuvenation of nature, as well as the sensuality of female beauty. With the format of the painting, with the figures depicted to below the shins and brought out to the foreground, with only a hint of landscape elements in the background, which can barely be seen for the robust figures in the forefront, thus avoiding the impression of depth, Rubens was making a clear allusion to the ancient friezes. The influence of the ancient monuments, which he was able to study in person, is also visible in Diana’s hairstyle, which one can see in the images of this goddess on sarcophagi. The diagonal of Diana’s spear that divides the composition into two parts is the point where the two opposing worlds meet: that of Diana who, as patron and guardian of the virtue of purity, resists every challenge while guiding her companions, and the world of darkness, ruled by the lowest of urges, which is represented by the three satyrs overwhelmed by lust. The postures of these characters in the painting correspond with the virtues and vices they represent.